28 September, 2011

Street Pictures and Clothing Explained

The yellow three-wheeled vehicle is called an "auto rickshaw," or "auto" for short. It's like a small taxi.

I am often addressed in India as "Madam." I find this kind of interesting because generally in the US it would be "Miss" or "Ma'am," but here it is always Madam. It seems the Mercedes Benz is a popular car here, except it is pronounced more like "Benj," which confused me a little at first. I was asked if there are Mercedes Benj cars in the US, and yes, we have them too, but they're pricy.

I am finding that most people don't work until after they're out of college. Usually students' education in India is paid for by their parents, and then students will usually only get a job once they are out of college. In the US, most people get a part-time job by the time they are 17 or 18, and work through college and in the summer. It's common for students to get help to pay for their education, but most have to pay for a least some on their own, sometimes all.

A couple things I'm still adjusting to are the transportation system, and keeping enough small bills on hand. In the US, I didn't really ever have to worry about this, because you can get the right change at any store you go to. But in India, sometimes if you don't have small enough bills you can't get the right amount of change back, which just means you lose money. Auto drivers especially are known for not giving enough change back. I also got a tip to always negotiate price of the auto beforehand and never use the meter price system, because an auto driver will take the longest route possible and a foreigner I wouldn't know the difference thereby paying more than they should.

Thankfully my stomach seems to have adjusted now to the new environment and food after about 2  weeks, and I've been continually trying new Indians foods, though still only mildly spicy. An upset stomach and falling ill when first arriving in India is very common until adjusted to the new conditions.

Today there was a birthday celebration at work, and most of the way birthdays are celebrated are the same. The Happy Birthday song is sung the same way with birthday cake, but after this cake and frosting is then smeared all over the birthday person's face, this is one tradition I've never celebrated in America. People also usually celebrate with family and friends in small or large gatherings depending on preference.

Due to the Telangana strike on day 14, power outages are increasing because there is not enough coal, today in the office we worked without the lights on for about 5 hours instead of the usual 2 hours a day since last week (computers are on a back-up power system so we can still work when power is out).

And now I'll explain traditional women's Indian wear with visual imagery. I learned that "Chudidar" is a name for cloth leggings that comes from the Hindi word for bangles, because of the way the material bunches near the ankles to resemble bangles (I'm actually wearing leggings here but you get the point). "Chudi" is the Hindi word for one bangle, "Choodiyan" is the word used to describe lots of bangles.

Here I am wearing a kurtie and leggings, or salwar kameez. The kurtie/kameez (kurta for men) is the top, and the leggings/salwar/chudidar is the bottom (chudidar is tighter than salwar or pyjamas). The kurtie often is worn as a mid thigh to knee length. Most women also wear either sandals or ballet flats like what I'm wearing in the top picture, because, like I said before, it's impossible to wear heals on the streets, flats are much more comfortable and easy to get around in. Also, because of the climate, I think sandals can be worn year round in India (definitely not possible back home in Minnesota, US! From about December to April it's boots). One of the best parts about Indian clothing? It is so comfortable! (Although I have yet to try the sari, which I'm thinking will take a little skill to wear). This and western clothing is mainly what is worn in the office for women. Men really only wear western clothing in the office.

1 comment:

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