I remember reading a a tongue-in-cheek Blog post sometime back ridiculing the
almost insane complaints and cribs Firangs and NRIs have about all things Third
world.One of my pet peeves has always been that someone who grew up in Mylapore
Agraharam suddenly finds our Bisleri or "Akkafina " water beneath his dignity
just because his company sent him off to some phoren land for couple of months on
a project. Its a different thing that the same gentleman would do anything to
eat Idli-dosa or faithfully hang around temples every weekend with the sole
purpose of bumming a plate of Puliogare or Holige. Now back in India , this
gentleman will only eat Pizza and wash it down with Gatorade. Or better still,
diet coke. Mc Donalds suddenly becomes a holy shrine and he will extole the
virtues of eating hamburger and fries for dinner everyday.Today's rant, however,
is not going to be about the poor gentleman who had a culture shock on his first
visit abroad , and picked up an accent as fast as a drunkard picks up a quarrel
in a bar. It is actually going to be about how a lot of Friangs have a very low
opinion about India. We are still a land of snake charmers and elephants, and not
one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
I was doing some googling on car seats , and chanced upon a forum of Firang
mommies who were discussing their 'much dreaded' trip to India. Here's an excerpt
of what one lady had to say about Car seats , surviving in India .. and lo and
behold ! the lack of decent diapers in India.
"We took our daughter to India when she was 4 months old and I had the same fear.
MY husband and his family feels it is perfectly normal to hold your children
while in the car.Older kids literally run around, and many children ride on their
parents scooters with no helmets. Most of the cars I drove in did not have
seatbelts, and if they did it was only in the front seat. We spent three months
there and yes it was scary but we survived. You kind of adapt, you have to or you
will be miserable. Seatbelts are the least of the changes you will exspericne.
Which part of India are you going to? My suggestion to you is bring all the
diapers and wipe you will need. Their diapers are horrible! Bring bug spray for
the baby and yourself, because we were getting eaten up. And make sure to bring
food for the baby, my daughter got so sick :( I make it sound so horrible lol, it
is a wondeful exsperice.
You just have to cook things well and always use filtered water. Make sure to
give her pasterized milk, because they often use raw milk in India and that even
made me sick"
Now, I might have actually tut-tutted and patted that lady's hand reassuringly
had she not mentioned the diaper scenario. Yeah,we are a loud chaotic country ,
and don't give a fiddler's *art about car-seats , but we have decent diapers. I
haven't worn a diaper myself, but for my daughter's sake have experimented with
every single diaper brand available and find them pretty okay. And wipes.. wtf?
We have multi-national companies here making these things , and though I
grudgingly have to admit that our 'export-quality' merchandise is considered too
much for local consumption,we get by.I thought most cars have seat-belts in
India. I remember seeing one in the most basic version of the Nano. It might not
be mandatory for us to wear seat-belts here , but I think it is mandatory for
manufacturers to fit every car with seat belts.This comment was posted in 2010 ,
so I am second-guessing this lady's views.And the bit about pasteurized milk is
so difficult to imagine - even the smallest of Nair tea shops in India makes a
ceremony out of early morning boiling of milk.
It is rather perplexing to note that westerners or even Desi NRIs still have the
impression that India is a hell-hole that makes them pay almost their ticket
fare in excess baggage to bring in their favourite brand of toilet paper.
Seriously, we have decent toilet paper. Yeah,strange and miraculous too, but we
have western-type toilets. And movie theaters with reclinable luxury
seats.Too bad your travel guide doesn't say so.
We are like this vonly!
PS: Need some help! I am not able to figure out why the second half of the post (
after the kind lady's quote) is highlighted. I've tried everything and can't
remove it.. What do I do to make the offensive thingie go?
Edited : Thanks for your suggestion Kanthu, but now the formatting has gone for a toss.. Maybe I should just ditch blogger and migrate to Wordpress :)