Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

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Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by Appalamma on Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:01 pm

I'm going to India after 10 years. I have no idea what to expect. I'm pretty sure things will be a lot different. Should I take any special care with regards to diet, etc? It is my husband's first time in India, how do I prepare him for chaos?

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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by silvermani on Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:25 pm

A few tips:

1. Expect sticker shock - the days of throwing a few paltry dollars and getting lots in return ended well over a decade ago.
2. Drink only safe bottled water - boiled at home and bottled, not those fake "mineral" water bottles 
3. Take a bottle or two of organic apple cider vinegar with you. 1 teaspoon of it, 2 tea spoons of lime juice, some honey and warm water - drink this mixture every morning to strengthen your body to deal with the food you are going to eat
4. Throw a party and meet all your friends/relatives in one shot instead of going to several people's homes and having to eat there out of politeness.
5. Tell your husband to just go with the flow as far as meeting your folks, etc is concerned.
He will be an object of curiosity with people staring at him through out the trip. Warn him about this.
6. He will be shocked at the gut wrenching poverty(child beggars tugging at your car window for example), puke inducing pollution and filth strewn streets. It is better you warn him about these things and prepare him mentally.
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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by Idéfix on Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:38 pm

I go to India a couple times each year, so my perspective may be biased by not seeing too much change between trips. But in general, things have changed all that much that you will feel like you are in a new place. Sure, there a lot more high rises in Hyderabad and other metros, the roads are better (at least in Hyderabad), and you will see lots of new malls and such. Here's what's better and what's worse...

Better: airport, immigration, customs, easy transportation options (Uber, Ola), internet access everywhere, mobile and online payments, paying with US credit cards, fewer power outages, less random harassment by traffic cops (if you drive), convenient road trips out of town
Worse: heat, pollution, traffic (plan on trips being twice as long as you were used to), perpetual construction on the roads (thanks to the Metro)

There is no preparing for the chaos and sensory overload of India. If he knows what to expect, that's all you can do. Don't expect that the trip will be a "vacation."
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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by Vakavaka Pakapaka on Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:03 pm

Idéfix wrote:I go to India a couple times each year, so my perspective may be biased by not seeing too much change between trips. But in general, things have changed all that much that you will feel like you are in a new place. Sure, there a lot more high rises in Hyderabad and other metros, the roads are better (at least in Hyderabad), and you will see lots of new malls and such. Here's what's better and what's worse...

Better: airport, immigration, customs, easy transportation options (Uber, Ola), internet access everywhere, mobile and online payments, paying with US credit cards, fewer power outages, less random harassment by traffic cops (if you drive), convenient road trips out of town
Worse: heat, pollution, traffic (plan on trips being twice as long as you were used to), perpetual construction on the roads (thanks to the Metro)

There is no preparing for the chaos and sensory overload of India. If he knows what to expect, that's all you can do. Don't expect that the trip will be a "vacation."
A lot cheaper than autos.

If she is traveling to AP from Hyd in a rented car, make sure that it has the papers for both states. They are checking in both states.
If she is going to Konaseema, the locals may pay more attention to "voh" than they should, making him uncomfortable.
It may be tempting, but he should be careful when he eats outside in small towns.
Vizag is quite changed. Thanks to Swacch Bharat, Appalammas gave up on their old traditions!!!


Last edited by Vakavaka Pakapaka on Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:04 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by Idéfix on Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:03 pm

Oops, I meant to say: "... in general, things have NOT changed all that much that you will feel like you are in a new place."
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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by smArtha on Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:45 pm

I think the response depends on which parts of India you will be visiting. 
Generally w.r.t cities and big towns
- some improved infrastructure - roads, high rises, malls, transportation 
- much increased consumption - traffic, pollution, heat and chaos
- limited green and tranquil residential areas
- easy collections/payments but slow and low service standards
- none has time for other but still many tasks don't get done on time

Other important thing is - if you don't have Aadhar or PAN difficult to get a SIM on your name. So have a friend or relative take one each for you and your husband with national roaming and good 4g data coverage. Also get another one for Data Card (you need to tie it to the mobile SIM you are using). This process takes a good week or so. Initiate that asap from here. If you intend making payments through Mobile apps - paytm etc. then keep this number to yourself for future visits by downgrading the plan to a Rs. 99/month one upon the end of your trip.

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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by MaxEntropy_Man on Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:47 pm

It will be hotter, way hotter.
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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by Idéfix on Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:53 pm

smArtha wrote:Other important thing is - if you don't have Aadhar or PAN difficult to get a SIM on your name. So have a friend or relative take one each for you and your husband with national roaming and good 4g data coverage. Also get another one for Data Card (you need to tie it to the mobile SIM you are using). This process takes a good week or so. Initiate that asap from here. If you intend making payments through Mobile apps - paytm etc. then keep this number to yourself for future visits by downgrading the plan to a Rs. 99/month one upon the end of your trip.
This is important. You can also get a prepaid SIM card. If you leave a balance on it, it will remain active for up to a year so you can keep the same number. If you visit India less than once a year and want to keep it active, you can send an SMS every few months from that phone while roaming in the US. That way you don't have to pay a monthly bill while you are not using the line back here.
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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by Seva Lamberdar on Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:09 pm

Appalamma wrote:I'm going to India after 10 years. I have no idea what to expect. I'm pretty sure things will be a lot different. Should I take any special care with regards to diet, etc? It is my husband's first time in India, how do I prepare him for chaos?
Keep reminding him about the forthcoming trip to Agra to see the Taj.
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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:32 pm

Take a box of surgical face masks (the ones you get in india aren't good). Nobody gives a shit if you walk around with a face mask. Many wear some kind of a mask or other. The dust and pollution in cities is terrible. Must be bad in Vizag too. Save yourself from allergies: sore throats, cold, caughs, fevers etc.

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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by Vakavaka Pakapaka on Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:41 pm

PI:  Since you are going during the monsoon season, he should get the shots that the health dept recommends for travel to India. Also, buy mosquito repellants (in India) and take sunscreen lotions from here. Take medications for diarrhoea, nausea, etc. Vizag will be hot and humid. So, during the day, turn the AC on and relax indoors. Araku may not be all that hot.

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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by t w on Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:48 pm

some might be repeats or simply common sense

- meet your doc 2 weeks before, and get the relevant shots (if needed), and malaria pills
- mosquito repellent (Off sprays)
- your own pack of OTC meds, pain releivers and anti histamine airborne, etc 
- no need to take toilet paper, they have very good there now
- 1-2 rolls of bounty paper towels (you may not want to clean anything with wet cloths there)
- hand sanitizers / wet towels 
- small liquid detergent, most detergents there ruin clothes from here
- transformers/plug adapters for your electronic stuff 
- your own cereals if you like them. he may not like the milk taste/smell there though, if he likes milk. Nor will you. try and experiment until you find the packets you like.

NO water. no cold salad. 

first sign of stomach upset, norfloxacin. 

if possible, get a car + trusted driver arranged for you two, unless public transport is great.

you will find everything overcrowded, but will get used to it in 3-4 days. you will not know why everyone is honking so much. 

I saw in that movie that vizag is beautiful, so it might not be dry and dusty. Will add more as i remember

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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by MaxEntropy_Man on Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:55 pm

Why didn't you go earlier? You could have introduced your American husband to the Indian mango season, the only thing about India in summer that doesn't suck doggy poop. I was there two months ago and had the greatest time -- the banganapallis, the imam pasands, the mulgovas, the sindhura, the alphonsos etc were just awesome. Couldn't get enough of it.
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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by Kris on Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:21 am

Appalamma wrote:I'm going to India after 10 years. I have no idea what to expect. I'm pretty sure things will be a lot different. Should I take any special care with regards to diet, etc? It is my husband's first time in India, how do I prepare him for chaos?
>>>If you are going to any tier one or tier two city, you will find it to be more crowded, more polluted, likely hotter and have a lot, lot more traffic. Take all the precautions others have suggested. Be very careful with the food and water. You can be substantially insulated if you stay in decent hotels. It is worth it even if you have to splurge. I was if Goa last year where we had rented a "villa" online-- was a disaster. Checked out in an hour and into a hyatt which I think was a resort hotel. It was well worth the price. If you trip is long enough, maybe you can do a couple of side trips -Maldives/ Sri Lanka to make it more exciting. The best part still is seeing your cousins and long lost friends who are still there. As someone said, organize a group get together or two, so you can see them all at once. Take the medical precautions, since your husband has never been there and you have stayed away for a decade. If you go back often, the food situation doesn't bother you. I got over it after two or three trips. Have fun.

P.S> Of late, in certain sets, there is this idea that India is on the verge of becoming a first word country. This usually comes up after a couple of rounds of booze. Just agree and politely move on to avoid unpleasantness Smile

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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by southindian on Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:48 am

Just take the precaution of drinking water and enjoy everything else you eat, drink. Most homes use filtered water for cooking, drinking.

Since fake Indians left India, the remaining have tried to make India a shade better than it was years ago.

Even Indians politics look better or at par with US politics. Smile
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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by pravalika nanda on Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:15 am

somebody suggested that you should give all the relatives a party at one go. what a fantastic timesaver!

also my dad is planning on going there in a few months and he's applying for something called the adhaar card and PAN card. He's doing it online. Maybe you can start the process here like he is.

but frankly though, I recall you mentioned your man is Australian. a couple of rounds of diarrhea won't kill him. We all went through it. these Australians are pretty rugged and hardy.

I eat whatever I like when i'm in india and spend most of my time in the paternal village and the only thing I was afflicted with was boredom. I must say he is very lucky to have married an indian girl and to visit india. Not everyone gets to visit india. Indians don't store food and fresh hot food is available everywhere and is very affordable. The experience will increase his immunity and open his eyes to a new world. what a lucky guy! and if he has any complaints he should just go back.

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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by Ponniyin Selvan on Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:11 am

but frankly though, I recall you mentioned your man is Australian. a couple of rounds of diarrhea won't kill him. We all went through it. these Australians are pretty rugged and hardy.

I eat whatever I like when i'm in india and spend most of my time in the paternal village and the only thing I was afflicted with was boredom. I must say he is very lucky to have married an indian girl and to visit india. Not everyone gets to visit india. Indians don't store food and fresh hot food is available everywhere and is very affordable. The experience will increase his immunity and open his eyes to a new world. what a lucky guy! and if he has any complaints he should just go back.


---

Well said. What's the point in coming to India if you do not want to eat out?. There are lots of good restaurants who serve great food. Of course, take precautions.. but do not totally avoid.

Being paranoid with hygiene and cleanliness is counter productive. Some hygiene is good, but too much is bad.

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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by Vakavaka Pakapaka on Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:21 pm

Ponniyin Selvan wrote:but frankly though, I recall you mentioned your man is Australian. a couple of rounds of diarrhea won't kill him. We all went through it. these Australians are pretty rugged and hardy.

I eat whatever I like when i'm in india and spend most of my time in the paternal village and the only thing I was afflicted with was boredom. I must say he is very lucky to have married an indian girl and to visit india. Not everyone gets to visit india. Indians don't store food and fresh hot food is available everywhere and is very affordable. The experience will increase his immunity and open his eyes to a new world. what a lucky guy! and if he has any complaints he should just go back.


---

Well said. What's the point in coming to India if you do not want to eat out?. There are lots of good restaurants who serve great food. Of course, take precautions.. but do not totally avoid.

Being paranoid with hygiene and cleanliness is counter productive. Some hygiene is good, but too much is bad.
The husband may not have the resistance those who live there. Better to be safe than sorry.

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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by smArtha on Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:57 pm

Idéfix wrote:
smArtha wrote:Other important thing is - if you don't have Aadhar or PAN difficult to get a SIM on your name. So have a friend or relative take one each for you and your husband with national roaming and good 4g data coverage. Also get another one for Data Card (you need to tie it to the mobile SIM you are using). This process takes a good week or so. Initiate that asap from here. If you intend making payments through Mobile apps - paytm etc. then keep this number to yourself for future visits by downgrading the plan to a Rs. 99/month one upon the end of your trip.
This is important. You can also get a prepaid SIM card. If you leave a balance on it, it will remain active for up to a year so you can keep the same number. If you visit India less than once a year and want to keep it active, you can send an SMS every few months from that phone while roaming in the US. That way you don't have to pay a monthly bill while you are not using the line back here.

Didn't know of the prepaid option keeping account active longer. Will explore this next time around.

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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by Bittu on Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:24 pm

Appalamma wrote:I'm going to India after 10 years. I have no idea what to expect. I'm pretty sure things will be a lot different. Should I take any special care with regards to diet, etc? It is my husband's first time in India, how do I prepare him for chaos?

Tell him that the trip to India will be a lot like going for a colonoscopy. You know it's going to suck and there's nothing you can do to make it better, so just grin and bear it. Moderate helpings of alcohol thorough the day may help.

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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by Vakavaka Pakapaka on Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:16 pm

Looks like the old timers including Bittu are back, thanks to PI's post. Uppili and Indophile are still missing......

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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by southindian on Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:50 pm

Bittu wrote:
Appalamma wrote:I'm going to India after 10 years. I have no idea what to expect. I'm pretty sure things will be a lot different. Should I take any special care with regards to diet, etc? It is my husband's first time in India, how do I prepare him for chaos?

Tell him that the trip to India will be a lot like going for a colonoscopy. You know it's going to suck and there's nothing you can do to make it better, so just grin and bear it. Moderate helpings of alcohol thorough the day may help.
Really? You had a colonoscopy?

BTW, is your son and daughter Webcamming as you did?
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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by Bittu on Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:11 pm

Vakavaka Pakapaka wrote:Looks like the old timers including Bittu are back, thanks to PI's post. Uppili and Indophile are still missing......

Yes, PI and I have some history, and some of it is salacious.

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Re: Going to India after 10 years, what to expect?

Post by Appalamma on Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:08 pm

Thanks for the tips people, I have noted them down! We are going to Vizag, Hyderabad and a day or so in my home village in East Godavari. 

We are going in Nov so hoping for some fine weather then.

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