Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What I Learn From My India Trip

My 15-days India Trip on last January is actually my very first overseas trip. Without having any relatives, business, exchange program, or conferences to attend abroad, I challenge myself to step my feet across my homeland before I graduate from collage. And... backpacking becomes the only solution to beat this challenge. Adding up with my interest for India and its culture, voila... I have successfully landed my ass in India :)

Experiencing 15-life-days in the 2nd most populated country on earth with all its complexity is totally incredible!! Just like the nation's tagline Incredible India. Yes, I cannot deny that slums, poverty, street beggar, and homeless people around become the common view on the road. Completed with the never stop car honking and beeping just make it a perfect stressor for your day. What about handsome guys that welcome you by dancing around the tree, singing Kuch Kuch Hota Hai? Just forget it! Just keep that in mind as one of the Bollywood movie scenes. The real India is far more beautiful than what we used to see in the movie scenes. India is beautiful on its way, that becomes my life-learning field. To make it well-structured, let me list the points about what I learn from my India trip:
  • Become more alert and watchful of surroundings. This is first thing I learned as I visited India when the Delhi gang-raped case was on fire. This case was actually killing India reputation in tourism, especially more cases coming up after the first case became international headlines. As Melayu-face women, I and my travel mate often accepted deep-staring from strangers on the road, train station, market, and everywhere. Little bit shocked and uncomfortable at first day, but then we got used to it. The key are: keep being cool, don't start giving any welcome smile, don't wear too much accessories and eye-catching outfit, store valuable things such as money and passport inside your bag, and keep yourself being around the crowd. Plus, having karate skills would be better :p
  • Become more brave, confident, yet humble in life. India is my first ground for practicing my English. As I am not speaking English on daily basis, that was somehow scary yet challenging. Not only got the English-speaking practice, I also got influenced by Indian accent and it's left-right head gesture. Haggling in market, conversation with locals and fellow travelers, all were performed in English. At the same time, the more interactions I have, the more I realize about how small my knowledge and experience in life. A lot of things to learn in this land makes me more understand about what is essential of life, seriously.
  • Be a "more flexible" woman. Traveling with public transportation never gave me chance to enjoy some couple seconds inside the toilet. I wouldn't give the details about how was the toilet that I have met in the sleeper couch train, but it has successfully given me some skills in holding my breath while running my business. I now become so cool to occupy the toilet that lack of water. Here is my style in case I trapped in that circumstances: I always carry napkin or tissue inside my bag. I use some 1-2 sheets to clean my ass then use that water to wash my stool away. To make my underwear clean and still wearable until the next day, I also wear pantyliner every time I go traveling.
  • Become more open-minded, not self-judging. Being a guest in India gives me chance to observe the people: their feature, habit, and also their cities. Why many people perceive that Indian is aggressive, annoying, and smells like onion are because they don't understand how is live in India. The socio-demographic constructs play the significant rule that form Indian known for it's an aggressive and competitive attributes. With 1,2 billion of population, life is hard in India (even harder than in Indonesia, I can straightforwardly say this). That's why life is more competitive in India. 
  • Value the diverse of culture, religion, art, and history. I really amazed about how come I just knew about the Sikh, Jainism, Mother Theresa, Diwali festival of light, Holi festival of colors, and maaany more when browsing right before coming to India. Those all are part of diversity of religion in India which I hardly find in Indonesia. That's why I never knew these things previously. Dominated by Hindu along with it's festival and the holy Ganges river, India also becomes home for Sikh, Jain, Muslim, Buddhist, and Christian. All religion lives in harmony, celebrating every festivals and big days together. 
  • Value the money. Money is as priceless as petrol for backpackers. I always considered about what to buy, what to eat, and count every Rupee that comes in and out from wallet. Never in my life I have debate for paying toilet charge. In Kolkata, I broke the record for the first time to get my 5 Rupees back into the pocket. 
  • Value the food. Just as the money, food is the main power source to stay fit during backpacking. Not really different than Indonesian food, I can easily find rice and halal foods in India. Besides, there is also roti (bread) as staple food in North India. But then, it's not really easy to adjust my taste bud with strongly spices foods. They all hit my tongue too hard at the beginning, that I couldn't finish my food. Then my travel mate told me to clean my eating plate, because in travelling we don't have much choices to fulfill our tummy. Just eat to restore your energy, that's the point. Since that, I tried my best level to finish all food I have ordered. Slowly but sure, I started enjoying my every biryani, roti, dhaal, curry, pickels, and the gank. Every time I could't reach the last bite because of the huge portion, my mate always helped me at last. 

And... credit goes to these inspiring books... Thank you... Terima kasih buat inspirasinya :') :') :')

Two Travel Tales: Menguak Eksotisme India dan Nepal, The Naked Traveler 3, Rp3 jutaan Keliling India dalam 8 Hari


  1. Pas nyampe di India sih, cukup kaget dengan kondisinya yang semrawut (dihampir sebagian provinsi minus Delhi ya), nyoba kereta india yang masuk semua lapisan masyarakat, dan banyak pengalaman baru yang bisa dirasakan disana.
    Ini lagi di Bandara kolkata dalam perjalanan pulang ke Jakarta.

    1. Wow awesome!
      Have a safe trip home yaa and btw thank you for reading!
      Jai Hind!!!