India - An Unwelcome Helping Hand


Someone once told me that "India assaults you" as soon as you arrive. It's not a violent assault but India demands your attention from the moment you arrive. It's crazy, chaotic and completely amazing. Never have I experienced a place so different than what I experienced during my two-week trip to India in 2012.

The food, the clothing and the customs are very different.  And like a lot of places, no matter how hard you try to adapt to the customs, you can end up making a mistake.

My friend Scott Yurcheshen and I met in Mumbai and then flew to Udaipur, which is known as the "City of Lakes."   So of course, we decided to take a boat trip out on one of the lakes.  We were the only non-Indians on the boat as you can probably tell in the photo.

As we were departing, there was an older Indian woman who was having a difficult time getting out of the boat.  Scott extended his left hand to help her back to the dock.  She started to grab his hand and then immediately jerked it back and started rapidly nodding her head "no."   

The left hand in India, is the dirty hand.  You use it for wiping your butt, putting on your shoes and other dirty activities.   The right hand is the clean hand and is used for eating, shaking hands and in this case, helping an old lady out of the boat.

We both knew this before the boat trip, but it certainly wasn't "second nature" to either of us.   As soon as I saw the look on the woman's face, I immediately understood why she didn't want a "helping hand."


Udaipur is a beautiful city and has been used frequently in movies and TV shows.  The hotel where we stayed was used in the James Bond movie Octopussy.    

I've linked below a video I made about our India trip.   The video of the crazy driving in the streets was shot in Udaipur.   That clip begins at 1:40.   

Dates of Travel

  • April & May, 2012

Places Visited

  • Mumbai
  • Udaipur
  • Jodhpur
  • Jaipur
  • Agra
  • New Delhi




This post is part of my series "One Photo - One Country."  I'm am selecting one photo and writing one story from every country I have visited.   Your comments and questions are welcome.  

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