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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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Culture and Lifestyle

Where can you buy Argentinian products in the United States?

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For immigrants, the aromas and flavors of their countries of origin are something sacred, and they will always want to enjoy them in any situation. For Argentinnians in the United States, the best way to get closer to their roots is through Latinafy, a platform that has a wide variety of South American products that can be ordered from the comfort of your own home.

The United States is among the countries in the world with the largest number of immigrants (of many different nationalities), most of them coming from Latin American countries. According to the Census Bureau, in 2020 there were 31.7 million Hispanic Americans, representing 11.7% of the total population.

The fact that many Latinos live in the U.S. has generated an enormous growth of markets and sectors oriented to satisfy their needs. The idea behind them is to ensure that migrants can have the closest possible connection with their home countries.

When a person leaves their country of origin, they will always miss many things that they have had throughout their lives: their traditions, their usual environment, their acquaintances, but without a doubt one of the things that they will miss the most and that they will look for in the place they go to are the aromas and flavors of their homeland.

The immigration to the United States has been increasing in recent years,especially among Argentinians, in fact in the year 2020 it was known that it exceeded 292 thousand people. This has increased the demand of these immigrants to have access to their favorite products, and thus feel closer to their homeland at all times.

Products from Latin American countries, such as Argentina, are highly sought after around the world, however, they are not easy to find in any physical store, although they are available on digital platforms that are increasingly available for users in various countries, including the United States.

Latinafy, the ideal site

Among the ecommerce sites where you can find a wide variety of items from Argentina and other South American countries, the best and most complete is undoubtedly Latinafy, a place that brings together all those aromas and flavors that make Latin American culture unique.

The team that works on this platform do so with the great pride of showing authentic South American culture to the whole planet. 

It has a variety of product categories to choose from: Best Sellers, Combos, New!, Christmas and holidays, alfajores, books, cheeses, fresh cuts and sweets, traditional desserts, salamis, dulce de leche, candies, infusions, cookies, healthy snacks, alcoholic beverages, authentic leather shoes and jackets, board games, wholesale, pharmacy, mates and thermoses, coffee and tea, cell phone cases and much, much more.

The prestige that Latinafy has achieved is such that they are trusted by the main international manufacturers to represent their products. This is due to their integrity, honesty, reputation and reliability as suppliers, as well as the excellent service and attention they offer to both wholesalers and retailers.

Likewise, their team strives to provide the best products from abroad, constantly expanding, which results in a steady growth. They even offer the opportunity to bring foreign products that are not in their catalogs to your doorstep, just ask for them.

There is no minimum purchase with Latinafy and  the shipping is free on purchases over $45. Undoubtedly, there is no easier way to receive all these products that are so loved and longed for, now you can get them from anywhere and without leaving home.

Products that identify Argentinians

There are several foods and beverages that Argentinians identify with, products that they want to keep tasting even if they are living far away from their homeland, and that thanks to online stores like Latinafy, they can still enjoy without having to leave their homes.

One of the most popular products are the delicious alfajores, which, although not originally from Argentina but from the Arab culture, are widely consumed in the South American country, perhaps it is consumed there more than anywhere else in the world. In fact, according to the Asociación de Distribuidores de Golosinas, Galletitas y Afines, 6 million alfajores are sold every day.

The alfajores are two sweet dough tops with a filling in the middle. There is a wide variety available, being the most popular one the “chocolate con dulce de leche”. The most sought after are the white Guaymallén, Cachafaz, the triple chocolate Fantoche and the chocolate Jorgito.

Chocolates and chocolate bars are also in great demand by Argentinians spread around the world, being the traditional Biznikke cookie with snowy coating one of their favorite chocolates,  a candy that has been in the market for more than 60 years. Milka or Cadbury chocolates are also included.

As for chocolates, Argentinians will surely evoke their happy childhood years when tasting Georgalos or Arcor chocolates, as well as the traditional Jack de Felfort, which popularized chocolates with a surprise toy inside.

A product that Argentinians also love is dulce de leche, which is available in several brands such as Vauquita, La Serenísima, Chimbote, Havanna (which also produces alfajores), San Ignacio, Vacalín and more.

A drink that also identifies the gauchos is Yerba maté, a herb that is placed in hot water and consumed in a container known as a bombilla or mate. There is not a set time of the day to drink it, they drink it at any time, since more than considering it as just another random drink, it is a ritual for Argentinians, something to share with family, friends, or to enjoy alone.

Another very popular drink in Argentina is fernet, of Italian origin. It is a bitter liqueur of the amaro type, made from different herbs that are macerated with wine alcohol. It is then filtered and rests in oak barrels for between six and twelve months.

Overall, if you are looking to taste all the flavours Argentina has to offer from the USA, then we can not stop recommending you check out Latinafy, their big catalog will not disappoint you

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12 Travel Podcasts To Inspire Your Next Trip

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As the COVID-19 restrictions ease up, travel is on the cards again. If it’s been a while since you’ve thought about traveling, you might be glad of a little inspiration. These podcasts have plenty of traveling stories and tips to share. Whether you’re traveling solo or in a group, you’ll find lots of great ideas here.

1 . Active Travel Adventures 

ATA curates travel adventures for people who love to paddle, bike, hike and more. If you love exploring the planet in an adventurous way, this is the podcast for you. Active Travel Adventures want to inspire people to dream big when it comes to travel.

The podcast is hosted by Kit Parks who also curates the traveling trips. Here you’ll learn about everything from trekking Nepal, to hiking Machu Picchu, or rafting in Colorado. In recent episodes Kit talks about hiking the canyons of Sedona. Throughout the shows you’ll learn everything you need to know about exploring the USA by campervan, and Gorilla trekking in Uganda.

2. Extra Pack Of Peanuts

Extra Pack Of Peanuts is brought to you by Travis Sherry, a world traveler and entrepreneur. Throughout the shows you’ll learn all you need to know about traveling more, (without breaking the bank). Travis interviews plenty of famous travelers including Chris Christensen and Bruce Poon Tip. You’ll get tips on cheap hotels, budgeting and flyer miles. In a particularly interesting episode Travis chats to Mike Savas. Mike talks about his recent travels, ‘learning 12 skills in 12 countries in 12 months.’

3. Girls Talk Travel

In this awesome podcast, hosts Alice and Megsy bring you all you need to know about female travel. The show provides practical and inspirational info about traveling as a woman today. Each week they’re joined by guests who have been there, with plenty of motivational stories to tell. 

Girls Talk Travel dives into a range of different topics including ‘How to be assertive during your travels’ and ‘Kickass female travelers to follow’. You’ ll get traveling safety tips, and advice about adventure activities. The ‘Hometown Highlights’ feature invites female travelers to talk about their hometowns, explaining why other travelers should take a trip there.

4. Outdoorsy Diva 

The Outdoorsy Diva is hosted by Lauren G, a top travel blogger. Tune in for travel trends and interviews with travelers. Throughout these episodes you’ll get lots of advice about making your life more adventurous! Episodes cover a diverse range of themes including ‘swimming with manatees’, ‘a tour of Florida Springs’ and ‘empowering black women’. Lauren interviews Dr. Kim Walker, founder of the Abundant Life Adventure Club. Kim shares what inspired her to create the club, along with her plans for the future. Expect a freshly unique podcast, with plenty of wisdom to share.

5. The Thoughtful Travel Podcast

Amanda Kendle brings you an awesome travel show, packed with fun stories from travelers across the world. Explore topics like getting lost, meeting locals and learning languages. The Thoughtful Travel Podcast offers advice about planning a big trip, single parent travel and travel trends.

Here you’ll find plenty of useful advice to inspire your next trip. Check out themes like, ‘emotional travel’, ‘volunteering experiences’ , and ‘traveling for a sporting event’. If you’re a sports fan you might consider researching the best NFL stadiums when booking a trip.

6. Women Who Travel 

The Women Who Travel podcast is hosted by Meredith Carey and Lale Arikoglu, (both 

Condé Nast Traveler editors). WWT wants to inspire you to get out there and have a real adventure. Lake and Meredith discuss subjects like outdoor hiking gear, traveling in a van, solo travel and meaningful souvenirs. Check out episodes such as ‘what we wish we knew before moving abroad’, and ‘traveling post COVID-19.’ Learn about how traveling can help you to process grief, and the beauty of meeting new people. To ease your worries about traveling solo, Women Who Travel have got all the tips you’ll need.

7. Alpaca My Bags

Alpaca My Bags is a podcast about responsible tourism. Each week Erin Hynes and guests discuss what it means to be a responsible tourist. Erin explores plenty of different themes including authentic travel, travel privilege, sustainability and more. Throughout these shows you’ll get to learn unique perspectives, helping you to be mindful when you travel. Themes on the show have included, ‘colonialism and travel’, ‘is voluntourism ethical?’ and ‘the complexities of adventure travel.’

8. The Family Travel Podcast

The Family Travel Podcast helps families to plan their next trip. The idea is to show families that they don’t need a huge budget to plan the trip of a lifetime. Here you’ll find plenty of inspirational stories from families who are traveling the world. There are plenty of highlights, tips and hints, and more. You’ll get advice on home schooling, funding, destinations, documenting your travels, and lots more. There’s plenty to learn including preparing for family travel and using YouTube to fund your trip. Traveling full time with a family is possible, you just need to be prepared to get a little creative.

9. Wild Ideas Worth Living

If you love adventure and the outdoors, you’ll certainly love Shelby Stanger’s podcast. During these shows Shelby talks to travelers, entrepreneurs, athletes, and authors, about how they’ve made a ‘wild idea’ come to life. To inspire your next escapade, Wild Ideas is what you need. Tune in for a great interview with Angela Tucker, the creator of an epic wildlife documentary ‘The Trees Remember’. Throughout these shows you’ll get plenty of awesome ideas. If you’re looking to do more outdoor activities, Wild Ideas can show you how.

10. City Travel With Kids 

This show is brought to you by Keri Hedrick, Marianna Rogerson and Marta Correale. City Travel With Kids help families to plan their trips, with all the best advice. Learn about the best places to travel, dining recommendations, and managing your itinerary. Whether you want to take your kids to Melbourne, Singapore or Tokyo, you’ll get all the recommendations you need. Get great advice on ‘family travel products’, and ‘flying with babies and toddlers’. Many families worry about traveling with children, but with this podcast, you’ll keep your trip stress free!

11. The Indie Travel Podcast

Craig and Linda Martin are the globe hopping pair behind the Indie Travel podcast. The couple started traveling full time in 2006. Check out the tips and stories, to motivate yourself and get planning. The Indie Travel Podcast offers plenty of ‘how-to’ guides. Learn about budget travel in Auckland, or how to travel with kids. There’s advice about road trips, long flights, and plenty of interviews with fellow travelers. Whether you’re traveling as a family or traveling alone, the Indie Travel Podcast has plenty of wisdom to share. 

12. Between The Mountains 

This is a show for all the explorers, hikers and kayakers. Each week Chris Kilworth interviews traveler guests, with a range of epic stories to share. Here are stories of mountain climbs, forest treks, extreme sports and more. These stories will inspire you toward a different kind of traveling experience. Between The Mountains will give you lots of amazing ideas for your next trip. Expect plenty of entertainment and laughs along the way.

Planning a traveling trip takes a lot of preparation. From choosing your destinations and itinerary to booking your transport and accommodation. Some people like to get super organized, while others like to have a bit of more of a relaxed itinerary. Wherever you are on the scale, don’t forget to check out a few of these handy podcasts.

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Common Places To Seek Motivation and Inspiration

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As a social species, we humans thrive on interacting and learning from others. When there are problems to be solved, we can pool together our experiences to find out the right solutions. That’s kind of the basis of how humans have come so far–because we’re an intelligent species that understands the importance of cooperation.

But there’s another reason why we humans like to socialise and learn about one another; because it can help give us direction in life. When we’re struggling to overcome a plateau or need inspiration for something, we can typically look at what other people have achieved, what they’re doing, and also what they could become.

So here are some of the most common places to look if you’re lacking motivation or want to seek out something inspirational to help push your life forward.

Seeking out inspirational figures and learning about them

A surprisingly inspirational and valuable resource that is available to everyone is Wikipedia. We can search up almost anyone and find out plenty of information about them, what their life was like, where they came from, and how they rose to success. We can learn about entrepreneurs that we want to mimic, we can learn from famous people in our field, or we can even learn from influential figures.

But it doesn’t always have to be someone extremely famous. We can also look at people such as Mitch Vanhille, a successful athlete that understands the power of inspiration and shares their journey for others to learn from. Similarly, we can learn from YouTube videos that discuss interesting or difficult topics.

Wherever we look, there is someone out there that could inspire us and give us the motivation we need to break our limitations and reach new heights. We just need to drop any pride that we have and start looking up to other figures.

Understanding a different way of life

Another great way to inspire yourself is to look at another worldview. For example, the process of understanding different cultures can help you embrace a unique way of life. You don’t need to adopt it yourself, but understanding their motivations, what inspires them, and also what compels them can be an amazing way to learn about humans and their actions.

There are so many different ways to approach life that it can really be eye-opening to see how other people plan to make their journey through life. Some people might be hyper-focused on reaching their goals, while others might have a more laid-back approach. Whatever your reasons or motivations, these are both extremely valid ways to tackle life’s challenges.

So whatever struggles you encounter, it’s important to reach out and learn from other people. After all, we’re a social species and we tend to learn more when we start engaging others, interacting with them, and just talking about things. So if you ever need some motivation in the future, we hope these tips can help you overcome life’s challenges and get you back on the right track to your own definition of success.

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