Travel tips to India

By | October 12, 2009

While searching for diaper rash because I wanted to know what its like, I came across a page with the stupidest information for visitors traveling to India with infants. Not only is it factually incorrect, it stinks of pseudo superiority.

I have a lot of friends who are foreigners (as in non-Indians). Many of them have kids. Some bring their kids here, a few have given birth in India. The top three things I hear from parents of infants about their India experience are:

  • The tradition of post-partum massage in India totally rocks. Its the ultimate in pampering, and the stomach binding methods really help new moms get back into shape.
  • India is a place to be experienced anew through the wonder of a young child.
  • If you want to potty train your kid, bring him to India, and let a few of the grannies at him/her. Quick, painless and blessed freedom from marathon diapering.

I also know quite a few Indians who have settled abroad. These people seem to have lost touch with their sense of wonder in their need for looking down at the very things they grew up and flourished on. Take for example this article with its snobbish approach.

  • Number one problem in India is mosquitoes! Wow!!! And what problems Harish faces with them. Mosquito nets are too hot, coils are a bad idea (I agree). odomos is unsafe for children, and to bring electronic repellents before entering India. This guy has seriously lost touch with what India has become. Whatever happened to the liquid repellents like All out? Odomos works fine on kids as young as you like as long as you don’t apply it on areas babies suck – hands. I don’t even know that it does harm if applied to hands.
  • Water is a big problem. Sure – in some places, but bringing a kettle from US of A to boil it? The smallest roadside dhaba will give you all the boiled water in a clean utensil you want for free. Never mind the relatives you have come to meet.
  • Infant formula can be found in one store in Mumbai? Is this guy nuts or totally clueless about shopping for babies? Its more like one store every  5 minutes in any direction.
  • Not to bring babies under 2 years, one year etc. And here I was, an idiot for thinking that breastfed babies would have better immunity as well as make water problems irrelevant. Though if the guy has “psuedo-civilized” enough, he probably thinks breastfeeding is something the primitive Indians do and real babies thrive on formula.

Oh, I could go on and on and on…. but one thing leaps to my mind. Cheerful parents make cheerful babies and fussy parents make fussy babies. What wonder is it if the baby keep suffering because that seems to be all the parent can see?

While I hate to stereotype, this is such a glaring pattern, that I’d be lying if I’d de-nationalized it.

The British have left India, but the hangover of inferiority remains. For many people in India, reaching a place where they are better than other Indians imprisons them from appreciating what is, in their hunt for what’s wrong. They can relocate, but the mind remains in their prison of insecurities. There are two ways to be higher my friend. One is to life life to our best. The other is to push everything near us down. Guess which is easier, and which is more satisfying.

On the other hand, non-Indians enter India with a desire for discovery, prepared fully to enjoy their visit, and they find an enriching experience and adventure in the same land with the same number of shops and availability of products.

We can choose to win or whine. Remember, we will soon have echoes of our words coming out of our children’s mouths. What is the world we want them to discover? What is the attitude we want to encourage?

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