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Top 10 Cultural Myths About India

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1. India is a country

We often think of India as a country, that is what we have been learning in the schools. Well, in a broader sense, it is true, but when you visit and experience it, you will feel India is like a continent where big nations having different languages, culture, music, food and clothing styles are living together in harmony. You can consider India as an advanced version of European Union where there is one economy, one market and no visa/document requirement to travel around. India is often termed as subcontinent; usually Indian subcontinent includes Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and sometimes Myanmar. When the British rule on the subcontinent ended, over 400+ princely states (or nations, to get the actual feel) joined and formed the union of India. Later French colony of Pondicherry, Portuguese colony of Goa, ‘Daman and Diu’, ‘Dadra and Nagar Haveli’ and independent state of Sikkim joined the Indian union bringing in more diversity in the already diverse India.

Indian government never tried to homogenize its population unlike how Soviet Union, China, and many other countries did to strengthen their rule over the territory. Soviet Union enforced its culture and usage of its language, Russian on all the republics to strengthen its domination. India, on the other hand, left its diversity intact allowing people of different communities practice their religion, language, culture and customs freely.

With that much diversity, which is not even found in entire Europe, it would be unfair to generalize Indians, for e.g. Indians are always late, all Indians are vegetarians, all Indians drink tea with milk and sugar. I hope you are getting my point, with a whopping 1.237 billion population; it is even greater than that of Europe + Russia, you cannot dare to generalize it.

2. All Indians are in customer support

If you live in US, Canada or in West Europe, it would be surprising if you have never talked to an Indian customer care/technical support representative. When I was in US, I realized that people thought jobs going to India meant tech support jobs, since that was what people had experienced in their daily life. However, unfortunately for Americans, outsourcing is not just about technical support, but entire engineering and software jobs that has been captured by Indian companies. If your phone bill was calculated and paid correctly, if your flight was on time, if your insurance claim was paid successfully, if your shopping bill was calculated correctly and discount coupon was applied without an error then you have to thank an Indian. Not just that, if you use Apple, Microsoft and Facebook, again you can thank an Indian. Indian knowledge and engineering is everywhere so deeply integrated in your life that you will not realize it. You realize it only when a customer care representative from India is talking to you.

3. Indian women do not study

It is a big myth about India around the world that Indian society does not allow women to enjoy their freedom and practice their right to education. Post-independence, India has been struggling to eradicate some social evils that were brought in the society during British and central Asian rule in India. Indian literacy rate is low at 74.04%; it consists of male literacy rate of 82.14% and female literacy rate of 65.46%. It is true that in earlier days due to poverty parents do not used to send their girls to school. It was a widely accepted tradition that women after marriage would go to a new house and become homemaker. Therefore, parents used to teach her methods of managing and organizing home along with cooking.

Today things are changing and have almost changed. 65.46% literacy rate of females include all the women in India irrespective of their age, youth literacy is much better. It is very common to see Indian girls in cities flaunting their beautiful clothes and mobiles and going to school. In villages, I observed girls wearing white shirt and blue skirt, or white and blue salwar suit and red ribbon on their pony or wearing red hairband and going to school. They graduate from schools not just literate but educated. Almost every year in the nationwide board exams of 10th and 12th class Indian girls outshines boys when it comes to percentage scores. These girls not just pass the high schools, but secure professional degrees and career as engineer, doctor, lawyer or journalist. Indian women are in the every profession you can think of. As the new generation takes the command of the nation, we will see more improvements.

4. Indian women do not work and stay at home

It is not always true, but it happens a lot all over India. However, it does not necessarily mean that women are forced kept inside homes. As I wrote in the previous point, today more women are working than ever in India, as Indian society is getting modern. However, working was never related to education. I have seen old women or uneducated women even in the village working in the farms, tea gardens, in small-scale industries or as labourers or maids. In cities, I have seen women doing all sorts of professional work as men.

Often in the joint family women are made to stay at home and do home tasks. Nevertheless, this concept of joint family and living with parents is gradually becoming unpopular as unlike earlier days, today often people go to bigger cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad and Bangalore for work, leaving behind their family. Sometimes it is a woman’s desire to stay at home and take care of their child or a community through an NGO. Indian women think differently, there are women who leave their career for their family. I see many people in my home in Russia were criticizing this, but most of the times it is a women’s self-decision!

In middle class and in upper class, being a homemaker is considered as luxury. Women relax at home and watch daily soap opera continuously; maidservants come at home and do all the cleaning and even cooking. Women join various community in the neighbourhood like kitty parties and hang out together play games, and organize a feast. Some women join NGOs and social or animal welfare communities and spend their free time there, isn’t it a royal life? 🙂

5. Indian women are not allowed in temples

It is again a popular myth. My friends who went to India and came back to Russia were telling me that women cannot go to temples in India, then they were showing me their pictures in Akshardham and ISKCON temple in New Delhi, and my quick question was how did you manage to intrude into a no woman zone?

Then there is another myth that women and men made to stand in separate lines in the temple. It is again not true, in temple anyone can go and in any order. Yes, it is possible that temples may have security lines and security lines in India are always separate for men and women because it involves frisking.

There are some temples in India like Sabrimala in Kerala where women are not allowed if they are sexually active. It is not because they are considered dirty or impure, but because the old style temples are often situated at the great heights, which requires long trekking to reach there. Earlier sexually active women during periods used to get fainted or feel uncomfortable. Therefore, the society decided to avoid women from the age of 10 to 50 coming to the temple. Now with better facilities women can tackle problems during period, but temple tradition became like a rule over the time which no one considered changing it. Such temples are very less in India, in my knowledge had only this temple.

top 10 myths about India

TWR journalist from Russia visits famous ISKCON temple in Delhi. Women can go inside and sit or walk with men.

6. Indian men practice Dowry

Despite strict laws in place by the Indian government, dowry is still practiced by many in the country. Often bride’s parents gives her gifts when she marries and goes with her husband. It is considered normal, but the problem arises if there is specific demand of cash or items from the groom side. If the groom side is not satisfied, it may result into domestic violence. This happen among not so socially and intellectual open people. Even education could not help eradicate this problem. I have seen highly professionals like doctors, engineers and lawyers also indulging in it. One needs to be spiritually open and intellectual to overcome this mentality.

With love marriages becoming popular in India, dowry practices is also becoming less popular. However, like the first rule, you cannot generalize all the people in India. Moreover, I have seen people and my friends in India who are strictly against it.

7. India is a hot place

Because India is located close to equator, we have a feeling that is a very hot place, but in reality temperatures in India can vary from +50 C to -50 C. Yes, it can be that hot and cold. The best time to visit India is from October to March, it is pleasant time and winter is warm if you are in north central, central or south India. The northern part of India can be very cold due to Himalayas! Delhi falls in north central India, therefore winters are not so extreme there. At the most, temperature can dip down to 0 C. However, in India people are not used to centralize heating, they simply manage with thick blankets and clothes or sometimes chimneys.

Some of the religious and spiritual places, scenic hill stations and other places of interests and leisure are situated on the Himalayan belt; the best time to go there is from April to September. Do not be surprised if you see snowfall in those months of summer 🙂

8. Indians worship millions of gods.

As a foreigner when you visit a temple in India, you are surprised to see hundreds of gods in one temple, and when I ask my Indian friends, even they do not know who all are them. I used to believe in this myth, until I met some spiritual minded intellectuals.

Indians believe god is only in one form, energy, which is shapeless. Indians find god in anything that has energy. Moreover, all the life-supporting elements and bodies like Sun, moon, earth, water, air, and fire receive immense respect and sacred place among the hearts of Indians. This is the reason why Indians do not consider animals inferior to humans. Animals are equally worshipped and revered in India, and are inseparable part of Indian culture. Apart from believing in god as the form of energy, Indians believe in the concept of power sharing. They believe in Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh who have the power of generating life, operating life, and destroying life respectively. The concept of power sharing, which is very new in the western world, existed for tens of thousands of years in Indian culture.

The idols that we see in the temples are actually the people who have actually lived in some period of history. For e.g. Ram and Krishna were actually kings. Ram was the king of Ayodhya and Krishna was the king of Dwarka. Their deeds and their philosophy was so impressive that Indians consider them as the avatar of Vishnu and they are revered and idolized even until today. It is just like how in Russia we idolize Lenin. That is why, if you go to South India, you see some other “gods”, if you go to North Indian mountains you see each village has its own “goddess” associated with some historical incidence around the village.

9. India is full of diseases and snakes

If you are planning a trip to India, it is likely your friends, your personal doctors will scare you about diseases in India like cholera, diarrhoea, malaria and dengue, and your travel agent will insist you to take extra health insurance and medicines especially for the trip. However, once you land in India you will see, while some part of it is true, mostly it is a big hype. You will be fine and healthy if you drink packaged mineral water and eat from the right places. Not that native Indians eat from the wrong places just that their immunity system is stronger than ours is and they can resist more diseases than we can.

Malaria and dengue are indeed some scary diseases, which can be avoided if you avoid the rainy season and stay in good places.  Other diseases can be avoided if you drink packaged mineral water. It is good to be cautious, but not good to be scared. So come to India and experience this land of colours and cultural diversity.

You will find snakes only if you head near to the forests, or if you go to an unmaintained park or garden or maybe if you encounter a snake charmer on the street. India has some of the poisonous snakes of the world, but the snakes that you encounter in parks and gardens may not be poisonous at all. In fact, I have never seen a snake in India other than in the zoo and once in the park, it was small and scared and hid himself 🙂

10. All Indians are vegetarians

Again applying my first point here, you cannot generalize. There are as much non-vegetarians in India as vegetarians. I do not know the exact percentage, but eating chicken, fish and meat is now more common in India than ever before. Majority of the people in India do not prefer to eat beef, as cows are considered very revered. However, Indian vegetarian food is not boring as we think. It is not all about salads, Indian curries and vegetables can be made in such a way that we cannot even think. The food is very interesting here and can be very spicy for the foreigners, but worth trying it 🙂

Russian by roots, global citizen by choice. In love with India and Indian culture, love to report everything from politics to military news. Against the controlled media.

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Not Prioritizing Yourself Enough? Here’s How You Can Change It!

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In today’s society, there’s this push to promote self-care. While society five or maybe ten years ago would see the term “self-care” as something selfish, fortunately now, mental health has become a larger concern. While toxic positivity is being pushed out, and the whole “put yourself first” mantra is slowly beginning to reign supreme, there’s one question to ask. How exactly can one put themselves first? Also, how can these self-care changes even boost your well-being? These are some helpful ways to achieve that!

Understand Your Life Goals, Values, and Purpose

When it comes to putting yourself first, it’s important to begin by thinking of your life goals, your values, and what type of purpose you want in your life. While society once deemed people as “selfish” for even considering this, it’s your life, and you’re entitled to live your life the way you want it. Is one of your life goals to travel? Then that’s great! Keep aiming for it!

Identify Your Wants and Needs

Everyone has their own wants and needs, everyone does. What are yours? While it’s important to put other people’s wants and needs in front of your own (such as if you’re a parent), just keep in mind that you don’t have to do this all the time. So think about it, what are some small ways you can put your own wants and needs ahead without it jeopardizing anyone else. Maybe it can be something small such as getting more sleep, or maybe even something huge such as changing careers. It’s entirely up to you to decide.

Take Time to Get Your Headspace Right

A great way to get yourself into the right headspace is through the beauty of travel. This is actually one of the biggest ways that people are treating themselves and putting themselves first. Changing up your environment and your routine through the power of travel can be one of the very best ways to get yourself feeling recharged and just completely breaking away from what may be stressing you out. Whether you opt into a long vacation, weekend trip, or a day trip, just allow yourself the chance to breathe, take a break, and recharge.

Treat Yourself

There’s nothing wrong at all with treating yourself to things. Whether you’re wanting to gift yourself a nice car you shopped with through edmunds, a fun vacation, or anything else. There isn’t anything wrong with gifting things to yourself as long as you have the disposable income to do it and if it’s in moderation.

Opt-Out of Social Media That’s Not Good for You

Social media is a double-edged sword. It can be a great tool for connecting with people and staying in touch with friends and an extension of our personal brand. However, many people are finding that social media is not the best tool for their mental health and well-being. If possible, try to opt-out of social media if you feel it’s not good for you. And instead, try to spend more time in nature or offline activities like hanging out with family and friends.

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Building A Social Support System: An Essential Key To A Life Of Wellness

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Everybody needs somebody, even if you believe you thrive better as a lone wolf or prefer being antisocial. While having a support system around you will help you get through life, it also offers far-reaching health benefits. These include helping you deal with loneliness and even improving your chances to beat unhealthy addictions. A strong social system can also be very helpful when going through stressful times, battling chronic illnesses, etc. But how can you build a healthy social support system around you, and what does it entail? 

It’s important to first understand what a social support system is. It comprises friends, family, loved ones, and peers that you can call or rely on, especially in times of need to provide support, respect, and care. Having a support system around you can provide wisdom and guidance through tough times. It can also provide strength and hope with a generous supply of understanding and compassion.

Although research has shown that building a social support system can help you through the tough times, the last thing you want to do is try developing one only when you feel stressed and need assistance. Creating a social support system is something you should do when you’re not under stress or in need. This way, you don’t end up relying on the wrong people.

Start by making a list of those already in your life, including friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors. When you are done with this, go through your list and highlight or underline those who have been supportive in your life and how. Next, make it a point to contact these people to check on them and find out how they’re doing. However, it’s important to note that you can also include professionals in your support system. For instance, counselors, psychologists, teachers, coaches, and healthcare professionals who have assisted you in difficult times, whether in the classroom, the gym, or in treatment programs you’re undergoing or already went through. 

Creating a healthy social support system also requires you to identify the barriers that have prevented you from creating healthy and meaningful connections with people. For instance, are you antisocial? Are you dealing with depression, drug abuse, or alcohol addiction issues that make it impossible to keep loving people around you? Once you identify your roadblocks to healthy social connections, find ways of removing them. For example, if you’re addicted to drugs and alcohol, you can find help through inpatient treatment programs. 

Another great way to build a social support system is to explore and embrace shared interests. It is easier to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who understand your emotions and can empathize in ways that others may not. For example, parents of a child with special needs will find immense support from other parents who share the same or similar difficulties. A great way to build such connections is by joining groups, associations, or clubs that share your interests and ensuring that you maintain regular interaction with the members. 

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Top 10 Simple Health Changes To Boost Your Well-Being

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It does not matter how old you are, where you live, or what your occupation is, your health should always be a top priority. However, most of us are a little bit guilty of letting our well-being slide from time to time. With that being said, read on to discover some of the simple ways you can give your health a boost today.

  1. Get rid of at least one item in your life that contains toxic chemicals – You may be shocked by just how many items in your life contain toxic chemicals. This includes everything from air fresheners to bed sheets. Get rid of one of these items and replace it with something natural instead. This is something you should make a habit to do every few months or so. You will be surprised by just how much of a difference this can make. 
  2. Deep breathe for at least five minutes – Throughout the day, you should make sure you take the opportunity to deep breathe for at least five minutes. Why? Well, there have been numerous studies that have shown that deep breathing can help to lower stress hormone levels. This means that you will feel better, get an improved night’s sleep, and you will have less anxiety too.
  3. Drink more water – You probably expected this to be on the list, but the importance of drinking more water should never be ignored. Your body needs water for almost every function. If you are dehydrated, this could be the cause of headaches, pains, aches, and a number of other symptoms.
  4. Have one veggie night per week – A lot of people eat far too much meat, red meat especially. So, why not have a veggie night once a week? Not only is this good for your health, but it will be good for your bank balance too. There are so many great recipes online that can give you ideas regarding tasty and creative dishes that do not incorporate any sort of meat or fish. Once you start off with one night per week, you may then decide that you want to up it to two nights, and so on. However, it always helps to start off small so that it is easier and more manageable, and you can then get used to it.
  5. Sign up for an online pharmacy – Nowadays, you can easily order your prescriptions and medications over the Internet via an online pharmacy. This can help you to boost your health because it ensures you never experience delays with your medication. If you are someone who often doesn’t take their recommended course of tablets because you cannot get to the doctors in time for a repeat prescription, then this is definitely a good suggestion for you. Your medication will be delivered to your door with a click of a button.
  6. Make a dedicated effort to lower your stress levels – There is no denying that we live in a very stress-filled world at the moment! The world we live in is one that has heaps of pressure, and it can be difficult to stay on top of everything and keep those stress levels low. However, it is vital that you find a way to do so. After all, if you don’t adrenal fatigue and health can start to take a tumble, which is the last thing you want. For those who are unaware, adrenal fatigue relates to a group of different symptoms that impact people who are under a lot of physical, emotional, or mental stress. From being a single parent to having a stressful job, there are a lot of different reasons why you may be struggling. Therefore, we recommend that you look for different ways to reduce those stress levels so that you can enjoy a more calming and peaceful life. Whether it is doing some breathing techniques or taking more regular breaks so you can have moments for yourself, there are a lot of different ways that you can make sure you are keeping your stress levels to a minimum. The importance of this should not be overlooked, as stress can impact our mental and physical health in so many different ways. 
  7. Do something nice for someone every day – You will be surprised by how good this makes you feel, and by how much this has a positive impact on your health. It’s all about mental well being. When you do something nice for another person, you are benefitting their health, as well as your own. First and foremost, there is no denying that it feels good to hear some nice words for someone or to get a helping hand when you need it. You feel recognised and appreciated, and this is something we all need. At the same time, doing something nice for someone else and seeing their reaction can make you feel amazing too. After all, doing something good for someone is a gift for yourself at the same time. You will find that the deed continues throughout the day, making you feel great and happy within yourself. 
  8. Incorporate some movement into your commute – If you do not have an active job, this is particularly important. Sitting at a computer all day can be bad for your health. One way to combat this is by incorporating some movement into your commute. If you can walk or bike to work, you should give this a go. If not, start parking your car further away from your place of work so that you have to walk there and back. You should also start using the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you can.
  9. Start meal planning – You will find it much easier to eat healthily if you plan your meals. At the start of every week, make a menu of what you are going to cook for dinner every evening, as well as what you are going to make for your lunches every day. Not only will this help you to eat better, but you will save money too. Make sure you incorporate some healthy snacks into your food prep for work. This will stop you from going to the vending machine whenever you are bored or your energy is zapped. The great thing about the times we live in at the moment is that you can easily get recipes and meal prep inspiration online. So, if you are struggling, simply do a little bit of digging online and we are sure that you will find a lot of different options when it comes to meal ideas and clever food prep suggestions for the week ahead. Not only is this going to help you to be more organized, but you will find that it actually saves you quite a bit of money in the process. After all, when we do not have a food plan for the week ahead, we tend to spend a lot of money on items we do not need. Food can end up going in the bin because we do not use it. This ends up in an awful lot of waste, and we should all be looking to reduce this, so meal prep is great in many ways.
  10. Keep a journal – Last but not least, keeping a journal is good for a person’s mental health. You should write down your thoughts. It doesn’t need to be a long entry; you can simply jot down a few bullet points every evening. This will help you to articulate your thoughts so that they do not wear you down. After all, it can be very difficult to sleep if you have lots on your mind. A lot of experts advise this approach for people who suffer from insomnia. One of the main reasons why a lot of people struggle to get the hours of sleep they need is because they cannot shut off when they go to sleep; their minds are still going at a million miles per hour. They are thinking about what they need to do the following day and any worries or concerns that they may have. Because of this, it very much makes sense to keep a journal so you can offload some of these thoughts and worries and you can have a much more restful night of sleep. Once you get into the habit of doing this, you will see that it actually does make a significant difference when it comes to drifting off and enjoying a good night of rest. 

So there you have it: some of the best ways to give your health a boost. The suggestions that have been provided are really simple and easy, so there is no excuse not to give yourself a bit of TLC. we are sure that you will start to notice a difference as time goes on. However, as is the case with anything, it requires patience and persistence. You cannot expect to turn your health around in one night.

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