Different world cultures have always intrigued me. When I travel, I make sure that I see big cities and go to the nooks and corners of a country. I visit malls. I eat on the streets. I talk to local people. I stay at homestays and community guesthouses. I cook with families. I try and learn their language.
Of course, getting to know the locals of a place isn’t always easy. When I traveled to South America for the first time, I couldn’t talk to anyone for I didn’t know Spanish. Soon as I started learning the language and put in efforts to communicate with my host family and other people, I felt at home in no time. Even the Chilean acquaintances became friends and now we call each other long distance.
I wonder if I would have ever understood and known Chile like the way I do now if I hadn’t tried to make friends with the people who call Chile her motherland.
Immersive travel, the one that takes you deep inside a place’s culture, is uncomfortable at first. But such travels change the way you think about a place. Your travel experiences become richer, and you really understand why people do what they do in different parts of the world.
I have stayed with the traditional Aymara people on remote Peruvian islands on the lake Titicaca, have called a country house on the Chiloé island of Chile my home for about five months, hung out in a treehouse for a week in a Bolivian village that housed more Europeans than Bolivians, spent about 5 weeks in a homestay in Dharamshala learning yoga and slowing down, lived with an old Spitian lady in her homestay in Kaza before moving onto stay with other Spitian families in cold villages that had no phone connection and their water pipes freeze in winter, and have had my fair share of experiences in other family-run guesthouses around the world.
As you can tell, I know a thing or two about how people live around the world, and I am amazed. I want to share all these stories with you.
But world culture isn’t the only thing I want to talk about here. I have grown up and lived in India all my life. I travel often and for long durations to other countries but I always return to India for my family is here.
Growing up in India as a girl was one roller coaster. Being the only woman in a class of about 70 boys in an undergraduate Computer Science batch of IIT Delhi and then the only woman in a large team of an investment bank, I have experienced a lot about how women are perceived in the workplace and schools. My unconventional career and life choices have created chaos in the life of people around me.
And then the tales that I carry from traveling around the world.
This space is for such stories and experiences from the world and Indian culture.
Hope you get to know something new to cherish and think about here.
Please note: I have only listed here the articles that are entirely on culture. You can read more of my cultural writing in individual travel pieces here.