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NEW COMERS : Lina Cocucci Blog - Things I've Learned

Stolen from a Friends Blog , . She is an Amazing Write and was a member of IVES during her stay in Bangalore. Check out her Blog for more.

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This post is part of an ongoing series. Its contents can be found on the “Things I’ve Learned” page, which you can access at any time for the full compilation.

Many of these items seem obvious to me now, but I remember a time where they were as foreign as squat toilets.


Welcome to Indian Standard Time (IST). Anything takes three times longer to be accomplished than your senses tell you it should.


Every time you ask someone for directions, wherever you are going will be five minutes away from where you are now.


This is a rough conversion chart that I’ve been able to put together:

“5 minutes” means a half hour.

“30 minutes” means an hour and a half.

“It is very near” means, “You’ll probably need to ask someone else for directions.”

“I am 10 minutes away” means, “This could take some time.”


Be prepared to tolerate the sound of abrasive car horns. With an average driver in average traffic, I’d say that 4 to 11 car honks per minute is to be expected.

Stopping this from driving me insane involved a paradigm shift. I had to rid myself of the stigma that honking = bad. Unlike in the United States, where honking is reserved as punishment for an extreme traffic delinquent or as the first stage of road rage, honking in India means, “I am here.” It conveys neither aggression nor hostility and you will hear it a lot.


In very elaborate and colorful lettering, trucks have the words, “Honk Please” painted next to their license plates.


Find your Indian accent as quickly as possible. This will be your key to maneuvering India.


You would do well to bring ear plugs everywhere (especially when walking near or driving in traffic).

Additional motherly tips: It would be smart to bring a handkerchief and sunglasses whenever in an open vehicle. The smog in Indian cities is thick and concentrated. Breathe through the handkerchief to filter out particulate pollution (many Indians do this). Wear glasses or sunglasses to prevent the particulate pollution from scratching your cornea.


Chai (tea) and coffee are always served with milk and (a lot of) sugar


Only passengers with flights that depart in a few hours will be let into the airport. No family or friends allowed.

Specifically, to be let into an airport you will need a boarding pass and a valid ID. If you have no way to print out your boarding pass before arriving at the airport, there are booths for each airline outside the entrance that will print you an entry ticket.

These booths sometimes do not exist for international flights. In these cases, tell the security guard that you do not have your ticket printed and tell him to please call an attendant from your airline to come and confirm that you are a passenger.

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