When a person visits India you should experience that many people are very nice and hospitable if you are traveling the non-touristy areas. At first you may experience their hospitality as genuine, however, here in India and all over the world, most people are concerned about themselves.
India is a shame based culture. Everyone is following the norm. Most get married and have kids, most dress similar—this country is of followers. The majority cannot say “NO” to the individual when they don’t know the correct answer, yet their body language that relates to their facial features and their eye movement will dictate to the onlooker if they are “Saving Face”. Multiple occasions I have had to tell the person sternly that saying “I don’t know” is OK.
The hospitality here in India is severally backwards. Keep in mind the host is not aware of their programmed cultural dynamics. Considering that India is a shame based culture and is severely programed, the host will strive to get the guest to accept their offer of food or drink. The host will experience shame, humiliation, embarrassment, and feel dishonored if the guest refuses their offered food, drink, and the amount of food served.
The host is not concerned about honoring the guest, if that is the concern, why would they always strive to overfeed the person that is unhealthy? Many cultures are similar. I experienced a similar dynamic in Bulgaria—the host always wanted me to overeat, except for my best friends. Subconsciously the host wants to feel better than the guest, and the way to accomplish this is to make the guest overeat to the point of feeling like an obese slob.
Within the Indian culture the shame and false pride is deep seated. Saying NO to their offer automatically spawns major negative emotions within their emotional reality that directly relates to their low self-consciousness. Refusing foods can lead the host into feeling awkward and the end result is wounded pride.
Since Indian food is overly acidy and gout inducing it is better if I decline invitations here in India. They also have a problem with that notion.
My Style of Hospitality:
If I am your host for dinner you may eat as much or little as you wish. If there is something you don’t like, no big deal, everyone has different tastes. I will never push food upon someone or try to get them to overeat. I believe in, and support Free Choice, which is a universal law.
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Thanks for writing from the heart, explaining how you feel or see the culture of India.
India is a wonderful country, however best to leave after you are full, then return when you have forgotten certain aspects. I personally can only handle India for about three months, after that and I start to want to club them on the head.
Hey Andy, well the only reason I lasted this long is because of the place I am staying at. I have my own floor below the family which is very comfortable and the family is respectful. But the stupidity of India and Varanasi gets under my skin, all their actions are based on their cultural shame.