This blog was an account of my trip to India in January 2008. During this time I worked on the New Indian Express in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
I meant to say a lot more to finish this blog off, but after five months back in the UK, I can’t really justify keeping it going any longer! Hope it’s been useful.
I’ve been back for a week and during that time I’ve been reflecting on my experiences in India. Here are some of the best things about India:
1. Friendly people: People are genuinely curious and interested in hearing about your life, so it’s easy to find someone to talk to. Unlike some nationalities, they are happy to talk about sensitive things like religion and politics, which suits me fine! It’s led to some really enlightening conversations.
2. The colour: Someone told me before I went out there that India is a really colourful place. They were spot on. It’s like a walking, talking, singing, dancing rainbow. Instead of seeing billboard ads, you have advertisements painted onto walls in primary colours. Ladies’ saris cover the whole spectrum, though I doubt a white sari would survive the dust for long! Continue reading
Over the past week, I have been introduced to the joys of Indian TV. The family I am staying with have a satellite dish and get all of the main domestic channels both in Hindi and the local language, Tamil. They also get a number of English language channels including Star (Rupert Murdoch’s subcontinent wide service) and BBC world. There are also a number of US channels including CNN and HBO.
Posted in India, TV
One of the things I have been most looking forward to on this trip is the chance to sample Indian food the Indian way.
So far I have mostly experienced local food through Usha’s wonderful cooking. I have had many old favourites… Poppadoms, Dosas and Daal, but I have also sampled less familiar things like Iddly, Sambal and Rasam.
There are differences that you notice straight away. Back home, Indian food has a reputation for being a bit lardy. Over here, not much fat is used in cooking. In fact, the lardiest thing is the ghee (clarified butter), which you can add once the food is served to season it or make the food less hot.
I’m still recovering from jet lag so stayed at my homestay last night. We had some Chinese food and watched some television. We saw a programme on air traffic investigations on National Geographic, Premiership Highlights (Blimey, that Spurs v Reading game was a thriller) and King Kong, which is about four hours long or something…
At midnight I went onto the Balcony and watched the fireworks and lots of crazy people on motorbikes (no hands) shouting “Happy New Year” to passers by and someone hugging a frightened dog who had just sprinted down the road causing all the traffic to swerve.
I have now arrived in Chennai – it’s a huge place and very busy. I can see I’m going to have problems crossing the roads. I nearly got run over by a motorbike earlier! It’s also hotter than I expected though I am fortunate that it was a little cloudy today.
I am staying in a small apartment, just outside the city centre. My hosts are Usha and Sitara – a mother and a daughter. They are both very friendly.
I had my induction on the veranda at a cafe called Amethyst. The project leader in Chennai, Mandira is very accommodating and has organised lots of things for us to do. Her husband worked in Newcastle for five years in the 1970s so she has some knowledge about where I come from.