11 Habits You Pick Up Living In India

Travelers are likely to pick up some habits that India practices daily | © Miraage Clicks / flickr
Travelers are likely to pick up some habits that India practices daily | © Miraage Clicks / flickr
Photo of Aditi Mukherjee
2 November 2017

The spectrum of traditions and culture in India is wide and some habits practiced here are unique to the country. Aspects could warm your heart, baffle you or just make you laugh! Here are 11 habits you might pick up when living in India.

Eating with hands

In India, people generally use their hands to eat meals or anything. Indian food is not exactly designed to be eaten with a spoon and fork and cutlery is reserved for times when people visit restaurants.

Indians generally eat with their hands | © jackiembarr / Flickr

Bargaining at street markets

Street markets in India are not all licensed or systemized, so the prices are decided by the seller! At every street market you will see people negotiating with the sellers on cost. Some markets are notorious for the money they quote and a well-versed shopper would bring the price down by half or less!

You will learn soon enough to not buy anything from the street without bargaining | © GPS / Flickr

Addressing men on the streets as ‘bhaiya’

‘Bhaiya’ means brother and Indians use it to address any man who is not related to you. You could address restaurant staff by that name, your driver, a shopkeeper or just about anyone! Some even use ‘boss’ to address men in public. For women, it varies from didi (sister) to aunty, depending on her age.

Any man can be addressed as ‘bhaiya’ | © Peter Hershey / Unsplash

Wearing colours and eating colourful food

Indians love colour in their food, clothes, home décor, everything! So, staying long enough here will get you used to the pretty colourful silks, georgettes and traditional handlooms. The food in India is layered with spices and curries are, especially, very colourful.

Indians don’t really believe in minimalism when it comes to colours | © Aravind Kumar / Unsplash

Leaving footwear outside Hindu temples

In India, religion has a significant place and a sensitive one. There are Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis, Jews living in the country and their places of worship have different rules. Temples are aplenty in the country. The first rule to enter the Hindu place of worship is to leave footwear outside. It is a sign of respect to the Gods.

Different places of worship have different rules | © Connie / Flickr

Drinking tea from clay cups

Tea is often enjoyed in clay or terracotta cups in India and the way Indian tea is made, with milk and ginger and many other spices, it tastes really good in a clay cup. So, if you stay here for a while, it’s likely that you are going to get into this habit.

It’s a countryside tradition of drinking tea in clay cups | © Ovsyannykov / Unsplash

Crossing roads during heavy traffic

Well, vehicles and pedestrians have a love-hate relationship in India and the basic rule both apply is ‘we won’t stop for you’. Traffic signals are adhered to, but it isn’t common practice for people to wait until the red signal which allows pedestrians to cross roads. People cross whenever they want to, even on National Highways!

Indians don’t wait for the traffic signal lights to walk on roads | © Ryan / Flickr

Attending week-long weddings

Weddings in India are grand, huge affairs. Rituals and ceremonies start from a week or five days before the wedding. While you might think that is crazy and super-hectic, Indians look forward to these occasions; to dance, party and flaunt all their bling.

Indian weddings are at least five days long | © Dinesh Cyanam / Wikicommons

Taking bumpy rickshaw rides

Rickshaws are three-wheeler public transport vehicles in India. They’re also called tuk-tuk in some parts of the country. They’re open on two sides and small, but big enough to comfortably fit three passengers. These open metal containers are light and don’t pass smoothly over potholes, of which there are plenty on Indian roads!

Spend some time in India and you will learn to love rickshaw rides | © Ovsyannykov / Unsplash

Altering your sense of space

The Indian ‘space’ concept is a deviation from the usual sense. Do not be alarmed if people elbow and push you on local trains and buses or play extremely loud music to celebrate something. Or someone you recently met could ask you very intimate questions!

Your sense of space is bound to change after visiting India | © Batul Mukhtiar / Flickr

Eating roadside food often

Indians are big fans of roadside snack food and there are loads of them all over the country. What you will get on the streets might differ from place to place but if you are traveling the country, you are bound to get into the habit of indulging in some street-side delicacies like chaat, momos, dosas, kebabs, corn and so much more.

Heaps of kebab on roadside food stalls are common in India | © saurabh sharan / Flickr

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