That India is a funny place, we all know by now!
No matter where you look or what you do around Incredible India, there is always some source of entertainment nearby. Could be the way things look, peculiar things people do or simply the contrasts between different traditions, tastes, senses of humor… For me, as someone coming from abroad, it’s a never ending source of amusement!
India has plenty of super funny things…
these are just some of them!
Restaurant signs are as hilarious as this:
Or even this:
And street food stalls couldn’t be any less:
Gotta love the Indian sense of humor!
A turban can replace a helmet!..
You read it right: according to the law in India, everyone should be wearing a helmet while riding a bike. But there is an exception based on religious grounds: Sikhs, who normally wear turbans, are exempt from this law. Sikhs are naturally as likely to have an accident as anyone else and, who the hell thinks that turbans are actually going to protect their head? One more example that religion and rationality aren’t always best friends.
Sikhs sure take their turbans seriously: I have a friend who swims in the sea with this turban on and I even read that Sikh soldiers have refused to wear helmets during wars!
Although Sikh ladies do not wear turbans, they do not wear helmets either: their religion forbids them to wear anything else on their heads rather than scarves. Once this is the case with women from this religion and no one is going to check, most women in India just skip helmets too!
May God protect their heads!..
There’s little “altars” in car dashboards
When you get something new in India, it’s common practice to have a pandit (Hindu priest) over to bless whatever it is you got: a house, a car… Placing figures of your favorite religious idols in the car dashboard is very common too. Popular choices range from deities such as Ganesha or gurus like Sai Baba.
And talking about religion…
There’s a temple dedicated to… wait for it… RATS!
I am not a religious person and this temple is certainly not going to change the way I feel about the powers from above any time soon. I wonder what pest control companies in Rajasthan think about this: isn’t this ruining their business?!
The influence of Saturn is f*cked up!
You might be familiar with the fact that, still now-a-days, a great portion of Indians find a life partner via an arranged marriage. Apart from using friends and family connections to find your other half, ads in newspapers (and now websites like Shadi.com) are very popular. I was reading the matrimonial section of the newspaper one fine day when I came to know about the much feared influence of Saturn. According to the Hindu horoscope, some people are born under the influence of Saturn, and this is one of the worst things that can happen to you when it comes to finding a suitable partner. That is why you’ll find specific sections in the newspaper’s matrimonial pages, aiming at pairing those poor individuals that, just as a result of bad luck, have Saturn messing up their lives:
On related news, digging more info about malefic Saturn, I came to learn that those under the influence of Saturn are way more prone to have leprosy! Talk about bad luck!..
At this point, all I can say is that I’d actually love to meet someone who’s [allegedly] under the influence of Saturn to understand how that has affected their life – you? anyone you know? anybody at all? Please leave a comment below!
Mobile phones are more important than toilets
When we went to Chennai last year, we were walking around and almost without realizing entered a slum kind of area. We continued walking regularly until I noticed that a group was looking at us with an intrigued look and, to my surprise, one of them was taking our video. These folks had no shoes and lived in houses made of cardboard and pieces of plastic. No house, no toilet and yet, not only they had a phone, it was a phone with camera! According to Wikipedia, 75% of Indians have a mobile phone. Yet only 35% have access to toilets. Talk about contrasts!
McDonalds has no beef burgers but KFC has curry!
I know that international fast-food chains adapt their offers to the local taste no matter where. Yet, it’s in India where I’ve seen those adaptations going as far as a famous burger joint not having beef burgers or the fried chicken at KFC having curry flavor! I find these totally funny!
People shake their head the same way to say YES, NO, MAYBE or SO-SO
If you ask a question to an Indian person, you’ve got a very good chance the answer comes accompanied by a sideways head shake. The first time I saw this I didn’t know if the answer was “yes”, “no” or “more or less”. Turns out, most times it means “yes”, but it can also mean “sure… if everything goes well”, or “let’s see” or “I’ll take care of it.. eventually”. It takes time to get used to it and appreciate the little nuances that will make you distinguish what an individual’s head shake could actually mean in a given situation. As a foreigner, feel proud of the day you can interpret an Indian head shake. When you do, you’re pretty much on the inside!
Indians invented the Kamasutra, yet sex is taboo!
Getting laid in India can be a tough job. I’m not speaking for myself, but I know that young people can’t just get together and make love if they feel like. There is so much segregation between sexes that sometimes I can’t help but wonder: wasn’t this the culture that wrote/draw the sexiest book of them all? What about all the naked bodies sculpted in temple’s facades? Where has it all gone?
Bollywood loves to do remakes of Western songs… and they are awesome!
Pop culture in India is amazing. Apart from movies, songs, dances and all the crazy celebrity worship, one thing stands out to me when it comes to Bollywood’s creations: the remakes of popular Western songs!
Here are some great examples… and I will leave you to it to recognize the original songs!
I’d like to see Fergie’s face watching Gori Thera Saravana by Silambarasan & Sunitha Sarathy:
And let’s end with this pearl… because I like saving the best for last!
Have you been to Incredible India?
What do you think is the funniest thing from India?
I’m not surprised at the curry version of KFC chicken. After all, Japan has has a lot of locally-adapted items on it’s KFC menus. As for beef, well, the Hindu population of India (that’s 85% of it) do not eat beef. And many of them will not eat at a restaurant if beef is on the menu, even if there are non-beef alternatives. Remember that whole ruckus about the Hindus who sued McD’s for using beef tallow to make their fries? I doubt McDonald’s, or any other restaurant chain in India, would get very far advertising themselves as a beef-friendly place.
As for the copying of Western music in “Bollywood”, your second and third example clips are technically not Bollywood, but regional South Indian films. The first is Bollywood, but fairly dated; for whatever plagiarism is done in composition today, the current trend is to look eastward and copy off East or Southeast Asian music. Bollywood film plot lines do, however, still get copied from Hollywood.
By the way, “Don’t Phunk with my Heart” sampled a lot of Indian music (although, to be fair, the Peas did acknowledge it).
And the Kama Sutra was intended to spice up sex between a man and his wife and/or concubines. In fact, most of it is not about sex per se, but about nuptial and domestic matters. In short, it is not intended as a guide for horny teens to roll in the hay. Not that I have a problem if horny teens do roll in the hay, but I would just like to correct the misconceptions that a) the Kama Sutra is just about sex, and b) sex guides are necessarily products of societies that are okay with “free love”.
The signs are pretty funny. Here in Dubai, they do the same thing with popular brand names (usually watches or cellphones) at small cafeterias.
Thanks for your comments.
I know a lot of the things above make sense, that they have a logical explanation behind them, it’s just that (at least for me as a foreigner) some of them are so funny! That’s all, no offense intended, just healthy fun.
About the Kamasutra, I never thought it was a “guide for horny teens to roll in the hay” but I have flipped the pages of many different editions of the book and, oh boy, they sure are explicit! It’s just a contrast, at least from my point of view, to see these in book stores on display, while women have to be covered up to a certain extent to be “respectable” right outside.
In Dubai, if you’re into “funny names”, you should totally visit Al Ijaza cafeteria in Jumeirah Road – they’ve got the coolest juice names! ;)
This post really made my laugh, thanks for that! I’ve never been to India, but I’ve heard about temples being built for rats :-). Rats!?!? That’s a big surprise. I seriously can’t stop laughing at WTF – wow, tasty, food – that’s the funniest restaurant sign of all time! :):)
Yes, temples for rats are a first.. but hey, this is just one temple, it’s not like temples in general are dedicated to rats. Just thought I’d made this clear! Rats are mentioned in some episodes of Hindu mythology, this is why they have their own temple in Rajasthan. But Indian people are not into rats outside the temple though..
WTF Restaurant is seriously funny, I know!! :D
I’m in the mood for some Vagina Tandoori tonight. :)
Honestly, what ever could they have confused that with?
I’m not sure if this restaurant’s name was actually a product of confusion of they just wanted to be edgy.. maybe they knew all the free publicity they’d get with this name. The restaurant owners might be way smarter than what we think!! :P
I really enjoyed the read! You can probably have a separate section on this blog dedicated solely to Indian street signs. Also, I have seen a special on that temple for rats – what a crazy thing! Are you guys interested in checking it out sometime in the future? I’m so curious about this place but don’t know if I could ever force myself inside. From what I’ve seen, visitors are supposed to take their shoes of out of respect for the rats…
True – a section dedicated to funny signs in India would be a blast! And there would always be plenty of new material to share I believe!!.. :P
Not sure if I’d like to check out the rat temple sometime.. I’d say yes, for curiosity, but a little bit from the distance perhaps. I’m not a fan of rodents. The fact that you have to take your shoes out is not for respect towards the rats as such.. you’re supposed to do that in any temple (many houses in Asia too, in fact).
India is very entertaining!! ;)
I’m loving this blog. India is one of the travel destinations I constantly dream about. I hope to go one day… and perhaps eat at Vagina Tandoori, LOL!
We hope your India travel dreams do come true one day soon and you get to enjoy Vagina Tandoori and many other wonders of Incredible India!! ;)
Everyday is an adventure in India, expect the unexpected 24/7, 365 days a year!!! thanks for sharing, will add these to my collection!!!
“expect the unexpected 24/7, 365 days a year” – this has to be one of the best descriptions of India I have come across in a while!! :D
hahahaha…..what a funny feature….. I Loved it!
Though I still can’t figure out which song ‘Pretty Woman’ (Movie: Kal ho na ho) was copied from?! I love Bollywood movies too :-)
The sign-boards were hilarious (good findings). I personally know quite a few Indian friends who shake their heads while speaking and its true that you can’t figure out if its a yes, no or maybe ;-) …..but I managed to learn with time – still 70% correct guess (not 100%).
You have to write a separate feature on this manglic and shani stuff, I want to find out more about this!
Lastly the ever famous (Indian Thriller – aka Goli Mar) was the best punch to end the article, can’t get better than that!
Best of luck guys!
Pretty Woman is from the Hollywood movie by the same name – it features Julia Roberts and it was very popular back in the 90s or so.
You can never be 100% correct about the Indian head-shake… but you can indeed learn. Sometimes I find myself shaking like a proper India… almost without realizing!
I am not a fan (or let’s say “believer”) of astrology in general, whether it’s the Hindu one or not. But I must say of the stories I read are astounding. Intimidating stuff even…
And yeah, Goli Maar rocks!!! :D
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Thanks for sharing such a lust content. I love your blog & I also to share with my friends.
Loved your thoughts on India