Privacy is overrated in India


What will you do when a (new) colleague asks you to come over for a drink in his house? In the Netherlands, my home country, it feels very welcoming to receive such kind of invitations. However, it could also feel a little awkward. Entering someone’s house, means that you enter someone’s secret world. It’s fun and usually very entertaining, but in some occasions, you could feel a bit reserved. It feels as if you walk through a museum, where it is not very common to touch things. The reason for that? We, the Dutch people, are a bit reserved. Our home is our castle and we like our privacy. I must admit it; I also like my privacy! Please don’t disturb me while I’m reading the newspaper, and please don’t visit my house without noticing upfront …..What a huge difference with India! In the subcontinent privacy doesn’t actually exist. And the funny thing is; the lack of privacy has nothing to do with education, caste or designation. If you’re a struggling labourer, you might have a small house with no privacy at all. Every member of the family sleeps, eats or studies in the same room. Unluckily there are no washrooms or showers in those houses. You need to share it with a lot of neighbours or – in less fortunate cases – must wash yourself in nature and visit the public restrooms (a piece of land that is in use as a ‘toilet’).  And if you can afford a larger house or even a bungalow? Than you will probably have a maid, a cook and in some cases even a driver and/or a gardener. If you do, it is very common that those people walk around in your house while you are at home. The result? The only privacy that you experience in your house are the 10 minutes you will be using your bathroom. When your are out of your house, you won’t find a lot of privacy either. With 1.3 billion people, it’s very logic to state that you will find people everywhere and -not surprisingly – that is true. Even in very remote areas, during very quiet hours, far away from the modern world? Even there you will find people and they tend to be closer to you than you will probably like. So if you want to come to India, for business or pleasure, please be prepared!

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