Surviving India

So, this one time, I was travelling the Golden Triangle with first-time visitors from overseas. Prior to that, they had completed a hiking trip in the Himalayas, relished their homestay in Baldian, marvelled at the installations at the Rock Garden, even watched Ravana’s head explode on Dussehra. Overwhelmed at the multiple Indias they were experiencing for the worth of one, it was, however, the cuisine that had their complete attention. Curious and experimental, they were willing to spoon-in any and everything that their taste buds and insides could endure. Including a bowlful of that warm water and lime served post-meals…

Surprisingly, with nary a whimper, nor a growl (excuse the pun) in the aftermath of a spicy assault on an alien stomach. Even more surprisingly, two weeks into their Indian vacation and still no complaints about the heat, dust, grime and bugs; almost par for the course. How were they even doing it? Finally, it was in Jaipur, after a particularly robust gourmet marathon, that the mystery unravelled for this curious cat.

Returning from an introductory round of Indian fast food (aloo tikki, gol gappa, pao bhajji, channa bhatura, rava dosa, to merely name a few we tried that day), they felt an intense need for some digestives. Soon after, out came two large Ziplocs packed to capacity with vials, bottles and tubes, and an earnest discussion on symptoms, diagnoses and remedies ensued. While yours truly, a content paan-chewing  onlooker, good-humouredly listed the contents of their Survive India Kit. Take a look:

  • Three tubes of sunscreen of varying strength
  • A travel size vial of sunburn cream
  • A fabric deodariser called Fabreeze To Go for odours
  • Potable Aqua for water purification
  • Tylenol and Ibubrufen
  • Three tubes of anti-bacterials for sanitizing
  • Bug repellants
  • Bug repellant wipes
  • L-Glutamine for vitalizing the immune system
  • Chinese herbal curing pills for digestion
  • Agartache  to rectify the Qi
  • Paragard, another Chinese remedy for diarrhea
  • …and if all else failed, Azithromycin!


  • i like their spirit!
    come what may, travel we must, sample the cuisines we must,over do it we must!
    whats interesting to observe is that the first few ‘courses’ of medication are alternative therapies helping to boost immunity; the last ‘course’ and resort would be the antibiotic.
    maybe we too should get going with local therapies first and keep those harsh allopathic medicines for later…..or not at all.

  • The reverse can be true as well. My partner fell very ill as soon as we landed in the UK this summer. He had a soaring fever and al that came to our rescue was the piles of Indian medicines prescription grade too may I add. I think its always best to carry medicines from your own country of origin because going to a chemist abroad and figuring out what you should take for what is the last thing you would want to do if you are taken ill suddenly. Stick with the familiar I say.

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