The Hate List – Volume 19

INDIA SPECIAL EDITION

I really enjoyed my trip around India. This special edition of the Hate List does not represent my overall opinion of the country and its people. For a balanced view, it should be read in conjunction with my Highlights of India blog post.

  1. People loudly belching in the street.
  2. People loudly hacking up phlegm and spitting it out in the street.
  3. People chewing paan and spitting it out in the street.
  4. People claiming that paan has health benefits when it’s actually been shown to cause cancer.
  5. People discarding rubbish in the street.
  6. People urinating in the street.
  7. People defecating in the street.
  8. People slaughtering goats for Eid and discarding their blood and guts all over the street.
  9. When you’re wandering the streets of Old Delhi, turn the corner of the dried fruit and spices street and find yourself in the paints and industrial chemicals street.
  10. Delhi, a medieval shithole which was inappropriately chosen as the capital instead of Bombay, a much more modern and suitable city, due to misguided anti-colonial sentiment.
  11. The idiotic security regime at Indira Gandhi Airport, Delhi, where you’re not allowed inside the terminal unless you’ve got a paper ticket, a printed e-ticket, or any old piece of home-printed paper which you can trick the guard with.
  12. Hotel laundry services which write your room number on your clothes in indelible ink.
  13. Agra, an awful, stinking, filthy morass of a city which no-one should ever have to visit, except for its undeserved luck in containing the most famous building in the world, the Taj Mahal.
  14. The hotal in Agra whose dodgy chicken curry had the same effect on my gut flora as Little Boy had on Hiroshima, and left me squirting brown bum wee for a week.
  15. Amritsar, a dusty, cacophanous, fumed-choked sprawl surrounding an oasis of calm and beauty, the Harmandir Sahib. Come on Sikhs, if you can lead battles while decapitated, you should be able to run a proper civic administration and clean up your city.
  16. Internet cafes with thousands of viruses on their computers.
  17. The treatment of elephants kept in captivity for tourist rides.
  18. The woeful state of decaying cultural treasures like the painted havelis of Bikaner.
  19. The woeful state of abandoned colonial relics like the Nicholson Cemetery in Delhi.
  20. The widespread belief that there was a pre-Islamic, pre-British Golden Age when everything in Indian society was better.
  21. The widespread belief that rape is a modern problem that didn’t exist during the Golden Age, and a return to traditional values would solve it.
  22. Endemic sexual harassment and assault.
  23. The fact that sexual assault is referred to by the playful euphemism “Eve teasing”.
  24. The fact that sexual harassment and assault on public transport is so bad, trains need to have women-only carriages.
  25. Trying to unravel the byzantine bureaucracy of the Indian railway ticket booking system.
  26. When what should be a cramped, sweltering three hour bus journey turns out to be a cramped, sweltering eight hour bus journey, including a two hour wait while the bus stops off to have its wheels replaced, and another two hour stop a mile further on, after its new wheels fall off.
  27. Being unable to pay for anything because you’ve got 500 rupee (roughly £5) notes from the cash machine and no-one will give you change.
  28. When you get really involved in haggling and annoyed that someone’s trying to rip you off, then take a step back and realise that, as a relatively rich westerner, 50 rupees (about 50p) for a 10 minute autorickshaw ride is still a massive bargain, and the 30 rupees you’re probably being overcharged as a tourist is negligible amount of money for you, but a meal for the driver’s family.
  29. When you settle on a policy of accepting tourist overcharges as a reasonable, benign way of redistributing a bit of wealth in the right direction, then get infuriated all over again by some bastard who gets cocky and tries to charge you several times the western price.
  30. The tendency, even among educated people, to have groundless beliefs about the health benefits of various traditional foods and spices, while overlooking basic sanitary standards like the use of soap.
  31. People promoting Ayurvedic medicine in a country where a universal basic understanding of the germ theory of disease would save thousands of lives a year.
  32. The widespread belief that Ayurvedic medicine must have something to it because it’s based on traditional religious wisdom.
  33. The widespread belief that Nazism must have something to it because it uses a traditional religious symbol and is based on racial theories about the superiority of north Indians.
  34. The glorification of Nazi collaborator Subhas Chandra Bose.
  35. The fact that in India, being a Nazi collaborator isn’t sufficient to condemn you to such a shameful legacy that your name is a byword for evil and treachery.
  36. Random strangers who ask if they can take a photo of you, as a souvenir of the time they saw a European.
  37. Random strangers who, after asking to take a photo of you and being told no, go ahead and try to surreptitiously take one anyway.
  38. Random strangers who just take a photo of you without asking at all.
  39. Huge billboards of Amitabh Bachchan advertising cement which block the view of the thing that’s the only reason you’re visiting that place.
  40. Shah Rukh Khan advertising Royal Stag whisky. As a much beloved and idolised figure, in a country where alcohol abuse is rampant and particularly devastating for the poor, to get your pelf by encouraging the consumption of hard liquor is an appalling moral failure. At least Amitabh Bachchan’s promoting a constructive activity.
  41. The fact that the drinking culture is focussed primarily on low-grade whiskey.
  42. The constant grind of fighting off unwanted commercial offers and attention.
  43. The various styles of chat harassment used to trick you into buying something, including pretending to be your new friend who’s interested in your India trip, or pretending to be racially offended that you’re ignoring his attempt to be friendly.
  44. Mobs of autorickshaw drivers who crowd you like zombies the second you step foot off a bus or train in a new city.
  45. Taxi drivers who try to take you to a different hotel than the one you asked for.
  46. Autorickshaw drivers whose promised tour of the city involves visiting various shops they hope to get commissions from.
  47. Myself for resenting people who are much, much poorer than me for trying to make a living.
  48. When someone forcefully appoints themselves to do a job you don’t need doing, like providing tour guide information or scaring off monkeys, then wants payment for it.
  49. Not knowing whether and how much to pay your monkey-scaring boy, because too much might encourage him and others to skip school to work as monkey-scarers, and too little would be a needlessly mean, patronising, rich, western, hypocritical, bleeding-heart arsehole thing to do.
  50. The horrendous wealth inequality and poverty which poisons all attempts at decent human interaction.

1 thought on “The Hate List – Volume 19

  1. Hi!

    Loved going through your ‘Hate List’ :-P

    No.28 and No.47- I feel your agony, my friend :-( Those are feelings which not only westerners, but a chunk of Indians who have access to privileges(like myself) feel.
    I cannot recollect the number of times I’ve overpaid people just because I felt guilty about the fact that there are people who have to work so hard to earn a measly sum of money that I’d so casually spend on a chocolate or a cold drink. And yes, the horrible fact that the amount that you’re haggling for could probably be used to feed his family.

    But just like you, I have(as have many other Indians) also, been duped and overcharged a number of times, leading me to develop a rude alter-ego for future just-in-case scenarios :-) I’m an Indian and I should be used to this shit, considering how rampant it is, but fact is I’m not. It frustrates me just as much as it frustrates you. I will not glorify India but yes, this country does make a person think a lot :-D

    Oh, by the way, points no. 30 and 31 had me LMAO’ing. Good observation! I completely agree.

    Yes, littering is something that you’d find even educated people do in India. Yet, there are also organizations and people tirelessly working and doing their bit to remove/recycle the litter caused by other ignorant retards. They do not benefit in any way but do it purely as an act of love and respect for their country.

    At the end of the day, I guess it is all about ratio. The ones who litter far outnumber the ones who clean it. Tragic!

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