[Cross-posted] Since India has been extremely kind to me—the people here are amazing—I owe it to this nation to bust a few stereotypes.
First, the food. It is excellent and in two days I have had no problems with my tummy. ‘Delhi belly’ is a cruel stereotype that I was given by some friends prior to my departure, though I knew instinctively it was cobblers. The same rule applies here as everywhere else: if you are careful about what you stick in your mouth, you are ﬁne. People do know that in rural areas things can be tougher. Nevertheless, I can make this conclusion: Indian food is fab and way better than expat Indian restaurants.
Secondly, this is certainly not a backward country, and anyone who has read books such as The World Is Flat would know that. Here I am, surﬁng on wiﬁ, and at speeds and with connectivity better than what I might ﬁnd in other parts of the world, and that includes New Zealand. There is a rich–poor gap and that does mean some poverty but that also generates invention. I saw booksellers yesterday with used books alongside new ones; we should be copying some of the recycling efforts that Indians undertake every day.
If your impression of an Indian car park is old colonial hand-me-downs, think again: the Daewoo Lacetti (Chevrolet Optra) is newer than what many countries sell, including Australia and New Zealand (above).
I accept I am living a more luxurious life here than many, but since I have walked around Delhi old and new, I reckon I have seen a good cross-section here. I didn’t opt to just be cosseted.
A public expression of gratitude from me to Stanley Moss for introducing Rajat and Sajanna, Pooja and Adil at Shanti Home, and for Praveen at Travelscope India, and Naveen who spent an entire day with me introducing me to his city. Posted by Jack Yan, 11:40
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