I’m always proud and optimistic when I share insights about my life back home. My very progressive hometown (Netherlands) has acquired a famous position; its the first country in the world to launch a bunch of modern policies. Firstly, we were the first country in the world to legalize gay marriages. I have been to quite a number of gay marriages and it is accepted by a large part of the population. Next is our view on soft-drugs. We have legalized these and regulated shops with a permission to sell without any problems. It is seen as a successful policy, as it keeps people away from hard drugs. The last thing is our view on euthanasia. Doctors who assist in euthanasia – unless they follow very strict and modern policies – are seen as very respectful and compassionate individuals. So our country is a progressive’s heaven? You could think that we are also very open as human beings. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. In fact, we are very cold and will be kicked out in the first round if we were to compete in a country hospitality contest. Where guests are treated as gods in India, we tend to treat the people in our homes with less compassion and warmth. Although there are some exceptions, but unplanned visitors are generally not invited to stay for dinner. Don’t expect us to feed you when you arrive at our house without advanced notice….I’m slowly adopting some Indian habits (also the bad ones) and hope to bring some hospitality back with me, after my assignment has completed. I could write about numerous forms of behavior which made me happy or even shocked me. But I want to revert a bit more about conversing with Indians in daily life. One of the very surprising habits here is to ask very personal questions. It’s funny and in some cases even embarrassing, so it’s important to have a solid strategy in place to face such personal questions. We, my partner and I, don’t have any kids and are completely happy about this. We appreciate our lifestyle very much as it is, and this has never been a point of discussion. However, not in India! During some of the very personal and intimate interactions with Indians, we were questioned about this. It took us some time to counter the questions with relevant answers, but we are now at a point where we can bend the conversation to another topic without any harm. Sadly, there are some topics that could end up as a questionnaire which are tougher to counter. What to do with questions like ‘What’s your monthly rent’ and ‘how much money do you make’? I want to be as open as possible, but I prefer not to share my personal financials. The reason: if I tell them this, I feel the need to share crucial elements within the context and I don’t want to. It’s only interesting to know my yearly salary if you really (want to) understand the West-European Macro Economics of a household. Buying a house, paying for your medical insurance bill, taxes, going to a restaurant….everything is so much more costlier than similar stuff in India! But how to deal with this, what to do when someone questions you on unpleasant topics? The first and foremost step in countering these questions is acceptance. You need to accept that Indian people have a different mentality. Step two is to accept that these questions are far from being impolite. Indians are very open and therefore very interested, especially if you’re from the west. Moreover, they ask these questions in order to position you. The widely criticized caste system is generally seen as an old-fashioned and outdated division between groups of people. In modern India, money has become the new divider. Asking a lot of – in our view inappropriate – personal questions helps people understand your social position.