10 Habits I Never Picked Up Living In India
Many who live in India for an extended period of time always tend to pick up local habits, which can be both good and bad. Though the few habits I had picked up whilst living in Punjab, I very quickly left behind once I returned to Australia. Many habits I refused to adapt to and the few that I did were mostly because this was their way of life. Many habits tend to vary between regions of India.
I Never Picked Up
Living In India
Chewing With Your Mouth Open
To not chew with your mouth open was almost disrespectful in Punjab, as it is a sign that you are enjoying your food. Personally this was something that I was never comfortable in doing as I had always been brought up to chew with my mouth closed. Not to mention the noise whilst eating dinner would grate on my nerves. So I continued to eat with my mouth closed whilst everyone else around me loudly demolished their meals.
A jugaad is a low cost solution to a problem also known as the permanent temporary solution. They can be seen everywhere the moment you land in India. Whilst it is ingenious, as the name suggests, it tends to be a permanent solution that was intended to be temporary. Therefore things never ever get fixed, as who needs to when you have a jugaad. Things such as a tarp erected to cover a hole in the roof or to act as a standalone roof/shelter. Rope used to replace a broken door handle on the toilet. Just hold the rope tied to the door whilst you use the toilet. Scissors attached to an electric drill to act as a food beater. The ideas are endless and whilst I applaud the jugaad they can also be unsafe and unsightly. Especially as a long term solution.
Eating Every Fast Food With Ketchup
Ketchup, also known as tomato sauce in Australia is a popular condiment with many deep fried or fast foods in India. Ketchup is kept in almost every household to whip out in the event one is eating patty's or even pizza. Although there are plenty of more exciting condiments in India one could use. I found it amusing that locals even eat pizza sprinkled with masala and ketchup.
Indians love their deep fried foods.
Having A Savoury Breakfast
All three daily meals in the Punjabi diet are savoury and spicy. Even breakfast where you might expect to have a bowl of fruit or cereal, locals prefer to devour roti with curry. Personally a meal like this is too heavy for me first thing in the morning.
Too Sweet Or Too Spicy Foods
Indian palettes love a whole of lot flavour so you can expect that their sweets are overly sugary and spicy foods are packed with a punch. Traditional sweets such as the gulab jaman are oozing in sugary syrup. Whilst the traditional curry is always made with a lot of chilli to the same heat as a vindaloo curry. Such a contrast in taste is way too much for my tastebuds.
Bathing With A Bucket
Although there are many who have converted to the shower majority of bathrooms in Punjab still have a bucket to bathe with. During Winter I found bucket bathing unbearable as you don't have the constant stream of hot water flowing over you. Instead you must use a jug to scoop up water with. On the flip side it does save a lot of water if you don't constantly top up the bucket with more water like most do. However many foreigners I have heard continue to use this style of bathing once they return home.
Since there are no waste services provided by the government in Punjab, it is the norm to litter. You will find piles of garbage on the side of roads with cattle and stray dogs scavenging through the rubbish. Locals don't even give littering a second thought. Most households will simply empty their rubbish bins by throwing them over the balcony. Although that was something I had no choice in doing at the time it certainly was not a habit that I enjoyed at the time. Or one that I would want to take home with me.
Not Using A Seat Belt
Getting into a vehicle in India was always my worst nightmare as most drivers have no sense of safety. Removing all seat belts, head rests and any other item in the car that does not serve an aesthetic purpose. Not to mention they then don't adhere to any road rules or speed limits. Life just isn't taken with care behind the wheel in India. Although at times I do get into a car and forget to buckle up it is not something that happens often and is certainly not a good habit to pick up.
Indians love their tea, consuming it at every break possible throughout the day whilst gossiping to friends and family. It is very much a social beverage that you consume without a thought as to whether or not you even feel like a cup of tea. However for me Indian tea was so overpowering I would need to have a nap after drinking a cup. So instead I stuck to coffee to keep myself awake during social visits. Although Indian tea is absolutely delicious and one of the better habits to acquire.
Drinking tea together.
Using A Pearing Knife To Cut Vegetables
Preparing dinner is a social event in a Punjabi household with the women usually gathering together to peel and cut vegetables. They tend to sit in the lounge room or outdoor area using a small pearing knife to individually cut vegetables by hand. Rather than using a chopping board and dicing or slicing up vegetables quickly and efficiently. When there is no time limit then this is a great habit to have as you get a chance to socialise whilst you do the cooking. But most households are strapped for time and tend to do this out of habit most days rather than socialising as they would tend to do when preparing for an auspicious occasion.
Are these habits you picked up while in India?
Are there any others you would add to the list?