India: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture (Culture Smart!)
India. The name instantly evokes associations and images in ourminds. India has painted its colors on nearly every aspect ofmodern Western life. The food we eat, how we decorate our homes,what we wear, how we exercise, the movies we watch, the technologywe use, and the religious options available to us have all beeninfluenced by the many cultures and peoples of India.Seen from afar, perceptions of India may be based onoverwhelming statistics on population and snapshots of poverty;technological competition in the global market; exotic art forms;and ancient history. All this is true. But at its heart India isits people. Mother India’s 1.2 billion “children” are as varied andcolorful as the spice markets of Old Delhi. Each region, caste, andcommunity has its own culture, reflecting unique histories shapedby conquest, creativity, and religion, expressed in distinctlanguages, social customs, art forms, and expectations of life.Steeped in tradition, exceptionally fatalistic, and intenselypassionate about their culture, Indians are some of the mostingenious, adventurous, and creative people on the planet. Warm andfriendly, most will respond to your interest in them and theircountry with generosity and genuine friendship. But they also haveindelible ties to family and community that form boundary lines anddetermine decisions that do not always seem reasonable, from theoutside.Visitors’ responses to India can be as extreme as the people andplaces they encounter there. This book aims to make you aware ofthe basic values and behavioral norms, to show you how to navigatecultural differences and connect with real people, and to offerinsights into the sometimes frustrating, but endlessly fascinating,place that is India.