Taking Flight…

5 Things I Hate About India

SubscribeFiled Under: India,by Neeraj

I was thinking about the things that I love about my motherland, India, and the things that I hate about it. It didn’t take me very long to come up with a list of 5 things that I love and 5 things that I hate about it. Anyone who has visited the country even once will have a strong opinion on it, let alone those who live there or have lived there a long time (like me). With India, you either love it or hate it – there is no in-between!

Here are 5 things that I hate about the country. Perhaps, ‘hate’ is too strong a word; these are merely things that I find annoying or just plain dislike, some exceedingly so. I hope you find it amusing, but in any case, do let me know if you agree or disagree with what I’ve written.

5) Hounds of Indiaville!

There are too many damn stray dogs! Anywhere you look you will always see at least one stray dog. Any time I went out, I used to play the count-the-number-of-stray-dogs game – and I generally lost count after 7 or 8! It was also annoying to have to cross the road whenever I saw a particularly menacing looking dog coming towards me. During the day time these pesky canines are lethargic and I had to be careful to avoid stepping on a sleeping beauty inadvertently while trying to avoid the throngs of people. At night, it’s a whole different ball game. The hood suddenly becomes dangerous as packs of barking dogs spill out on to the empty streets and have turf wars with rival gangs, and they surely don’t hesitate to intimidate innocent bystanders – like me!

Who let the dogs out?

Who let the dogs out?

When walking alone at night I worry more about a stray dog attacking me than a mugger.

4) Pot Holes in Road or Road in-between Pot Holes?

Pot holes, pot holes and more pot holes – they are everywhere! In India we jokingly ask if there are pot holes in the road or if there is road in between the pot holes? It’s a shame that even the roads of India’s financial capital city, Mumbai, are littered with pot holes … and people talk about Mumbai becoming the next Shanghai – until the quality of the roads improve, they can keep dreaming. And if this is the condition in one of India’s most important cities, then you can only imagine the road conditions in more forsaken places! Just like the weather is a common topic of discussion in Canada, roads are a common topic of discussion in India.

Pot holes are the single biggest reason for the frustratingly long journeys over seemingly short distances. Any road where it’s possible to consistently drive over 50-kmph is a very good road!

3) Litter-Me-Not

I used to think that the littering problem in India is due to a lack of education. However, litter bugs are found across all socio-economic backgrounds, all education levels and all age groups. The most frustrating part is the ये इंडिया है, यहाँ सब चलता है attitude. Those same people will not do it when they go to developed countries – I wonder if they have an inferiority complex? Littering is not just confined to the cities but also in the most beautiful of places. It makes me wonder how some people can violate mother nature like this? Picnic spots usually end up becoming garbage spots. Consider waterfalls in the rainy season that are close to big cities and easily accessible by road. Many city slickers will drive to these spots on weekends for a day picnic; by the time the weekend is over the place is reeling with discarded plastic bottles and plastic bags. In India, if a place is beautiful and needs to be preserved, then it must necessarily not be made accessible by building roads or by publicizing it! It may seem unfair, but that’s the price to pay for conservation. However, this argument is a double-edged sword. Read the other side here.

Garbage, garbage ... everywhere!

Garbage, garbage … everywhere!

On a positive note, awareness is increasing among the younger generation, and more and more NGOs and schools are organizing clean-up drives.

2) Me to Rikshawala: Where Will You Take Me Today?

Almost everyone who uses rickshaws on a regular basis will have bad experiences to share about rikshawalas (drivers). Rikshaws are 3-wheeled metered-taxis that can seat up to 3 passengers. Rikshawalas, certainly those operating in the big metros, are notorious for refusing to take passengers for reasons such as (a) your destination is too close for their liking, (b) your destination is not in the direction they want to travel in, (c) you insist on paying your fare by meter and they want to set the fare in advance. You can imagine the frustration when as many as a dozen rikshawalas refuse to take you to your destination. And, if by chance you do manage to hail a rikshaw, then you still have to be prepared to deal with rigged meters, fake tariff cards and rude behaviour! Many times I’m tempted to ask the rikshawala where he wants to take me today?!

To save myself the stress and heartache, I try to avoid taking rikshaws as much as possible. In fact, if I’m alone, I never take a rikshaw. I would rather walk or take a bus to where I want to go than deal with these *******. It is very difficult to even talk about these guys without using profanity. Pretty soon we will have to bribe the rikshawala to take us … for a ride!

A 2001 photo of me driving a rikshaw!

A 2001 photo of me driving a rikshaw!

वाट बघतोय रिक्षावाला ग वाट बघतोय रिक्षावाला…

1) Development? What Development?

The No. 1 thing that I hate about India is – development – I hate that word. I think “development” is a bad word in India. Whenever I hear someone say “that area is now developing”, I immediately associate that with rampant, haphazard and unplanned development – unfortunately, for the most part that is a fact.  In the quest for urbanization, hills are flattened to make way for new housing projects, rivers are diverted, farmland are converted for commercial development, forests are cleared and lakes are filled in by greedy and unscrupulous developers to construct more buildings – all in the name of development. It’s more like destruction – environmental destruction.

The way India is “developing” is totally unsustainable. It’s not that other nations haven’t done these things, but owning to India’s large population and demand for housing, the scale of destruction is immense. After each visit to India, I see more and more farmland lost to commercial interests and I wonder how India will feed its billion-plus people in the coming years…

What do you hate or dislike about India?

See Also: 5 Things I Love About India

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