As my vacation comes to an end and I get ready to leave India, I would like to reflect on all the things I had heard from my liberal friends.
1. India has become very unsafe and you can’t walk the streets without being molested ;
I travelled a lot and I did a lot of sightseeing. I travelled by train, bus, auto, cabs, cycle rickshaw and tonga. I walked in the most crowded, least posh areas & the poshest areas. I travelled/commuted alone late at night. While guys did look at me (which happens in every country no matter how one is dressed ) and barring one eve teasing incident at the Red Fort, I felt pretty safe. No one molested me or touched me. While I am aware Rapes and molestation do happen & women’s safety is an issue, I also know it is a global problem and not India’s problem alone. So to say India has become very unsafe is an exaggeration.
2. Indians in the big cities are self centred & wont help you ;
Be it Mumbai, Delhi or Bangalore, absolute strangers helped me. They went above and beyond to make me feel welcome & comfortable.
3. Be careful, vendors/cabbies/autowala cheat ;
Yes, one black/yellow cab driver cheated me by over charging me in Mumbai & one taxi driver tried to quote a different rate mid way in Bangalore, everyone else proved to be very honest in fact.
Cheats & scammers exist everywhere, to make it sound like India is full of cheats is another exaggeration.
4. India is very unclean, don’t eat food outside ;
While cleanliness is an issue and NaMo is doing a great job with Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan, citizens MUST do their part to keep the surroundings clean. Public peeing, spitting paan on walls/streets, throwing garbage on streets MUST be contained. I ate a lot of street food in every city, I drank only bottled water I carried and I was perfectly healthy.
5. People look at your religion before helping you ;
Biggest lie I have heard. Strangers belonging to every religion, be it in Haji Ali or in Siddhivinayak, be it in Bangalore or Delhi, helped me without asking for my religious beliefs or my political ideology.
Lot of people give you advice. Some might be real and some might be perceived. Some might be from personal experience and some might be based on hearsay.
In my case, I found most of the advices were a result of exaggerated claims of problems.