Crowd of people in a dusty parking lot

India First Impressions: Kindergarten to High School

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I have vague memory of Kindergarten as a kid… mostly that it was only a few days a week, there were giant cardboard bricks that looked like a bunch of tiny bricks already built together.. we learned about green and red lights, yield signs, crosswalks… most importantly was nap time.

Crowded street
Traffic in New Delhi

A little while later I went to high school. Excitement, attitudes, all kinds of emotions that never really seemed to make sense, and a multitude of other things that can only come to a person with years of experience.

Only then, after the many years spanning Kindergarten to High school can one even begin to be somewhat ready for the next three years of his or her life. No matter who reads this, as long as you’ve passed your years of schooling, will know what I’m talking about.

We Were Not Prepared

Spend the first month of our trip in Nepal we figured, make it a nice warm up, get us used to the mindset, and the attitudes, before crossing over into India. It turns out we were a little mistaken. Our plan was the equivalent of skipping grades one through nine and diving head first off the high board of Kindergarten right into the shark infested pool of High School.

People crammed in the cab of a bus
Bus Full? Cram in with the driver!

Forget everything you know about life in the west. The simple day to day normalities that we all take for granted. ‘There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture.’ This is India. From a western point of view, everything here is backwards. ‘Excuse me’, ‘Sorry’, and ‘Please’ seem to not be part of the vocabulary. Bodily functions: Farting, spitting, belching, sack scratching… completely normal and acceptable.

Seemingly uncontrollable staring as if we are a celebrity coupe, or perhaps a couple of strange white aliens. Horn honking is constant, even on nearly deserted roads. Wait in line? someone will cut in front, and nobody cares: First come, first serve? the concept does not exsit.

Cow walking down a street
Common Traffic in India

This is a world where children are businessmen and livestock are more powerful than royalty. KFC actually tastes good! and the empire that was built around the humble Cheeseburger, McDonalds, does not sell beef. Everything you are used to back home, leave it at home, because in India, none of it will do you any good.

This isn’t the ‘Outer Limits’. This isn’t the ‘Twilight Zone’. This is India: the most incredible country I have ever experienced in my entire life.

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About the Author

Mark Stewart

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Mark is the co-founder, photographer, author, and part-time editor of These Foreign Roads. A former chef, he left the professional kitchen in search of interesting experiences and unique cuisines from around the world.

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