7. January 2015 – 12:58
Many people interested in India often ask me what are the biggest differences between India and Germany. Often I can’t find a quick answer to this, because I’ve always been in India for far too long, so that everything in India seems totally “normal” to me.
I only notice the big differences when I travel from one country to another, just as I did when I came back to Germany just before Christmas.
Lonely and empty streets and villages
What I find most amazing is always our empty streets in Germany. While in India life takes place outside of your doorstep, in Germany you can drive for hours through villages and towns and meet no human soul.
In India I am almost only outside, even in winter. But here in Germany I am already proud of myself, if I manage it for an hour a day. In Germany, everyone seems to be making themselves comfortable at home!
In India, there is chaos on the streets, at least from the point of view of a European. Here the rule is that there are no rules and that the larger vehicle always takes precedence. I’m at the very end of the survival chain with my bike in India and I’ve cursed that many times during my rides. The situation here in orderly Germany is quite different. Here might be even to many rules and street signs! For cyclists, the conditions in Germany are of course great: a network of cycle paths as you could only wish for.
Urban and state planning
Officially, there is something like Urban planning in India, much of it is not noticeable. In India, the buildings seem to be build according to the motto: if there is space, I can build something” and usually these buildings never seemed to be finished and mostly the roof is missing. This, of course, does not contribute to a beautiful cityscape. On the other hand, there is more naturalness in India. If I look out of the window in Germany, everything is laid out, up to the smallest forest path. In India, on the other hand, there is still a certain wildness of nature, which I find quite beautiful. Having a natural forest path under your feet is nice.
Food and meals
I love going shopping in India: I go from my vegetable stand, to the dairy shop and on to the small grocery store where I get my rice and lentils bottled from large bags. In India, shopping means having time and meeting people. Supermarkets are only available in the big cities.
The preparation of the food is also different here: there are no ready meals, but a delicious meal is conjured up from fresh staples.
The typical German is an individualist. He or she is often alone and likes it that way. Although Germans also meets with friends, most of the time these meetings are scheduled. Effectiveness is in the foreground, the day is planned through, spontaneity doesn’t exist here.
In India, at least in the village, it is different. Especially in winter, when there is not much to do, one meets to play cards and drink tea. If you want to see a friend, you just visit him without announcing it. If you have some work to do, the Indian does not do it alone. A friend will always come along to advise and give company.
These five points are just a few selected examples. If I notice a few more, follow them soon here!
I hope it doesn’t read too negatively. Most of the time I like this “otherness” of India and the things I don’t like, I try to take with humor!