A Russian Girl Has Lived in India for 9 Years and Is Still Struggling to Get Used to Local Traditions. Here’s What Surprises Her

A Russian Girl Has Lived in India for 9 Years and Is Still Struggling to Get Used to Local Traditions. Here’s What Surprises Her

Meet blogger Anna Tihaya. She
was born and grew up in Moscow, but she has been living in South India for
almost 9 years, in Puducherry.



A Russian Girl Has Lived in India for 9 Years and Is Still Struggling to Get Used to Local Traditions. Here’s What Surprises Her
Anna writes a blog called
Indian Wife, and Bright Side was interested in the facts that she talks about.
You can’t find these things in regular travel guides.
1.
Potatoes are not a separate part of the meal.



A Russian Girl Has Lived in India for 9 Years and Is Still Struggling to Get Used to Local Traditions. Here’s What Surprises Her
In India, potatoes are
considered ingredients of a vegetable sauce that is served with rice, but
they’re never eaten alone.
Once, I cooked potatoes with
vegetables. When my husband came home, he was amazed and asked me, “What are we
going to eat this with?” Now, I always boil rice with potatoes. I don’t eat it
myself, but I watch my husband mix rice with potatoes and eat all of it.
2.
Ants and geckos live in houses like family members.

A Russian Girl Has Lived in India for 9 Years and Is Still Struggling to Get Used to Local Traditions. Here’s What Surprises Her

It is practically impossible
to get rid of insects and lizards in your house. Special extermination helps
for only a couple of weeks and then everything returns back to normal. Locals
are accustomed to this and they never worry when they see an ant on their
plate.
We also have an uninvited
family member — a gecko. It invited its friends to our house and created a
family, right in front of our eyes. We know it’s still around here somewhere by
the noises it makes.
3.
In beauty salons, you can get skin whitening and hair removal

A Russian Girl Has Lived in India for 9 Years and Is Still Struggling to Get Used to Local Traditions. Here’s What Surprises Her

The main signs of beauty are
light skin, big bright eyes, and long shiny hair. This is what the local beauty
industry is oriented toward. The most popular salon procedures are skin
whitening, waxing, manicure, pedicure, and different hair spas.
Many people rub their faces
with turmeric because they believe it removes small hairs from the skin. This
is why there are women with absolutely yellow faces. Me, personally, I’m not
sure which is better: extra facial hair or that yellow facial color.
4.
It’s hard to find a woman’s health doctor here.
Gynecologists either work in
big hospitals or have their own small businesses. In either case, there is no
medical file with your history.
When you visit a doctor, they
listen to everything you want to tell them, then they make small notes on a
piece of paper, and give you a prescription or an instruction for what you need
to do. Nobody really cares what you will do with these recommendations.
5.
Men’s friendships include hugging and holding hands.

A Russian Girl Has Lived in India for 9 Years and Is Still Struggling to Get Used to Local Traditions. Here’s What Surprises Her

In India, men’s friendships
are more affectionate than in other countries. Friends here often hug each
other and walk holding hands. And it is not that they’re just helping each
other walk, but they actually hold hands!
You can see friends riding the
same bike, with the one behind hugging the one in front and it is considered
perfectly normal here. This is really cute and endearing, in my opinion.
6.
Because of the hot and humid climate, people shower several times a day.

A Russian Girl Has Lived in India for 9 Years and Is Still Struggling to Get Used to Local Traditions. Here’s What Surprises Her

Indians really care about
their hygiene. An average person takes a shower at least once a day, and when
it is hot, they do it around 4 times a day.
Many people here put
sandalwood powder on their body. They wash their hair very often too, and put a
cream that contains coconut oil on it afterward. They also always wear clean
clothes.
7.
Indians would never eat food that was cooked yesterday.



A Russian Girl Has Lived in India for 9 Years and Is Still Struggling to Get Used to Local Traditions. Here’s What Surprises Her
This is most likely because
they still remember the days when they did not have refrigerators and the rice
that was cooked one day before really could cause food poisoning. Indian
housewives still cook only one meal at a time right now. They only use
refrigerators to store ingredients, but not meals that they’ve already made.
They may swear that they will
eat something the next day and ask you not to throw it away. But rest assured:
they will find a thousand reasons to not eat a meal that was cooked yesterday.
8.
There is no toilet paper here, but there is always a place where you can wash
your hands.

A Russian Girl Has Lived in India for 9 Years and Is Still Struggling to Get Used to Local Traditions. Here’s What Surprises Her

In many restaurants and cafes,
there is a special room for washing your hands before and after eating.
Depending on how popular a place is, there can be from one to 10 sinks.
No, Indians, do not use toilet
paper. Yes, they do eat with their hands (well, only with the right one). But
their hands are always clean.
9.
It is unacceptable to be in a relationship before marriage.



A Russian Girl Has Lived in India for 9 Years and Is Still Struggling to Get Used to Local Traditions. Here’s What Surprises Her
Aside from the 4 to 5 large
cities like Mumbai and Delhi, in the rest of India, there is no such thing as
“boyfriend and girlfriend.” In most cases, a future spouse is chosen by the
parents and there should be no romantic history between the 2 people who are
chosen. A marriage can also happen at any age.
It is not acceptable for
people to talk about their romantic problems. Even if some people do that, they
do it as secretly as possible and only with their closest friends who will
never betray them.
10.
The first thing they ask when they see you, “Have you eaten?”
If you are visiting someone at
lunchtime, they will definitely put you at the table and feed you until you are
full and only then will they ask you why you came.
When any 2 people meet (it
doesn’t matter if they know each other or not), they ask each other if they
have eaten and if they want to eat more.
11.
Applications, wills, and other papers are typed right on the streets.



A Russian Girl Has Lived in India for 9 Years and Is Still Struggling to Get Used to Local Traditions. Here’s What Surprises Her
In India, many people still
don’t have access to computers or even typewriters, so official documents must
be typed by special secretaries.
Once, I was walking down the
street and I saw a group of people with typewriters. I could not help but
smile. Because the last time I had seen a typewriter was about 20 years ago.
And they already hadn’t been used for a long time.
12.
When a woman is 7 months pregnant, she returns to her parents’ home.



A Russian Girl Has Lived in India for 9 Years and Is Still Struggling to Get Used to Local Traditions. Here’s What Surprises Her
It is believed that during
this time, a pregnant woman can’t be a full-fledged housewife and she should
rest more and eat more healthy food. She returns to her husband when the baby
is 3 months old and by that time, a new mother is supposed to have learned to
live in a new role.
Needless to say, that the
exact day and time of the departure back home should be chosen according to an
astrologist’s prediction, and when she returns home with the baby her
appearance should be traditional.
13.
The places where children are born are not very clean.
Local doctors understand all
the risks very well and from the very first time a pregnant woman appears in
the hospital, they start antibiotic injections. This is just for the prevention
of possible dangers. And they do it right until you leave the hospital.
Interesting fact: they don’t
feed people in hospitals. My husband brought me the things I love: vegetable
sandwiches, chocolate croissants, and yogurts. And the most interesting thing
was that my baby was perfectly fine and seemed to enjoy the croissants.
14.
Meals in cafes are very big.



A Russian Girl Has Lived in India for 9 Years and Is Still Struggling to Get Used to Local Traditions. Here’s What Surprises Her
A standard Indian lunch is
called Thali. A waiter brings a dish with metal plates that you should put on
the table. You add the sauces to rice (in any order and combination). At the
end of the lunch, you eat sweets and tea. Indians love tea with milk and a lot
of sugar.
The most expensive lunch you
can find here is about $3. An average price is around $1 which is really cheap.
15.
Many families are not very happy when they have daughters.



A Russian Girl Has Lived in India for 9 Years and Is Still Struggling to Get Used to Local Traditions. Here’s What Surprises Her
It is all about the dowry —
what a bride is supposed to have to get married. It may be a house, an
apartment, a good car (preferably, several cars), a business, or a significant
amount of money. If a family does not have a dowry, there is a risk their
daughter won’t get married at all.
The Indian government now
prohibits telling future mothers the sex of their babies. Even I couldn’t get
any information.
16.
In India, there are Muslim women who wear colorful clothes.



A Russian Girl Has Lived in India for 9 Years and Is Still Struggling to Get Used to Local Traditions. Here’s What Surprises Her
Many of us are used to seeing
Muslim women wearing a black burqa. In India, everything is different.
Once when I was in Mumbai, I
was really amazed at the number of Muslim women who wore very colorful
clothing. Only later did I find out that these clothes can have a lot of
different designs and they are all allowed here.
17.
You can have your nails cut only at a specific time.



A Russian Girl Has Lived in India for 9 Years and Is Still Struggling to Get Used to Local Traditions. Here’s What Surprises Her
In India, people don’t have
their nails and hair cut after sunset. This rule works for both people in
villages and in big cities.
My husband learned that nails
and hair also can’t be cut on Tuesdays and Fridays. So, he had this
conversation:
— Look, what happens if I have
my nails cut now?
— Any Indian person will tell
you that you increase the concentration of negative energy in our house.
18.
Dads take part in raising children.



A Russian Girl Has Lived in India for 9 Years and Is Still Struggling to Get Used to Local Traditions. Here’s What Surprises Her
Every Indian family has 2-3
children on average. Here, they love children: they dress them in different
clothes, they take them to cafes and restaurants, and they walk with them in
the evening.
You will often see fathers
doing some kind of business along with their babies. A father here will often
take his baby to drink coffee with his pals in a cafe. And he will still pay enough
attention to the baby, everyone will talk to them, and they’ll even take turns
holding them.
19.
If you are bald, it means that you have been to the Venkateswara Temple.



A Russian Girl Has Lived in India for 9 Years and Is Still Struggling to Get Used to Local Traditions. Here’s What Surprises Her
The famous Venkateswara Temple
is located in Tirupati. It is known all around the world because people from
all over India come here to sacrifice their hair to the god.
Anyone who wants to sacrifice
their hair has to pay 50 rupees. You get a receipt and a razor. In the hall,
there are dozens of barbers and benches for people in line. Once I saw a vacant
spot, I sat in front of the barber who grabbed my hair and quickly shaved all
of it off. Right after that, I took a photo of myself and I was really
satisfied with the result.
Have you ever been to India?
Did anything seem really odd and unusual about this country?
SOURCE:
BRIGHTSIDE
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.