Travel is the new obsession of Indians. Increasingly more and more people are going for international vacations. Now Bangkok, Singapore, Dubai, Mauritius, Switzerland are passé. Iceland, Rio, South Africa, Croatia, New Zealand are the trending destinations for Indians. The craze can be seen amongst all age groups but has the Indian tourist evolved?
Indian traveler has always been labeled as being unruly, loud and bizarre. And most of us will agree that there is some truth in this statement. They start behaving in a bizarre manner as soon as they board the plane. It is common sight to see Indians requesting passengers to shift seats in a plane so that they can sit together. They talk to each other across aisles, stand in the path, shout on phone and make life difficult for everyone. But the real nightmare starts when it is time to eat. Most of us, with good reason, think the plane food is not edible and bring food from home. This proves to be a disaster. To the dismay of the airlines staff. the interiors of the plane are soon filled with aroma of Thepla, paratha, pickles, Bhujia and Indian spices. To add to the woes, the benevolent souls decide to pass the food to other members of their group sitting in different rows, paying no heed to the fact that they are leaving crumbs on the heads of the harassed co passengers. who are not part of the feast. Need I say more? The Indian passengers drink too much, are too demanding and don’t follow the instructions. Can you blame others for thinking the worst about us?
Our love for food, makes us do more idiosyncratic acts. Behind the façade of the local food being too bland and expensive, we resort to making Maggi and Pulao in the Electric kettle or chopping vegetables in the hotel room to make Bhel Puri. The resulting mess you can visualize. How many of us have been guilty of picking croissant, apples or muffins from the free breakfast and stowing it away so that we can eat later. I have seen people making sandwiches using the breakfast spread, wrapping it into tissues and hiding it in their bags. We are fooling ourselves if we think that we are smart and no one notices it.
Our hotel behaviour is quite extraordinary. We feel its very normal to wash your laundry in the tub or wash basin and hang the clothes to dry all over the room with water dripping on the carpet, much to the chagrin of the cleaning staff. Beside the shampoo, conditioner and other stuff, we also believe that towels, bath robes, ash trays, dryers are meant to be taken with you when you check out.
Whether its immigration, security or ticket window, Indians don’t understand the concept of standing in queues. We need to learn etiquette and discipline. Indians are averse to tipping, and when they don’t get good service, they are offensive and aggressive. Our love for bargaining can become embarrassing. We try to bargain everywhere, even malls and boutiques.
Our biggest problem is that we are very loud and inconsiderate of people around us. I remember I was attending a wedding in Boston last year, and for three consecutive nights there was complaints from the neighbours about too much noise. But nobody cared and kept the music playing till wee hours of the morning. Our hosts felt that in weddings there is bound to be loud noises and people should be more understanding. Is it so difficult to comprehend that this in not India and people there are not used to our culture and traditions?
We litter everywhere and still don’t know how to use wash rooms. The list is never ending and lots of us have been guilty of behaving in a outlandish way when we are holidaying. As a result, Indian travelers is bad news for most of the hotels, airports and tourist places. We don’t realise is that when we cross our borders we are representing India and our actions are generalised and attributed to the whole country. Can we try to be careful next time we board the plane for our next destination?
Have ever wondered what all cultural shocks we get when we travel?