How do people react when you say you're from India?
Ram Kumar Ramaswamy, expert - elearning at Thors eLearning LLC (2019-present)
I have an interesting experience from China. This happened in 2014 November. I was in Shanghai for an official meeting. The meeting began on a Monday, but I took the risk of flying into Shanghai on Saturday to just experience the city. I made friends on Couch Surfing with two Indian engineers working for Microsoft in China. They were happy to host me for free, provided I bring them masala packets for their kitchen. They were literally starving for Indian food! I made elaborate notes of Chinese characters for locations, addresses etc. When I landed, I took the Metro and somehow found my way to the station I wanted to get down, after changing two different lines.
There, my phone wasn’t working! And I didn’t find a public booth! I panicked because I could not find the host guy in McDonald’s as he promised (he was in a different floor, and I had missed him!) A shopkeeper asked me whether I was ‘Yindoo’ - Mandarin for Indian, and I nodded thinking it as ‘Hindu’ (religion)! She beamed. Then, the entire shop’s employees smiled at me, gave me a chair to sit on, and patiently asked me to give them the host guy’s phone number. They dialed and helped me meet him - with whom I had even more difficulties conversing in Hindi, and had to switch to English.
The host took me around and introduced me to the wonderful street life of Shanghai - the relaxing uncles and aunties in small stores, the elaborate restaurants, the street food! Wow! Everyone new nodded their head, asking if I was Yindoo, and I nodded even more. Was so much fun. I was offered free fried ants and crickets - which I had to politely refuse by doing ‘namaste’. Phew.
The next day, on my way to the hotel where the meeting happened, I was lost in some neighbourhood.. and a Pakistani guy saw me getting confused with the non-English, all-Mandarin signs on the road. He asked me, ‘Desi kya?’ I said Yes, India. Where are you from? I am from Faisalabad, Pakistan. We were immensely happy like two long-lost cousins meeting. He was studying in some Shanghai university and knew Mandarin. He patiently wrote the address on a piece of paper and gave it to a taxi driver and instructed him in crisp Mandarin. Before he departed, I had a selfie with him. We were so happy. I asked him, what does he research on? He said nuclear science. My smile slightly faded, but that was OK.
In the taxi, the guy was a talkative person. ‘Yindoo?’ Yes! Wow. He was like 60+ and still fit. He began talking at lengths about India, and I could only recognize Nehrooo, Modeeee, and Ximalayaa (Himalaya). I sang a Tamil song for him, and he was so happy - It was ‘Poove Sempoove’ by Yesudas. He sang something in return.
Overall, I was surprised by the enormous warmth and respect random people showed me in Shanghai because I was Yindoo - Indian. Lots of love to you China.
Here’s a selfie we had (I am on the right with the raincoat), and the email I sent him to thank for his help, and his kind reply.
Nikhil Bellarykar, lived in India
I stayed for a month in the Netherlands. I must say my experiences were rather boring, not much exciting LOL.
1.I went to a Pizza place. There was nobody in the restaurant except me and the chef cum owner. It was 4 pm, not exactly the busiest hour. He asked me (I look like a typical Indian), “are you Indian?” I said yes. He said he is from Chechnya, and that Modi is not good but Kejriwal is. I said nothing, just smiled. He said nothing much after that and returned to his work.
2.I had to do some research at the National Archives in Den Haag. The staff was mostly of Surinamese descent- they asked me if I was Indian, and when I said yes, they further asked if I speak Hindi. When they found out I speak Hindi, they were very happy and till my last day there, they were extremely co-operative and spoke to me in Bhojpuri-style Hindi.
3.In the Archives, there was a Pakistani security guard. He asked me where I am from, and I also asked him the same. It was the first time I had met anybody from Pakistan. He was a very soft-spoken and quiet man, and gave me a coupon which I could use to get free coffee one time. He always smiled and talked a bit with me. Very kind.
4.While in Amsterdam, I visited the Rijksmuseum. The official there checked my passport (standard procedure for identification) and asked what I thought of the museum and the Netherlands, and also if I enjoyed my stay in the country till then- I said yes, because it was definitely the most pleasant stay ever for me.
5.I stayed in a sublet apartment. My roommate was a black British guy, who asked me a ton of questions about India. He had never been to India, but being British, had been around plenty of Indians. We always had long discussions about many things in India- History, Hindu-Muslim relations in India, Caste system, Dalits, Colonialism, North v/s South India, Indian food, etc. etc. He was a really bright and curious guy. Many of his friends were also rather curious about India, and when I sat in the cross-legged position, they were totally surprised, which amused me, and I said this is normal in India, pretty much everybody can sit in this position.
6.I visited a friend in Frankfurt, Germany. While returning from there, our bus got stuck in a traffic jam and the driver pushed it through a no-entry. The police promptly arrived and fined him. Due to this, my further timetable was messed up- I was looking to speed up my return journey as much as possible so that my Dagkaart (daily pass) wouldn’t expire before entering the Netherlands. There was an Indian-looking Person, who was on the next row, who asked me if I am from India. I said yes, and he said that he was Pakistani. He explained to me in detail how to catch the train from Dusseldorf station etc. which I could do only because of his instructions. A big thanks to him.
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/48184.html 译者：Joyceliu
Abhishek Dwivedi, Research Associate at Washington University St. Louis
I have been to US and China.
In China, I went to a restaurant. They don't understand English, so I was having a hard time. But, the owner could make out some words. So, he asked, where are you from. I said, India, he said, Indonesia, I said, no, India, he said, Hindu, I laughed and said, yes. I think that's what the Ancient name for India was for the Chinese.
Then, we couldn't have a proper conversation and the menu was in Chinese. And I was hungry. I noticed a man eating momos. So, I asked him to give five of those, in sign language. I started eating and I could hear him talking to a friend about Donglang (Doklam crisis, the India China military standoff was going on that time). Finally, I asked him for the bill and he wanted to say something to me. Finally, after 2–3 mins, he could make out one word in English, free. He said India China friendship. I did observe, both in US and China, that the Chinese are really friendly people. Most even don't know about the 1962 war we had. They are above all that stuff and I think that is the reason they are so successful.
In US, most people, when I tell them, I am from India, they state how much they love Indian spicy food, or, they do this pose in yoga and would like to visit an ashram in India. The good behavior of most Indians abroad (diligence in work and no crime image) results in a very positive image of India abroad and makes me proud.
Rajendra Kumar, MBBS,MD Med, AIIMS,Delhi, IRS- Commissioner income tax, Hyd
I remember I was in Paris.
I told my Hotel Hilton that I was from india.
They shot back—are you a software engineer.
And they looked upon me with respect.
This is despite the fact that they are very racist.
In the USA
Same thing happened in US in Duke university, Durham, North Carolina..
We were hosted by the Internal revenue Service of USA. I got to know that in US it is only the IRS that is capable of breaking the drug cartels running around United states.
The Internal Revenue Service(IRS) officers of US stated that the Indian Revenue Service (IRS)officers from India are very special as they ask some of the most intelligent questions.
And they respected us a lot even in Maryland—when we visited their center for processing of returns.
An IRS officer escorted us around museums in Maryland with great respect.
This in a country where people do not have time.
And I told them—come to Bangalore to see our Central Processing Center (CPC)—we are far advanced than you.
The Americans had huge respect for us.
It is always a proud moment for me as an Indian.
I respect Americans for their innovation and encouragement for the same. Wish our education system changes that way.
ITS WE WHO are having complexes, a craze for the west, little realising that we are the best in world. Please lets stop taking bad points of western culture because they are taking all our good points. We are a great CIVILISATION—GLORIOUS.PLEASE ——WE ARE THE BEST.
Saranya Ravichandran, lives in Paris (2019-present)
I have traveled to few countries and the below reactions are solely based on my interactions with people of different nationalities -
There are always people (especially French) who think that all Indians talk, walk and eat only butter chicken -
Person : Saranya, let’s all do a cooking session. Can you please make butter chicken and naan?
Me : I don’t know how to make them, but I can see online and try. I don’t know if it’ll come out well though
Person : What do you mean? Don’t you make it everyday back home?
Me : No, I am from South of India and even North Indians don’t eat it everyday
They always think Indians don’t eat pork or beef (that everyone is a saint :P)
Person : You’re from India and you eat meat? Why?
A friend : Why not?
Person : Is it not against your country norm?
Me : He’d eat you if you ask more questions :P
If you talk English well and if you don’t have an accent of Apu (Simpsons), they assume you were born or brought up elsewhere -
A person from Shanghai office : You grew up in the US? Or did your masters there?
Me : No, just India throughout, why?
Person : How do you talk English like this, then?
Me : Because it was taught to me in school, in fact all subjects were taught to me in English. How do you know English then?
Person : I’m an ABC (American Born Chinese)
There’s always someone asking you for spices -
Person : Do you know “India is the largest producer of spices? They call India, the land of spices? You’re so fortunate, man!”
Me : Do you want me to get you some spices, next time I come?
Person : Yeah, the ones here are not as strong as India, so *sheepish smile*
The moment you say you’re from India, Yoga somehow always comes into picture -
Person : Saranya, there’s a very good Yoga class nearby, do you want to check it out? Probably, teach me as well?
Me : I don’t even know the spelling of Yoga, man *_*
Person : What do you mean? It’s a discipline that originated in India
Me : True, but I am not so disciplined
They think all Indian songs go “balle balle”
Person : Let’s go to an Indian dance festival once
Me (all excited) : Yayyy, let’s do it. Let me teach you some Indian dance moves
Person : No, I already know them and I’m very good at it!
Lifts his hands and goes balle balle balle, balle balle balle!
And I always have a question about my eye color for an Indian -
Me : I am from India
Person : Then, why do you have green eyes? Does your mom or dad have European descent?
Me : No, I am a 100% made in India product :P
Person : It’s very different to see green eyes on a brown skin
Me : In my country, my skin tone itself is fairu, you know?
And, many more. I must tell you, based on my experience, being an Indian is always interesting (most of the times)
Vijay Bhargava, works at Fleet Management
I have visited a lot of countries as I am working on cargo ships. We get to interact with the locals as part of our jobs and ship's business.
Here are some of the interactions I've had during my work as well as on shore leave.
Man: where are you from?
Man: India? Ahh.. Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh khan.. Huh?
Me: yeah yeah, same. How do you know them.
Him: we have some movies here too.
I was standing on the dock, checking the stores we had received. One of the dock workers starts chatting.
Him: where are you from?
Me: I am from India.
Him: India? Umm..
Him: Oh! ok ok. You Muslim?
Me: No, I am hindu.
Him: Ok. So you find Hindustan better or Turkey?
Me: *This is going into a dangerous territory*. Umm, India is my birthplace. So naturally I will find it better than any country in the world. *that was good*
He speaks nothing for a while. I was getting nervous. After some time, he puts his hands in his pockets and takes out a blade and starts sharpening it casually. His intentions were not to do something crazy but I was already sweating. So, I radioed one of my shipmates and called him to help me ASAP.
After some time, the dock worker left.
男:印度?啊. .Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh khan..嗯?
We were heading to New Orleans and we had to channel through the Mississippi River. For that, we had a pilot arranged.
I was supposed to escort the pilot to the navigation bridge.
The boat comes alongside, the pilot boards..
Me: Good morning pilot.
Pilot: Good morning Mate. Where are you from?
Me: I am from India. In fact, most of the crew is Indian.
Him: That's great! That's really great.
I knew why he was all excited, but still I asked him the reason.
Him: Today's Sunday, right? It must be the Biryani day for lunch.
Me: yeah, that's right. Today's the B day.
Him: I was hoping to get an Indian crew today. I had it once on an another ship and really loved it.
Me: Yeah, we are all proud of our Biryani.
And then we enter the bridge and the conversation is finished. During lunch time, the captain asked the steward to bring some for the pilot. After finishing it up, the smile never left his face.
Me and my friend had gone to the Bahai gardens and where we had a conversation with one of the guards at the gate.
Him: where are you from?
Me: we're from India.
Him: Oh! India. I love India. It's so beautiful. Narendra Modi huh?
Me: *Smiling* Yep, Narendra Modi, our prime minister. You like him?
Him: Yeah, I read about him. He is a good man.
Me: Yeah, I think he is. Thank you.
While we were checking out the gardens, we bumped into a Swiss guy. He had really long braided hairs and beard. We said our sorries and sensing our accents, he asked.
Him: Are you guys from India?
Us: yes we are. How did you know?
Him: woooooooow. I had spent a couple of months in Varanasi. Really beautiful place. One of the best experiences of my life.
Us: OH! That's great. Looks like you had a really nice spiritual journey in Varanasi.
He was so happy to talk to us, that we spent our time together chatting about India. He showed us his pictures from Varanasi. After some time, we asked to leave and said our goodbyes.
It feels so amazing to know that there are so many people that love your country.
This is one of the best perks of the job I chose.