Ankit Baid, Honest learner
I haven't visited China or come across Chinese in India. However, I met several students from China during my exchange program at the University of Strasbourg, France.
I found my Chinese classmates to be relatively quieter, soft spoken, and attentive. They were however extremely helpful, tenacious, and great to get along with. I'll share some of the special memories I shared with them.
1.This is our first class of the session. And the course was Theater for Managers. Everyone went to the course because management students rarely get academic credits for taking a theater course. The first exercise of the class was to be able to identify every participant by name, nation, academic background etc. Soon, the ice breaker turned into a tongue twister with Indian, Chinese, Finnish, Mexican, and French names making our stomachs ache. There was however, one name, Xi Ayuh, that no one could pronounce. We kept practicing her name as a part of different exercises during the class, but I eventually asked her if she could spell it for us. And when she did, we stared with dropped jaws at how difficult it was to speak out such a short and easily spelled name. Despite an hour of horrendous laughter all around her name, she never took a thing to heart, she laughed with us, and at the end of the session actually told me that she'd love to help us learn other Chinese words as well. I have come across few people who'd be so easy going and jovial with complete strangers and make friends with everyone in the class on the back of silly pronunciation.
2.When we went out to chase the Northern Lights in Abisko, none of us had a DSLR camera. We weren't really photogenic but who doesn't want a memory with those mind blowing ribbons of multicolored smoke. We headed to the lake of Abisko at night, and saw a group of students coming back after viewing. It was around 0200 hrs and it was freezing cold. With our headlights on, I mustered the courage to ask them if they can click a few pictures for us too. Their group had several cameras, and one of the guy promptly told me that he recognizes me from the train journey. He offered me his camera and said I can return the same to his room once back (we both were lodged at the Abisko Guesthouse). I insisted that a few quick pictures would do, but the sheer surprise of him trusting me with the camera still makes me chuckle.
3.This one might attract some negativity, but it was the most touching one. I love to eat and cook, and every year I make it a point to participate in a community event at some level, cook food for the people, and donate the proceeds to child education. This year I decided to set up an Indian food stall with my friends. However, with a student community of 1500 and just two of us, we were short on utensils, knives, and cooks. One of my Chinese classmates was a girl of 23 and she'd always shared her dinner pictures on our project group. When she came to know that the food stall would be supporting girl child education here in India, she asked if she can help. I didn't expect much from her, but I glad to hear that she liked the idea. So, a day before the event, she came in, and got 2 more friends (whom I'd never met before) with her. I welcomed them with some Indian snacks and we set to work. They seemed small and timid, but with knives and chopping boards, they were furious. We chopped over 20 kg vegetables among the 4 of us in 90 mins. In the midst of it all, I asked them what made them volunteer. They unanimously said, back home in China, being a girl child wasn't considered auspicious. You won't be carrying the family name and unless you're a first child, you'll be given away (one child policy). They said that they can't immediately make a huge difference in it, but by contributing to the cause I drove, they'll be doing the fair bit in their power. This coming from the girls made me teary. I couldn't clap at their immense depth of thought but I smiled, and they acknowledged the respect with their smiles. The food stall went on to be a success, but my co-chefs taught me that there's so much more to seemingly smaller commitments and contributions in life.
Sunil, works at Thomson Reuters
I have been living in China from 3 years. For me China is very nice and the people in China are very friendly.
- There are few common questions that most of the Chinese ask you are about freedom to Indian woman, too many rapes in India, men can have too many wives. That is because the there are web articles that get circulate these kind of news about India and almost all of them are fake news but people still believe it but they still are very friendly and can believe it and accept you if you say its a fake news. For a basic Chinese, he wouldn’t think or involve in any high tension matters that happens between India and China.
- Language is surely a big problem if you are coming to China, and only survival is by using translator. But Chinese are very friendly and there is always a bond he will try to make to understand what you want to say and is accurate most of the times in casual conversation. But use a translator is a better option.
- When I was travelling to China for the first time I was travelling from Hyderabad. Hyderabad mostly is hot and when I reached Shenyang , China the temperature that day was -16 degrees. So please be careful about the places you travel and clothes to carry according to that temperature.
- Food is always a problem and very big problem if you are a vegetarian. If you are a vegetarian or new to China and you if you are planning to take a meal but cant find anything on the menu, ask for fried rice(specify only vegetable if you are a vegetarian) and that is almost everything that you can get anywhere in China without any difficulty.
- Hospitals are too costly, too expensive.
- Huh.. As an Indian and if you are having an appointment, please try to be on time. Chinese are very good at maintaining the time.
- Most of the Chinese have an English name and if they don’t have an English name take few minutes to know pronounce their names properly.
- Public transport is the best way to travel and the connectivity is very good.
Murali Krishna U, Engineer TechSavvy Entrepreneur Startupmentor Multilingual
I have been in China for last 3 years and I can say for Indian, the life in China will be a good experience. As I was in electric vehicles domain for last 12 years professionally, I have no other choice but to interact with Chinese people because of their supremacy in this domain. I was dreaming of working in China and with the people over here, finally I stepped into Shenzhen in 2014.
Work life :
We know the work life in India and how it impacts our family life. We will be squeezed off by the boss and the our thinking is that the more time you spend in office, the boss will be more happy despite no contribution after office hours. Its the way of life in Indian companies. But I felt a lot of relaxation in the work life. The targets are set and just work as per your plan to complete your job on time. No one asks you if you leave at 5.30 PM. I liked this kind of work life.
One interesting culture we never seen in any typical Indian office is that fixed time for lunch and company CEO also must go for lunch during that time. Generally every Chinese will have a power nap for 10 to 15 min after lunch. You can see whole office will be in dark during the lunch time due to power nap culture.
This is very critical for Indians. Indian have the unique concept of pure vegetarians, eggitarians , non-vegetarians ( also selective in non-veg who don’t take pork / beef ). Our beliefs are so complex and not straight forward. Yes, its obvious to think that it very difficult for an Indian vegetarian to survive. But in my experience you find of lot of vegetarian dishes in Sichuan, Hunan restaurants which are very tasty and even some are equivalent to Indian taste.
Check out below the pic of Indian roti in Chinese way , a perfect food for vegetarians
Just would like to share some food for Eggitarians
Tea culture :
As an Indian, we are used to the milk tea since childhood and usually don't think of a tea where there will not be any milk. Just add hot water to the tea leaves and reuse the tea leaves for full day and drink it whole day instead of water. Surprised ! isn’t it ? That's the speciality here. China has many kinds of Tea like black tea, red tea are most common. In addition you can even find flower tea as shown in the picture below.
Pictures taken in one shopping mall.
These are flower tea which will be added in hot water of around 80 deg.C and drink it instead of water for whole day. Its a interesting culture atleast for Indians and also this is a healthy practice too.
Treatment to Indians
As far as my personal experience concerned, Chinese people are very nice people . Only issue is the communication as majority can’t speak english. Otherwise if you can communicate a little, they would be ready to help you best in any kind of difficult situations. What ever may be there political tensions between two countries, personally I haven’t found any issue till now.
Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore statue in Shenzhen University. Interesting thing is this is the only statue in the complete lawn and before the department building. This picture shows how Chinese people admire Indians.
Dangal ( Shuai Jain ba baba ) - yet an another Indian sensation in China. Chinese loved the movie. Where people found me were asking about this film and their quick feedback about how they enjoyed the movie. The film is based on family relations and Chinese are not new for this. They have similar culture of family relations as of India. This is the reason why the film was a big hit in China.
Edited on 20170902
Buddhism and its roots from India
Though not a new point as whole world knows Buddhism has its roots in India and spread to China and other east asian countries. The below pictures shows the fact how India’s Buddhism influenced Chinese culture.
The picture was clicked during my visit to Shenzhen’s Window of the world ( 世界之窗 ）where this statue and the words above been exhibited.
Siddharth Pathak, Hindi Chini bhai bhai, 中印兄弟
I took Chinese for 4 semesters out of 8 in my college (I studied in US), and took 3 additional courses in Chinese history. So I have had what might be a more than average exposure to all things Chinese for an Indian.
1.Chinese can be extremely centric towards their group, similar to Indians. And Chinese to some extent also display the provincial closeness again similar to Indians (Maadus with Maadus on average, Kannadigas with Kannadigas on average - but me being the outlier hanging out with Pakistanis and Bangladeshis - dunno why but I digress)
2.Food is as central to their Chinese country bumpkins as it is to Indian country bumpkins. Like the omnipresent question, “oota aayitha?” (Kannada for “have you had food?”), Chinese also have a habit of asking have you had food (though I learnt about this from my Chinese friends, and apparently more prevalent in Chinese countryside).
3.All the Chinese people I came across seemed to be really impressed even if non Chinese people knew basic bits of stuff about their country. I had gotten more proficient about the provinces and the different geographies marking them and the particular kinds of food associated with them as I got to know more about China. When I would attempt to strike conversations with more Chinese people, they were really impressed that I would tend to know some quirks about where they came from.
4.Chinese seem to have a very strong emphasis on empirical bits of history. India is steeped in history too, by in my experience so far Chinese elements emphasize much more strongly on recounting the specific instances and the empirical bits, sprinkled of course with moral connotations.
6.Chinese are quite diverse in their physical appearances. Some Chinese can pass off for being Indians.
7.Challenging the drinking capacity of a Chinese, especially during a marriage is a bad idea on average. Unless of course if you are a Malayali or a Punjabi who measures her peg Patiala style.
8.One of the underrated pleasures in the world is watching old Chinese people flaneur around in parks in Chinatowns, similar to the pleasure one gets watching old Indians loaf around tea shops.
Balaji Viswanathan , traveled to China multiple times
I have always had a positive experience with the Chinese. My experience with Chinese started in my college days - when I went to Singapore for an award ceremony and got a chance to interact with a number of students of Chinese origin.
In my Masters program in Baltimore, I developed close relationships with many more. One of them was an Indophile who would be there in every Indian event in campus. Both in my MS program and in my MBA program, some of my closest friends were Chinese students.
At Microsoft, my first mentor was a Chinese. And in one of my teams we had a Chinese, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese-Canadian and me. It was an amazingly well-knit team. We used to joke about the alleged tensions that run between our cultures.
People were polite and the policemen were friendly. When my teammate got lost in a street, the policeman gave a lift in his vehicle. In one of my bus journeys I was out of change and a poor gentleman paid my ticket with a smile. He didn’t know English, but shared a bond with me. When we met our suppliers they hosted us with sumptuous lunches [I could not accept that being a vegetarian]. A random girl in the street asked me about Krishna and was interested in our philosophy. I also found that getting visa for an Indian is easier than for an American or a Pakistani.
In short, this whole thing about the tension between Chinese and Indians is a fake thing. We get along so well in US, Canada and elsewhere. And we get along so well in China.
At a time when we are talking about wars, it is time we start interacting people to people. Not diplomat to diplomat, not army to army, but common people to common people. Then you will find out how much in common with us. And how much there is mutual respect.
Make love, not war.