Guest Post: What I know about India

Posted: January 6, 2012 in People, Places
Tags: , , ,

This is a guest post by Dan, whom I met on twitter long before I moved to the UK.

A brief intro: He’s a Stoke City supporter (my interest in the gritty, little club is all his doing), a #properfootball fan (smaller the club, the better), a fellow test cricket lover (or #propercricket as he calls it – dying breed we are), lives in the Midlands and works in PR (I think).

About 6 months after I moved to London (more than an year ago), he wrote this blog post for me. I lost it immediately in the crazy mess that my inbox is, only to discover it recently while cleaning the Inbox in search of that elusive Inbox Zero goal I’d set myself for the week.

Now, that I’ve rediscovered it, and enjoyed a re-reading myself, here it is for all 2 of my readers to read and share. Starting with his intro:


A list of what I know about India. I eagerly await what you know about England : )

If facts about India were grains of sand on a beach my knowledge is the content of a sock after a brief stroll.

What I know about India

  • You woudn’t want to be an Indian cricketer if you lost to Pakistan.
  • Your parents would be planning your marriage before you were ten if you were a girl, a work colleague called Anuji assured me.
  • You wouldn’t want to be a regular commuter on the Bombay trains.
  • You wouldn’t want to say ‘Bombay’ to someone who knows it as Mumbai.
  • You wouldn’t want to be a blockage remover on the Bombay sewers. Or the Mumbai ones.
  • You wouldn’t want to be an Indian soldier at the cross border ceremony with a sore foot (there’s lots of stamping of feet.)
  • You’d love to see the sunset over the Gangees.
  • You’d love to drink Darjeeling in Darjeeling.
  • You’d love to while away a long train journey on an engine made in Stockton in 1883.
  • You’d be appaled at the squalor.
  • You wouldn’t want to sell goods on a train without a licence.
  • You wouldn’t want to hear my mate Steve from Northumberland tell the beggars to ‘go away’ when he was in India travelling.
  • You’d be in last chance saloon if you were an English lady who failed to find a husband on a visit to pre-war India.
  • You wouldn’t want to mess with a Sikh.
  • You wouldn’t want to mess with a Sikh with a gun.
  • You wouldn’t want to mess with a Sikh with or without a gun over the issue of the Amritsar massacre.
  • You’d be part of a vast army if you were an Indian graduate.
  • You’d have to learn about Eastenders if you worked in a calls centre.
  • You could have met my Grandpa who had just marched 1,000 miles through Burma if you were in Imphal in 1941.
  • You’d have to have been a crushing snob and mildly racist to have been an Englishman serving as a policeman in pre-Independence India.
  • You’d like to think if you were a Lancashire cotton worker you would have understood why Ghandi span his own cotton.
  • You’d be amazed at how few Stoke City fans there really are.
  • You’d be amazed at how good the curry is.
  • You’d be amazed that when English wicketkeeper toured India he took a suitcase of baked beans with him.
  • You’d love ‘Staying On’ by Paul Scott if you love India-set love stories about a couple who stayed on after Independence.
  • You’d love Bollywood films if you like dancing and singing.
  • You’d hate it if you didn’t like heat.
  • You’d love it if you’d like to experience different things.
  • You’d be amazed at the religions that stem from there.
  • You’d be amazed at how many soldiers fought for Britain in the last two wars.
  • You’d be ashamed if you knew how many were treated.
  • You wonder if it is the weather that brings Indians to Britain.
  • You’d be amazed at how Indians love cricket.
  • You’d be amazed at where Indians play cricket.
  • You’d wonder at how little I know of India and that what I know has come from books, cinema and telly.
  • And you’d not be surprised the furthest East I’ve been in the world is Switzerland.

P.S.: I’ve not shared his full name or linked to his profile because I’m not sure if he wants me to. Shall do so after checking with him :)

  1. […] Guest Post: What I know about India « raven writes…. by Dan Slee. […]

  2. […] on posts by Dan Slee and Phil Jewitt for week 2 of the Weekly Blog Club made me think about what I have done in the past […]

  3. […] Guest Post: What I know about India « raven writes…. by Dan Slee. […]

  4. […] Guest Post: What I know about India « raven writes…. by Dan Slee. […]

  5. ~j~ says:

    Enjoyed this post. I hope Dan gets an opportunity to visit our “fine country” sometime. :)

  6. somebody says:

    everybody is just being gracious to a foreigner when they say you’re spot on.
    this is nowhere near the mark but offers a good insight into your own psyche :)

  7. I bet there are Indians who doesn’t know as much about India.

  8. Sahil says:


    Spot on with most of the things. Loved reading them but just a couple of clarifications:

    1. The name of the river is Ganga (in Hindi) or Ganges (in English) not Gangees &

    2. Its Gandhi and not Ghandi.

    • Dan Slee says:


      That’s excellent. Thank you. I happily stand corrected on the spelling. Apologies for that. I was bottom of the class at spelling at school. I also have an English & History degree. This tells you much about the British educational system in the 1980s.

  9. Dan Slee says:


    I wrote that an absolute age ago. I’d really, really love to know that I’ve got the wrong end of the stick because I’d hate to think I have parts of your fine country nailed when I’ve never been there.

    I’m trying to think what drove me to write it. I think it was because you’d been in England for a short period and I’m quite intrigued as to what you made of it. At the time you were a bit reticent to be too forthcoming about England. I hope that’s changed.

    I also have a theory that many people outside England have an impression based on James Bond, old films and Austin Powers.

    Please accept my apologies if you are Indian and have read that. But I’d love to know what you think about

    • raven says:

      For someone who’s never been east of Switzerland, I’d say you’ve got our country nailed right to the spot ;)

      Of course, it isn’t an accurate representation, but then this isn’t Wikipedia. It’s a blog, with our opinions and our often half-baked knowledge. If I started to write with accuracy, I’ll have nothing to write about anymore :)

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