Monday, 5 May 2014


I am far from being a clean freak or germaphobe (or any of that shit), but India was far too fond of body noises for me at the very beginning!
There are a lot of no-nos in India, but there seems to be no taboo about coughing, farting, pissing, shitting, picking your nose, blowing your nose straight onto the pavement or onto your hand (and then wiping your hand in your clothes), spitting everywhere, bringing up phlegm before firing it out on the road and, of course, burping. Those are things they do with complete impunity!
But burping, especially burping, is socially accepted, even appreciated. They do like a huge, audible appreciation belch after a rich and spicy meal. It is a sign that you've enjoyed your meal and an indication of satiety.
But this sonorous post-meal belch seems weird to the uninitiated. It did to me, anyway!
I knew it was custormary to burp out loud. But the very first time I was eating in India and one of the fellow eaters at my table let go such a powerful burp that I'd have been less shocked if I'd seen an elephant flying, it made me lose my appetite; it made me want to scold him and follow up with a lesson on good manners.
On the second occasion, I was urged to start a little chat on the basics of hygiene. Nonetheless, here's the rub: the strange one around there was me. I was the uninvited guest who was in no position to criticize the habits and the culture of more than one billion hosts. Especially considering that I too, by ignorance or neglect, did things that were considered rude there.
One of the bosses there, made a great effort so that I got used really fast. He went all out; he gave everything he had! The minute he finished eating, he began belching. He let go a good 30 times, one after the other, after every meal. He did it, specially, while we went back from the dining-room to the school. No wonder why I stopped having breakfast, lunch and dinner with him altogether!
So, as the saying goes, "when in Rome, do as the Romans do!" So, when in India,... 
After all, as someone said, "who does not burp not fart is doomed to explode".   


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