The Beauty and Splendor of Udaipur, India (City of Lakes)

Udaipur is in the state of Rajasthan and is a popular romantic destination. We flew IndiGo Airlines which is one of the domestic choices for flights within India. A quick hour and $100 USD for the ticket and we were there.

 

Lake Pichola

We checked into our quaint little hotel called Mewar Hevali, which cost only about $30 USD per night. It was colorful and comfortable and just about half a block from Lake Pichola.  The first thing we did was sit down on the guard (stairs going down into the lake) and just take in the sounds and beauty of the picturesque scenery.  I can tell you that after being in Delhi, the sights and sounds of a lake, along with the blue sky, moved me to tears. We watched a woman wash her laundry in the water and a couple of people came down to bathe.  I saw a small fishing boat with two fisherman checking their nets. Later that evening we watched the sunset from a rooftop restaurant called the Rainbow Restaurant. It soon became our favorite place for Masala Chai Tea and Poray (pronounced Poor Awe). It’s a southern Indian rice dish made with flattened puff rice and spices. So good!

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Celebrating Gandhi’s Birthday in India

 

October 2nd is Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday and a national holiday in India.  This year I had the honor of being in India on the special day known as Gandhi Jayanti.  Unfortunately I was feeling under the weather (literally, the pollution was getting to me) but I celebrated it anyway by watching the movie Gandhi on cable television and by following the other celebrations throughout the city.

The India people call Gandhi Bapu, which means father in Hindi.  He is considered the father of the nation, and for very good reason.  Few people have had such a profound influence on a nation as Mahatma Gandhi has on India.  He championed the resistance against Britain for independence and after decades of peaceful protests resulting in imprisonment, cruelty and genocide of the Indian people, the nation finally was granted independence on August 15th, 1947. 

5 Ways that I Deal with the Poor Air Quality in New Delhi

Sitting at my desk, finding it hard to breathe and my head pounding, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I felt even worse than I did the day before.  I really couldn’t afford another sick day, but I called my driver anyway and headed home for the day, even though it was only 3:00.  I felt like I had a bad chest cold, but without the fever.  This is how bad pollution days in the Delhi area make me feel.  They don’t only affect me physically, but emotionally as well.  I find myself feeling homesick for blue sky and fresh air. Fortunately, after ten months here, I have found 5 helpful ways to deal with the poor air quality in Delhi.

Dealing with the Monsoons In India

India has one of the most dramatic monsoon seasons of any country, and it looks like this one is finally over.  According to the locals, it was not a proper monsoon season.  To them, a proper monsoon season is when they get at least one week of pretty solid rain.  That didn’t happen this year, but still it was an experience I won’t soon forget!  The storms move in quickly and you can smell the rain coming.  Typically there is thunder and lightning before the actual rain starts.  Then when the rain does start it rains really hard! In fact, they often get a couple of inches of rain in only an hour! 

15 Things Every Expat Should Know About Living and Working in India

India is a fascinating country, full of geographic wonders, rich history, unique cultural experiences, delicious food and adventures of all kinds, both good and bad.  Almost daily someone asks me if I am enjoying my stay in India, and the truth is, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.  It depends on the day really. There is one thing for certain, if you are coming to India to work, be prepared for some serious culture shock!  Here are 15 things I wish I had known before coming here.

1. Workplace Culture:  Indian people are taught to respect their “seniors”.  Authority figures have tremendous power in India and their subordinates rarely question them. They typically do as they are told, no more and no less.  As a result, don’t expect your Indian coworkers or staff to speak up, give you great ideas or put in a lot of extra effort. On the flip side, they are a very social and hard working group of people and once you win their loyalty and respect they will work even harder for you.

2. Tardiness:  When we held our project kick off meeting everyone was late and we started an hour after it was scheduled.  I was horribly offended but soon learned that they mean no disrespect.  The traffic in India is atrocious (see number 3 below) and the simplest things (herd of cows in the road) can have a ripple effect that causes huge delays. The buses and trains are also often late for a number of reasons too which in turns causes their commuters to be late. In fact, I’ve yet to have a single interviewee show up on time for an interview. It’s just their culture.  If nothing else, India will teach you patience.

Indian wedding invitation

Weddings and Marriage in India 

Weddings here in India are huge!  The festivities can go on for months, with an engagement ceremony, ring ceremony, henna ceremony, and other celebrations, even before the big day. The actual wedding can go on for days or a week, and it is a major event for all extended family.

Getting ready

It’s amazing how these people can take an empty dusty lot and over days turn it into a beautiful wedding venue. I’ve been watching such activities from the balcony of my apartment for the last couple of weeks. Decorations and other supplies for the event arrive on motorcycle, trucks, bicycles, donkeys, and of course even carried in on the heads of women in their traditional Indian manner.  I hope some day I get to attend one of these spectacular events before I return to America for good.