New Years dance party in India.

Happy New Years

New Years celebration complete with dancing, fireworks, and food

Happy New Year! I cannot think of a better way to ring in 2008 than by celebrating in India. At home I would still have to wait another 12 hours for the clock to strike midnight.

Our outing to the five star, Americanized hotel was very interesting. Never in my life have I been served that much food in one sitting. It was all so delicious, well, except for this thick beverage called rose milk. Yuck. By ordering non-vegetarian, I did not realize I would basically be eating every possible meat known to man. Dinner was complete with a magician and contests. My table won a clock. Let me clarify really quickly that the clock was broken.

Outside by the pool there was a little lighted dance floor and crazy, loud, techno music. Lots of old Indian men were packed onto the 8x8 foot dance floor showing off with some pretty amusing dance moves.

At midnight there was confetti and small fireworks. Immediately after midnight, there was a mass exodus. The entire place cleared out in what seemed like 30 seconds flat. This entire night of fun only cost a grand total of 2810 Rupees, or about $25. It is so funny to pay with this exchange rate.

We boarded our bus, which was appropriately decorated with jewels and stickers, braved traffic, and dragged ourselves to bed only to brush our teeth by candle light since the power was out. Apparently, power outages are pretty much a weekly occurance.

It was interesting to see the Indian perception of American culture. I think they expect us all to be exactly what they see on TV, probably not always a good thing. It is sad that we allow ourselves to be so stereotyped by other cultures by accepting and conforming to the norms. When you honestly think about it though, we all stereotype. Not only each other, but especially those not like us. Sad. This really prevents us from learning from others and gaining everything we can through cultural exchange. An open mind allows so much more room for growth.

Barbara Koehl

University of St. Thomas

St. Paul, MN 55105

Links checked Dec. 12, 2009

Copyright © 2009 Barbara Koehl