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Walking In India

One of the great disservices that the British did to us Indians, was to hand down their dress code. Modern business dress sense is also driven by the whole concept of suits and ties and all other sorts of wear that is extremely unsuited to the Indian climate in general.

When I have travelled to Europe or the USA, I walked briskly, the way the Americans and Europeans do. A wise German in Singapore once told me, "Walk Slowwwwllllly. Walk verrrry, verrrrry slowly".

Now, many Europeans and Americans (henceforth called Europeans) come to India and march as though they are back home, and expect us Indians to do the same. Some of them sneer at our gentler gait. By the time they have spent a few years here, they look relatively Indian. Some of them even behave the same as we do.

In the hills of India, you can walk rather briskly after you take account of the undulating nature of the terrain.

In the plains, we do have varying climatic zones. In general, we don't have pedestrian space, and the little that is available is hogged by street vendors and two-wheelers trying to get by. So, while the street vendors make for pretty pictures, start with the premise that walking comes with perils.

You are also likely to get your face blasted by truck smoke.

Now, let's come down to the serious business of climate zones. In the North, we have hot (scorching hot) summers that are dry, and cool/cold and dry winters. In summer, don't walk in the mid day sun unless you intend to join the list of roasted meats that are on display. It is hot even in the evenings, so don't even try running until after 7 pm.

Winters are much better, but Delhi can get pretty foggy in January. You may not see the man in front of you.

During the summers in pretty much a large part of the country, you will run into hot and humid weather. Of course, in Chennai and Kerala, they have three seasons – hot, hotter, hottest.

So if you walk fast, you will be reduced to a puddle of sweat. Now, if you wear thick jeans, then they will stick to your legs and itch the hell out of you. Light trousers, shorts, light shirts are the order of the day!

Remember, do in Rome as Romans do.

Ergo, in India, walk as Indians do.

Do not copy The Bangles, and 'walk like an Egyptian' either!



Profile photo of Rajiv Chopra

I have been in the corporate world all my life, and have decided to take a sabbatical from this world. I am now a budding entrepreneur in my old age. This is wonderful because, apart from giving me the freedom to paint my own canvas, and to choose the canvas, it also gives me the time to do some of the things that I really like to do. These are, to travel, to photograph and to write. I still use a Nikon D 200. I started with B&W film, and this is something that I still love. The things that I am really grateful to the corporate world are, that I got the chance to travel the world, and meet lots of very interesting people. I have, over the years, become very interested in history, physics, culture,conservation, the environment and street food! I love landscapes, street photography, people, macro photography, geometrical shapes

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