There are tigers under my bed, originally uploaded by benaston.

No really, a tiger. Purring incessantly. It’s under my bed and it’s getting louder.

I want to sleep. Tiger wants to eat my protein bars. (No, not a euphemism, they’re my emergency rations).

Now sat up, half asleep, head half cocked. I’m squashed in an upper bunk. The air is thin. It’s optimistically billed as a ‘sleeper’ train from Bombay to Udaipur. For me it’s not. We’re just half way through the seventeen hour journey and a nervous panic begins to set in. How long do tigers normally wait before pouncing?

Fumble. Find emergency head torch. On.  Panic over.

The tigers are in fact just my fellow cabin inmates, each trying to out-purr themselves towards sweet slumber.

Headphones now on, I’m working hard to pretend that this is all part of the experience. This is why people come to India, it’s for moments like this. Tiger encounters, that sort of thing. And the bit where I’m amazifying my diary with astute Indian observation at 2am. Everyone always does that. Not sure why they’re not doing it on a laptop like me though. Luddites.

So here are some astute observations fresh from India

Everyone loves ice cream.

There’s not much to add to that really. I’m surprised by this mainly because all the cows that I’ve played hide and seek with on the streets are pretty much like ninja cows – they’re masters of disguise; very hard to spot, but always lurking in the shadows. I can’t imagine it’s very easy to round them up and milk them.

Ginger is definitely cool.

It’s kind of especially a big deal with old men who seem to like dying their hair. This is a surprise because in the UK, Ginge is definitely not cool. So maybe it’s some kind of neo-anti-colonial bias? Yep, probably. Astute.

The head wobble is on.

Before coming to India I practised my head wobble/shake quite a bit. I thought it was probably an important tool in my assimilation toolbox (don’t worry if you haven’t got one of those yet). The good news is that it is definitely important so I’ve taken to brandishing it with almost reckless abandon. Don’t quite get when you use it yet though – it seems pretty versatile. Think it means something like ‘Sweet as, thanks/I’m really nice/Cool’. More on that later.

So is this really is what people are scribbling in their travel diaries?


Ben Aston

Ben Aston

Ben Aston is a digital project manager and online entrepreneur. He's the founder of Black + White Zebra, an indie media company on a mission to help people and organizations succeed. Ben brings over 15 years of experience in both strategic thinking and tactical implementation from a career at top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, and DDB.

One Comment

Leave a Reply