One of the First things traveller are likely to observe about india is how everyday life is intertwined with the spiritual: from the housewife who devoutly performs puja each morning at a tiny shrine set up in a corner of the home,to the shopkeeper who regardless of how many eager to buy tourists may have piled into premises-never commences business until blessing are sought from the god.
Along with the religion,family is at the core of indian society.for the vast majority of indians the idea of being unmarried and without children by one's mid 30 is inconceivable.despite the growing number of nuclear families the extended family remains a cornerstone in both urban and rural india with males-usually the breadwinners-generally considered the head of the household.
with religion and family being so highly revered,dont be surprised if you are constantly grilled about these subjects and recieve curious looks if you do not fit into the mould.the first question you are likely to be asked is which country you are from.this can often be followed by questions on subjects that may be considered somewhat inappropriate in the west,especially coming from a complete stranger apart from religion and marital status,frequently asked question include age,proffession and possibly even income..such question are not intended to offend and its also perfectly acceptable for you to ask the same question back.
national pride has always existed on the subcontinent but has been a surge in recent years as india attracts increasing international kudos in the fields of IT,literature and Films. and then,of course,there its ever developing nuclear programme,which although veentury hementaly condemend by someone,is widely embraced as a potent symbol of india pride-especially evident when relations with neighbouring pakistan become prickly.
in 21st Century india the juxtaposition of time honoured and new age flies in the face of common stereotypes about the country sure you will find tandoori chicken and women wearing colouful saris but these days your chicken could well come atop a cheesy wood fired pizza,and that demure looking,sari clad lady you pass on the street could be chatting about last night's episode of sex and the city on a flashy mobile phone that leaves yours for dead.