Touch Thursday NO. 2

Preeti Shenoy's 5th book - The One You Cannot Have is coming out in November. To coincide with its launch, Preeti and her publisher - Westland are running an exciting contest involving writing prompts for 6 weeks. You can read more about the book and the contest at Preeti's blog and Facebook page.

This is my entry for the second writing prompt - Touch Thursday NO. 2

The One You Cannot Have by Preeti Shenoy

Dear Mark,

Hey! Great to know that you have finally made up your mind about visiting India. India will be quite an interesting experience for you. There are many sights to see - from the majestic Himalayas in the north to the mighty Indian ocean in the south, the beautiful Thar desert in the west and Mawsynram - the town that receives the highest amount of rainfall in the world, in the east.The weather and topography are not the only contrasting features of India. Every region has its own cuisine, dress, language, traditions and culture; and yet India sustains its patriotic fervour amidst all this diversity.

Yes, India does have its set of problems - poverty, dirt, crowds, pollution and congestion, that might be quite a challenge to you as a foreigner but let me assure you that you will see some rare sights in this country. You will see the Indian attitude of adjustment - People travel in crowded buses and trains and yet they adjust - they open their hearts and make sure you get a place to sit as well, while they all adjust. You will see the sweltering days full of crowds and noise; and happy smiling faces amidst all that.You will see bustling streets with wondrous things like snake charmers, elephants, future-telling parrots, street dentists and chiropractors and you will see regular things - cycles, scooters, motorcycles and cars - hatchbacks, sedans and what not! Yes, they will all be on the same street - Audis and elephants waiting at a signal for a red light to turn green - a sight you can probably see only in India :)

You think Indian women are gorgeous, pretty, intelligent and warm and you will see all those women - housewives, corporate fliers and fashionistas with their colourful clothes and vibrant beaming faces. You might also see the ones who are gorgeous yet neglected or humiliated by their spouses or other members of the opposite sex. Nothing stays hidden in India, you know, you can see people - their fights and struggles out in the open. Ofcourse, there is also the fact, that pesky neighbours and concerned aunts help in making sure everything is known but then its the beauty of India - collectivistic culture is what drives us.

You must be quite aware of what's to see in India - Taj Mahal, India Gate, Amer Fort etc, so I am not going to dwell on that. What I would like to advise you on are:-

  • Carry bottled water - We don't have easy access to clean drinking water at all places in India, so do carry bottled water wherever you go. Bisleri and Aquafina are some reliable brands of bottled water found in India.
  • Wear Cotton - Cotton is best suited for the tropical climate of India so pack some comfy cotton clothes.
  • Mosquito & Insect Repellents - Do carry mosquito or insect repellents with you.
  • Beware of Beggars - Beware of beggars at all tourist destinations. They might come throng at you seeing that you are a foreigner.
  • Bargain Hard - If you are buying from a local market, do bargain hard.

Overall I think you are going to love India. Do let me know how your visit turns out.

Yours truly,


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