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The fundamental difference between Indians and French is...

... their approach towards the rain.

Indians see rains as a magic romantic thing, a cup of smoking hot chai in the hands watching downpours. And for the French, rain is bad news – we even refer to it as ‘bad’ weather.

Paris has 1 700 hours of sunshine with an average yearly temperature of 12°C and 111 rainy days spread throughout the year with about 650 mm of precipitation.

Delhi has 2 700 hours of sunshine with an average yearly temperature of 25°C and 52 rainy days spread over 3 months with about 800 mm of precipitation. (source: Wikipedia)

In short, we have twice less rainy days in Delhi and a temperature twice higher. We have reasons to look forward for the rain


Practical (but taboo) question on Indian toilets

If, like my mother, you have already found yourself in a bathroom/toilet/loo/water closet without paper (OH. MY. GOD.) and that you have wondered how the hell you would get yourself out of this situation, this note is for you...

India,toilet,paper,water,dryingIf you have traveled in India, (like my mother), you will have realized that women and men use water (and not paper) to clean themselves after action. I also wrote quite a bit on the topic (see these posts). So far so good. My mother understands. But what bothers her is: how do they dry themselves? Because – and I hope that all the girls are aware about it – if you don’t dry your ‘thing’, it is guaranteed that it will be nicely smelly in the evening!

I confess I had also asked myself the question without looking for an answer though since when I had found myself in this situation – with water but no paper – I had just grabbed the first piece of cloth I could find on myself and assumed that Indian women would do the same, maybe with their dupatta (the scarf they use a little bit for everything, from hiding their breast to cleaning a baby’s running nose) or their sari.

When I asked the question to a colleague, she looked completely taken aback – like this had never happened to her – and after thinking for some time, she explained to me that women use the back of their hand to dry their daisy.

I sought confirmation from my nanny, who was not surprised nor hesitant: it’s the sari which is used to dry!

So now you sleep less stupid tonight if you have read this through ;)


The difference between French & Indian photobooths?

Samourai au photomaton.jpgAnswer: the French photobooth does not tell you you look ugly!           
Let me explain... In reality, there are no photobooths in India, or only at the Visa Office of embassies. Therefore, you go to the photographer. Or at least to the shop which prints pictures in which you will find a man and a DSLR camera. The photographer, who can only be called so because of his camera. Because the cover actually makes the book. Some times.   

A few months ago, in Mumbai, I went to a tiny photo lab in a slum-y area. Very professional, the "photographer" was quite annoyed because I was wearing a white t-shirt. It would not work. Even if the sheet used as a background he had chosen was not white but gray (thus contrasting) – I really don’t understand why they do this every time, put a colored background and then photoshop the picture so that the background appears white? That day, as often, I wasn't in the mood to put up with non-senses and above all I didn't have time to go change. Checking out the small room I was in, I spotted a dark blue piece of cloth and grabbed it. And that’s how, under the flabbergasted eyes of the photographer, I wrapped myself in his dusty 'blue-starry-night’ background which really had small stars (Indians are fans of cheesy stuff) and posed!               

Last week I again needed photos. The photographer took 2-3 shots and when he proudly showed me his selection for my approval, I had a reality-check!! Double chin, acne-like red cheeks, messy hair! To be honest, I don’t really care about how I look on identity photos since they are intended for others. I therefore gave my go-ahead for the printing when his colleague came to the rescue. Seeing the selected portrait he sent his buddy away, handed me a handkerchief with a nice compliment “wipe your face, you have oily skin” (Oh hey it’s more than 48 degrees outside and I’m just sweating a bit), made some adjustments and gave me some cute pics. With hardly any photoshopping! Because be aware that in India, they won’t let go with photos where you have a wild strand of hair or a fat pimple. And usually I have both, when not worse! To tell you, once they even insisted to make my favorite Indian look fairer!    

Photoboothing in India is definitely an experience! (Especially since 20 photos will cost you less than 1.5€ :-) ).