Saz Abroad - Episode 3: Incredible India

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Saz Abroad - Episode 3: Incredible India

Postby Saz » Fri Aug 14, 2015 7:38 am

So I’m just finishing up a two-week trip around INDIA. First thing I realized is that India is a massive and diverse country, and you can’t properly get a feeling for the country in a short two-week trip. I visited Mumbai, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, which were unique in their own way and still radically different from the south or far north of the country.

Landed in Mumbai (Bombay) late at night and stayed in a Marriott. First thing the next morning spent several hours touring the city and getting a feel for the sites. After that I went on a Bollywood studios tour, and luck stuck as Shah Rukh Kahn was filming. Didn’t personally meet him but got to see him shooting a scene for a new upcoming movie. Apparently Bollywood is much like Hollywood and has essentially two tracks, the commercial and the indie film. But the indie films are getting more and more popular as production values rise and they tackle more meaningful topics. I highly recommend watching movies such as PK (Religion), Gabbar (Corruption) or Three Idiots (School System).

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After the Bollywood tour I went and spent a few hours in the slums of Dharavi. Shitlibs call this poverty tourism but almost all of the tour groups are actually non profits, they have a arm that does tours and the revenues go to hospitals, community centers and schools in the slums. Slums are about what you would expect and some of the conditions were truly horrid, but I was actually impressed by the progress they have made. Almost all of the slum had access to electricity and running water, and contrary to popular belief, there were entire industries thriving within it. Sadly, about half of these industries were extremely toxic (aluminum recycling, leather production) and it was pretty clear the workers there were basically in a suicide pact, where they knew they wouldn’t live past 50 but the money allowed them to provide food and education for their families in the rural parts. Mumbai has money, but the slums don’t, and it was pretty sick to be able to stand on the edges of the slum and see the 2 billion dollar 27-story mansion (most expensive home ever) in southern mumbai. I didn't really take many pictures of the slums or the crushing poverty in other parts of the country. Seems f**k up to invade and document people's lives like that, so I'll just say the pictures and my descriptions really can't do it justice.

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I rode the trains there and it’s a cluster f**k at rush hour. It was so crowded I wondered how it was safe, and I got my answer when some guy riding in the door ended up being pushed out of the moving train. No idea what happened to him or if he was okay.

After Mumbai I went to Delhi. Did the typical tourist stuff and went out partying both nights. India has a lot of downsides, but it also has no rules. My second night there was one of the most intense nights of partying I’ve ever had. Got to DJ one song with a f**k gas mask on and later a guy we knew took a bat to some guy (and his car) who was groping his girlfriend. Everyone drinks and drives, and while im not a nanny who whines about such things usually, it’s definitely a problem when hundreds of people are doing it.

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Went out to Uttar Pradesh and visited a friend, then off to Agra for the Taj Mahal. Have to say this was the worst place I visited. In the city you see some crushing poverty but it seems like everyone at least gets a full meal a day. Not in UP, there were the malnourished kids with flies and even the people who drove tuk tuks or ran food stalls around the Taj would casually mention they go a day or two without eating anything. Again, shocking to see the disparity between the nicer parts of Mumbai/Delhi where you see Lambos and Gucci purses and then UP, where people were genuinely malnourished and going hungry. It hasn’t helped that the Monsoons came late to India this year, and so a lot of the rural farmers were in a tough position.

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After UP I visited Punjab, which was the complete opposite and the nicest part of the country I saw. The roads were fully paved, there wasn’t much trash in the street, and you could tell things were going decently economically because this was the one part of the country where people didn’t really try to rip us off all the time. I saw the Golden Temple, the holy site of the Sikhs, and it was incredible. Sikhs are seriously badass and I have mad respect for my Sikh brothers after visiting the temple and learning their history. If you have time, read up on what happened with Indira Gandhi and the Sikhs in 1984.

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After that, I took Jimmyz advice and headed to the border with Pakistan. Again, an incredible show as the Pakistani Rangers and the Indian Border Security Force put on quite a show with the lowering of the flags in the evening. It was like a sporting event, everyone cheered and there was a dance party at the beginning. Tons of moustaches, tons of high kicks, and tons of security. I stood up to take a picture and some guy yells at me, I turn and look at I’m facing down the barrel of this sniper rifle pointed right at Pakistan.

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I did some other stuff too but my general impression is that this is a massive, diverse and extremely interesting country. I was shocked by how seriously they take terrorism. It’s twice as bad in the US and security here is significantly tighter. Every hotel, metro, flight etc has armed security and unlike the TSA, they really search your shit when you go through. Sadly, the country is also terrible managed. I haven’t seen a country with more wasted potential than India, and after watching the nightly news about the GST tax debate, it’s clear the country is f**k. Their democracy works about as well as ours, except the country is extremely poor and has a billion people.

I wasn't planning on returning but upon seeing how large and diverse the country is, I haven't seen half of it yet and I will have to come back. Kerela in the south, Kashmir in the north, and if I'm feeling bold and it’s not the rainy season, West Bengal. I would encourage everyone to visit at least once, you are missing out on a huge slice of humanity without seeing India.
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Re: Saz Abroad - Episode 3: Incredible India

Postby eynon81 » Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:29 am

Saz wrote:Mumbai has money, but the slums don’t, and it was pretty sick to be able to stand on the edges of the slum and see the 2 billion dollar 27-story mansion (most expensive home ever) in southern mumbai.


wait what? (googles)

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OMG it's not even nice! The rich are so tasteless.
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Re: Saz Abroad - Episode 3: Incredible India

Postby Saz » Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:35 am

It uses more electricity than all of Dharavi (a slum of ~1 million) and has 600 full time servants to tend to the house. One man lives there (part time) with his family. It's pretty disgusting. The guy who owns it runs Reliance industries, a huge indian conglomerate. Apparently the guy who owns TATA, the other famous indian conglomerate, is the exact opposite. Live in a 2 bed apartment pretty much.

The elite class of india was really unimpressive to me. Shocked me how callous they could be towards their own countrymen, but I guess that's partially the product of living cram packed with another 1 billion people. Even then, they still casually littered in cities already bursting with trash on the street. They acted pushy and without manners. And they really had a thing of ostentatious displays of wealth, which is trashy when you are from Jersey but seems downright immoral when you have millions of countrymen struggling to eat. Hard to blame poor desperate uneducated people, but the wealthy and educated indians really should know better and yet they seem to just not care.
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Re: Saz Abroad - Episode 3: Incredible India

Postby micfranklin » Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:41 am

Looks f**k awesome from here. It's on my list of places to visit.
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Re: Saz Abroad - Episode 3: Incredible India

Postby NAB » Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:42 am

Saz wrote:It uses more electricity than all of Dharavi (a slum of ~1 million) and has 600 full time servants to tend to the house. One man lives there (part time) with his family. It's pretty disgusting. The guy who owns it runs Reliance industries, a huge indian conglomerate. Apparently the guy who owns TATA, the other famous indian conglomerate, is the exact opposite. Live in a 2 bed apartment pretty much.

The elite class of india was really unimpressive to me. Shocked me how callous they could be towards their own countrymen, but I guess that's partially the product of living cram packed with another 1 billion people. Even then, they still casually littered in cities already bursting with trash on the street. They acted pushy and without manners. And they really had a thing of ostentatious displays of wealth, which is trashy when you are from Jersey but seems downright immoral when you have millions of countrymen struggling to eat. Hard to blame poor desperate uneducated people, but the wealthy and educated indians really should know better and yet they seem to just not care.


I'm no expert on India (only been once), but I think their caste system has a lot to do with the blatant disrespect the wealthy show towards their "lessers". They truly see them as subhuman, not deserving any consideration.
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Re: Saz Abroad - Episode 3: Incredible India

Postby eynon81 » Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:42 am

Saz wrote:It uses more electricity than all of Dharavi (a slum of ~1 million) and has 600 full time servants to tend to the house. One man lives there (part time) with his family. It's pretty disgusting. The guy who owns it runs Reliance industries, a huge indian conglomerate. Apparently the guy who owns TATA, the other famous indian conglomerate, is the exact opposite. Live in a 2 bed apartment pretty much.

The elite class of india was really unimpressive to me. Shocked me how callous they could be towards their own countrymen, but I guess that's partially the product of living cram packed with another 1 billion people. Even then, they still casually littered in cities already bursting with trash on the street. They acted pushy and without manners. And they really had a thing of ostentatious displays of wealth, which is trashy when you are from Jersey but seems downright immoral when you have millions of countrymen struggling to eat. Hard to blame poor desperate uneducated people, but the wealthy and educated indians really should know better and yet they seem to just not care.


saw some pretty similar stuff living in China, although not quite as extreme. I've heard about the TATA guy, figured he was the inspiration for that character in the new Jurassic Park.

as for the Indian elite class, yeah they suck. Their suck was a big reason a couple thousand drunk British B-teamers could (over the course of 150 years) take over the whole country.
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Re: Saz Abroad - Episode 3: Incredible India

Postby eynon81 » Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:44 am

NAB wrote:
Saz wrote:It uses more electricity than all of Dharavi (a slum of ~1 million) and has 600 full time servants to tend to the house. One man lives there (part time) with his family. It's pretty disgusting. The guy who owns it runs Reliance industries, a huge indian conglomerate. Apparently the guy who owns TATA, the other famous indian conglomerate, is the exact opposite. Live in a 2 bed apartment pretty much.

The elite class of india was really unimpressive to me. Shocked me how callous they could be towards their own countrymen, but I guess that's partially the product of living cram packed with another 1 billion people. Even then, they still casually littered in cities already bursting with trash on the street. They acted pushy and without manners. And they really had a thing of ostentatious displays of wealth, which is trashy when you are from Jersey but seems downright immoral when you have millions of countrymen struggling to eat. Hard to blame poor desperate uneducated people, but the wealthy and educated indians really should know better and yet they seem to just not care.


I'm no expert on India (only been once), but I think their caste system has a lot to do with the blatant disrespect the wealthy show towards their "lessers". They truly see them as subhuman, not deserving any consideration.



pffff.....those muther f**k need mohammed.
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Re: Saz Abroad - Episode 3: Incredible India

Postby eynon81 » Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:46 am

micfranklin wrote:Looks f**k awesome from here. It's on my list of places to visit.



Darjeeling is on my bucket-list, meet some Lamas, drink some tea.
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Re: Saz Abroad - Episode 3: Incredible India

Postby Saz » Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:48 am

ANother thing I forgot to mention is the population. Holy shit, I'm no mathusian but India really must do something about it. First of all, the country, and Mumbai in particular, was a huge sausage fest. It's all guys everywhere you see, partially as a result of the sex selection and partially because women are still expected to stay at the home and raise kids. India is very weird in that institutionally, it seems to be a very equal country. You see women police, women soldiers (two very sexy ones were guarding the indo-pak border), and women in high levels of government...but the average woman is still very much subjected to the whims of her husband and a very patriarchal society.

Because the population is so large, labor is basically free. It's actually worse than that, you can tell that half the economy is simply geared toward providing jobs, any job, for the masses of people. My hotel had a guy cutting the grass by hand with shears. Why get a lawnmower? The labor is cheap and why employ one person when you can employ two. Restaurants would be staffed with 20+ servers, security checkpoints with 5+ guards, and every middle class and above home seemed to have a house boy/girl, who essentially lived there for free and did all the work for the family. It's a pretty interesting case study in how to employ a billion person population that is rapidly growing, without having a serious manufacturing base. Everything goes into services. I think it's part of the reason indians are such pushy and shitty people to each other. When you have a guy around every corner ready to wipe your ass or shine your shoes, it becomes much harder to really take their humanity into account. We look at each other as human being each with interesting and unique lives, ambitions, hope and dreams...but you cant really do that in a place as populated and poor as india. It would be overwhelming.
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Re: Saz Abroad - Episode 3: Incredible India

Postby Saz » Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:52 am

eynon81 wrote:
NAB wrote:
Saz wrote:It uses more electricity than all of Dharavi (a slum of ~1 million) and has 600 full time servants to tend to the house. One man lives there (part time) with his family. It's pretty disgusting. The guy who owns it runs Reliance industries, a huge indian conglomerate. Apparently the guy who owns TATA, the other famous indian conglomerate, is the exact opposite. Live in a 2 bed apartment pretty much.

The elite class of india was really unimpressive to me. Shocked me how callous they could be towards their own countrymen, but I guess that's partially the product of living cram packed with another 1 billion people. Even then, they still casually littered in cities already bursting with trash on the street. They acted pushy and without manners. And they really had a thing of ostentatious displays of wealth, which is trashy when you are from Jersey but seems downright immoral when you have millions of countrymen struggling to eat. Hard to blame poor desperate uneducated people, but the wealthy and educated indians really should know better and yet they seem to just not care.


I'm no expert on India (only been once), but I think their caste system has a lot to do with the blatant disrespect the wealthy show towards their "lessers". They truly see them as subhuman, not deserving any consideration.



pffff.....those muther f**k need mohammed.


There is a shocking amount of Muslims in India. It's by and large a Hindu nation but still, when working on an Indian scale, 150+ million muslims is nothing to slouch at. Relations generally seem pretty great though, although people will tell you it was awful not that long ago in the past. Dharavi was segregated by religion and while our guide (hindu) said everyone gets along for the most part, intermarriage is still completely off the table. Can't stress enough how diverse the country is though. Punjab was at least half muslim, with the rest being Sikh and Hindu etc. Whereas UP was almost entirely Hindu.

I completely see what people mean now when they compare india to Europe. Everyone is "Indian" in the sense that they are brown and from the subcontinent, in the same way Europeans are "white" and from Europe. But the differences in terms of religion, culture, food, language etc is on par with Europe. I basically visited London, Paris, Bavaria and Tuscany, and said I visited "Europe". I got a good sense of the country but you can't just visit 4 places and say you have seen india, in the same way you couldn't do that in Europe.
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