33. Aggro at Agra.

December 13th, 2010

I was going to head straight to Rajasthan bypassing Agra to see the places I’d missed in 2001. I’d seen Agra and in particular the Taj Mahal in 2001 and been totally unimpressed by it. I don’t know why this was as everyone else seems to think it’s fantastic, maybe there was too much hype and I expected too much or maybe the vastly extortionate foreigner’s price of $30 which had just been introduced had taken the shine off it. I had no intension of going back but I’ve been carrying a little Paddington Bear around me for the past 4.5 months which was given to me by friends from work. Everywhere I go so does he, and he has to have his photo taken too, so I couldn’t come all the way to India and not have a picture of him taken next to the badge of India, the Taj. So bizarrely I took an extra day just visiting the Taj to get a silly picture of a stuffed toy next to it!

Varanasi, India

During my time in Varanasi I was lucky enough to meet another backpacker (Anna) who was going the same way as I so we decided to travel together towards Agra and Rajasthan. I was quite lucky to meet up with someone who seemed to have found a couple of interesting contacts in Varanasi. One was a nice French guy who every six months tuned out of “Western society” and his city job to become a trainee Guru, and the other was a proper fully fledged Guru. Meeting these guys was great as it does show that not everyone in India is out to get you, it confused me at first. The guys paid for rickshaws, boat trips, food and wouldn’t take a penny. Apart from the “Ghat” incident, I think I happily closed the chapter on a chilled and relaxed time in Varanasi however arriving in Agra was strange as my memories of getting the same train at the same time here over 9 years ago were very different.

When I arrived, there was only one tourist on the train and that was me. Now there were quite a few including a group of Chinese tourists we were sat with and whom I seemed to upset when I counted Tibet as a separate country in the list of places I’ve visited en-route. “But Tibet belongs to China” one of the girls said very defensively and they all shook their heads in agreement. I just said I’d counted it as I needed a special visa/permit to enter rather than telling them what I really thought. I did however make a sly comment that I thought that “Tibet is to China what Hong Kong is to the UK.” The implication being that Hong Kong was taken by the British by force but now it had been peacefully given back and Tibet should be treated just the same. But they just didn’t get it. They only seem to believe what they are told and conveniently seem to have understood my comment as “Tibet is to China what Hong Kong was to the UK.” i.e. Hong Kong belonged to the UK and so Tibet belongs to China. Anyway, that said, apart from there being many tourists now, the place was amazingly busy and the road outside crammed with traffic even though it was barely 7am. It also seemed dirtier and grimier than before but luckily the view from the rooftop of the guest house was just the same as it was in 2001 (well sort of, this guesthouse was next door!).

Agra, India

Heading out to the Taj I was happy to see that the foreigners price they now charge was more realistic 750 rupees ($15US) and not the previous $30US. As I commented on the price to Anna noting that the price was still over 10 times greater than the 50 rupee local’s price a young Indian guy shouted “It’s a small price to pay for 300 years of slavery.” This shocked me a little, not so much for what he said but for the fact this guy and his partner looked quite young and well educated so why would they say such a thing, particularly as I was a guest in his country. There are five quite important points this guy was missing. Firstly I was born in the 1970’s, way after the British left India so how could I be held responsible for any mistreatment before I was born and over the 300 preceding years! Secondly, Indians genuinely believe that during the time of the British Raj, everyone in Britain lived like the Upper classes you had in India. They fail to understand that from the mid 17th century to the start of the 20th that the majority of people in the UK lived in slums, working for very little pay while the upper classes got rich on their labour, although not identical it’s a similar situation to India although India was at least lucky not to have “British workhouses” which were truly horrific. Thirdly, Indians were never enslaved. Fourthly, most States of India were run by Indian Maharajas who were left to treat “their” populations how they wished as long as the taxes kept coming. Considerable mistreatment came from these high caste Indians (though granted, the British did little to stop it), so do they pay more? Fifthly, he was making the assumption that we were both British. Only one of us was so why should the Swiss pay more just because they’re non-Indian? God he annoyed me as you can see by all this waffle but I just commented to him that I thought him poorly educated and mentioned that I was born way after Indian independence. What concerns me more though is that India has a lot of problems but has always blamed other counties be it Pakistan, the UK, Bangladesh or China because of the history. It rarely looks at itself. It’s been 63 years and little has changed, if the young continue to think like this guy then nothing will. And back in the room....................

Agra, India

But my aggravation was not over yet. Entering the Taj I had you usual metal detector, bag and body search. I always carry a pen knife with me which you are not allowed to take into any tourist sites in India but I quickly found a way of getting around this. While you walk through the metal detector and get body searched then you put the knife in your bag, then switch it to your pocket while the bag is searched! I can’t believe they split the process up (most places do bag and body searches at the same time) so it’s open to abuse! I used the same technique at the Calcutta train station where they even had an x-ray machine.... what was the point! There is another way of avoiding this of course and that’s simply not to take a knife with you in the first place! However I never thought to remove one particular item from my pocket. As the guy padded me down he found a suspicious package in my trousers! He asked me to get it out to show him. So I unzipped my pocket and got my furry friend out. He looked puzzled at first so to remove his confusion I just said, “It’s my Paddington.” He looked very unimpressed and then went on to say that he would have to confiscate it. Why, I asked to which he did not offer a reply. I don’t remember a sign saying, no stuffed toys or even no bears. More than likely this policeman just wanted it for his child so made up a rule, or simply lied as we would call it in the UK. But I played the game again and lied back at him saying that it was a gift from my little boy and I kept it with me always. Even a money grabbing policemen here would be hard pushed to take it off me now. But I was warned that under no circumstances I should get it out of my pocket. This confused me a bit more, maybe they didn’t want the Taj denigrated with photos of it next to Paddington. Maybe I should have made it clear that unlike the bear inappropriately named Mohammed by a school teacher in Saudi, this one was definitely from Peru and called Paddington. Either way what was more annoying was that I’d come here specially to take a picture of Paddington and now I wasn’t allowed. So I just simply did what any Indian would do when faced by an order from authority, I ignored it and did it anyway! I figured that I’d be safe when I went inside the Taj and heard the police shouting and whistling at people not to take pictures. No one took a blind bit of notice using flash guns and even posing while the police shouted louder. I’ve got a couple of pictures inside too!

But that was the Taj done for a second time and to be fair I’m glad I did. I spent more time looking at the artwork on the tombs inside and the marble outside and appreciated it a lot more. But even with that said I will still happily say that the Taj remains overrated and I believe only gets its reputation as we have the image of the Taj etched on our brains from a young age as a “must see, wondrous sight.” Just to put the Taj into temporal context, it was built at a time which is contemporary to that of the building of St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Is the building a technological marvel? Nope, it’s just different as it was made completely out of white Marble so it looks pretty. There are more impressive mausoleum in Lucknow in India but people never visit those or have even heard of the place. For me personally I’ve seen more impressive Islamic architecture in Central Asia and would say that Bukhara and Samarkand in Uzbekistan are really both a must see destinations if you like Islamic art. However, if you do go to Uzbekistan you will also have to pay the increased foreigners entry fee..... and we British didn’t even enslave the Uzbeks, so what was my “small price to pay” there actually paying for?

Agra, India

30. Tea break.

December 4th, 2010

Having visited my sponsored kid (anonymously as I don’t do emotional stuff) and charity in Calcutta I headed off to Darjeeling. Originally my “overland” plan was to make my way through India to Calcutta then Darjeeling then over the border into Nepal and continue the route into Tibet. I figured that I would now do the route in reverse and join up with my overland route at the Nepal/Tibet border. I got the night train to New Jalpaiguri from where I hoped to get one of the world’s first and only “world heritage site” narrow gauge mountain railway from almost sea level to 2.5km high. And it still runs as part of a regular scheduled national service, not just heritage. It’s meant to be one of the world’s greatest train journeys and I’ve always wanted to do it. While sat on the “normal” train I seemed to get a constant line of people (always men as women don’t talk to men they don’t know in this part of the world) asking “what is your name? Where are you from? How old are you? Are you married? Have you children?” When I say my age they are nearly always surprised and then ask “why, what’s the problem?” So when I was asked for the tenth time I said “no my wife and children died last week in a horrific road crash” I regretted saying straight away until the guy turned around after a few seconds thought and said “Have you found someone else yet?” What after a week! They don’t seem to think much of women here.

Arriving on the sleeper train in New Jalpaiguri I had my first bit of disappointing news, the Darjeeling Railway was not running! Flooding a few months ago washed part of the track away and due to political tensions in the area it hasn’t been repaired yet. The people of Darjeeling are pretty much Nepalese Gorka and they want independence from India although they’ve not been that imaginative calling the proposed state “Gorkaland.” People think the railway has not been repaired as a political statement by India as it’s a major tourist draw. Instead I had to get a jeep up there which was an amazing journey, not just for the views or even the amount of pain I was in crushed for 4 hours in a jeep designed to carry 7 actually carrying 12 (plus 4 hanging off the back) but for the amount of vomit produced by those around me on the winding roads. People really aren’t used to travelling here. All the jeeps and busses seem to have vomit corroded metallic paintwork streaming from the windows. But you know what they say about curry. It looks the same going in as going out!

Darjeeling, India

Darjeeling and its surroundings are a really beautiful with views of the highest peaks in the Himalayas including Everest. When it was built here by the British as a hill station they really took suburban Surrey with them with beautiful picturesque little churches, little bungalows, big mansions and even the odd suburban terrace. Sadly though since independence there was a bit of a reaction to the British who lived here and people were allowed to build houses pretty much anywhere and typically these are just big tall concrete blocks you find everywhere in the developing world. The Nepalese guy at my guest house told me that most buildings were put up deliberately to block views from the nice houses to drive certain people out.

Hopefully that’s not true but it is ruining the place. But after a couple of days of walking through tea plantations and drinking lots of tea in British tea rooms I’d had enough of the tea and also the cold and damp as it is winter. I was also getting irritated that every time I wanted to wash I had to walk for 5 minutes with a metal bucket to a kitchen where they would boil up some water for me for 10 Rupees. It was nearly always cold by the time I got to use it. So I headed down the mountain as far as I could on the train which was about half way. I think it’s probably the best and most scenic train journey I’ve ever been on, and I wasn’t even able to do the prettiest part.

Darjeeling, India

The single track for large parts competes with the road and all the cars, busses, cows and mayhem as it makes its way through narrow busy streets with shop owners trying to sell you produce as you pass within inches of their shops. All this with the backdrop of tea plantations sprawling all over the Himalayan mountainsides to 8,000 meter high show topped peaks is a great experience. Although you would never get the train if you want to be fast as the average speed seems to be about 25 km/h, if you get the steam train then it’s even slower. Here, it’s definitely all about the journey. I may have been on China’s highest railway in the world, but the feat of engineering this was approaching 121 years ago and the fact you know full well that when it was built, just as much thought was put into what the route, buildings, bridges and tunnels would look like as it was its engineering, it is truly remarkable. The Chinese line hammered through the Himalayas to Tibet although technologically amazing scores a sharp line with a never-ending wall of wire through which wildlife cannot easily pass, cutting the wilderness in two. This old line blends in with the surroundings, no barriers prevent passage, it seems to be as much part of the environment as the trees and mountains it passes. When the train passes, each little town comes alive with children chasing it or simply waving. On the Tibetan Lhasa express all you had was a soldier posted every 10km saluting the train and its achievements, not quite the same really.

Darjeeling, India

Jumping on a jeep for the remaining 1,500 meters down to New Jalpaiguri the contrast could not have been more distinct. The 14 year old who appeared to be driving was driving in a way which was putting all of our lives in serious danger. I have to admit that it’s only the second time in my life that I thought I was going to die, the other time also in India with a driver on similar winging roads with unprotected drops of hundreds of meters. What was worse was that it was getting dark. On two occasions he completely misjudged corners where we came to a skidding halt. What makes driving even more dangerous here is that the roads can be pretty bad, the cars not well looked after and the tires will almost always have no grip on them. There’s also one other thing people tend not to think about .... or maybe it’s just me again. You see very few people in India with glasses, it’s not that they don’t need them, but more of a case that they have never had an eye test and even if they did they couldn’t afford glasses anyway. So there are a significant number of drivers who can barely see beyond the bonnet and it was clear that this kid was seeing things last minute. Those who were not vomiting were pleading with him to slow down but he was having none of it, I just resigned myself to fate and put my sunglasses on although it was already very dark. But with them on I couldn’t see the massive drops and I felt safer somehow!

Darjeeling, India

Leaving the vomit laden Jeep behind I headed to an Internet cafe to check my train ticket status. One thing that has improved immensely since the last time I was here is that you can now book train tickets online. Previously I’d been in queues for up to 4 hours with loads of people pushing in as manners as we perceive them in the west don’t really exist here. I’ve been careful not to say they have no manners here as one thing I did learn when I was in India before is that everything here is “normal” and I’m the odd one out. Pushing in, spitting, belching in your face, staring at you from 10 cm away, peeing everywhere, crapping in the corner, throwing plastic waste from a moving bus, train or taxi is normal here, it happens and I see it happening but they don’t as to people here, these are the normal mannerisms. Yep, I don’t except them but I can’t get upset by it as I’m in India and to those here my manners are odd, hence the look of puzzlement and laughter when I put my plastic waste into my bag when I’m on the train. A guy asked why I didn’t throw it out of the window, I explained and he looked at me as if I was stupid!

Anyway, the train....... One thing I learned from last visit to India was how the confusing train booking system works and how to play the waiting list game. Trains can be fully booked for weeks in advance which was the case here as I’d arrived during Dwalli, the biggest Hindu festival, so I had bought a train ticket but was on a waiting list. This meant that I could only get on the train if people cancelled and a place became available. But playing the game I’d found a train where I was only number 10 on the waiting list so I knew I had a chance. And bingo..... I checked the ticket online and I had a place..... It may seem trivial to people who have not been to India, but tickets are one of the most confusing and horrific things to get particularly if you only have a few days here. You can have “fully waitlisted”, “partial waitlisted”, “waitlisted reserved against cancellation”, “two day TakTal waiting tickets”..... I’ve bumped into loads of backpackers who’ve bought these tickets thinking they had a place on the train and they’ve been left at the station stuck there for a few more days. But that happened to me the first time I was here. The joys of India, but just as you think you’ve got it sussed something else happens........

30a. The Darjeeling Express

December 5th, 2010

A short Journey on the Darjeeling Express mountain railway.

Click the play button to watch.

31. Closing a chapter....

December 7th, 2010

Looking at the Pakistan to Nepal route I had originally planned through India I figured that this was no longer really a challenge as I could simply just jump on one train all the way to Amritsar and then take a taxi to the Pakistan border. Then I got into thinking about my 2001 trip which I had to cut short as I was hospitalised. I figured it would be good to actually complete that trip nearly 10 years on, almost like closing a chapter. Although I’d been to Varanasi before I was unable to explore it properly as I had been in so much pain. Varanasi is where I became seriously ill and to reopen my memories I decided that I would go to the same guesthouse as then, the Shanti Lodge. I’m going to cheat again and add an abridged section of my 2001 travel diary which may explain why I wanted to return here and why I wanted to return to close a chapter on this town. And for info, 10 years on the toilets have not go any better on the trains.... and you no longer get a little plastic bucket to wash your crappy hand....

Varanasi, India


June 2001:

Just after 1am (on the overnight train from Calcutta) I woke with extremely painful stomach cramps, excruciatingly so. Then came the bowel early warning system, three minutes to get to the bathroom and counting! I just managed to make it in time. What can I say about a toilet on an Indian train, well the toilet is basically a small cupboard with absolutely no ventilation but for a hole cut into the floor through which you can see the track below. Sadly this is not for ventilation but to carefully target you bottom over before releasing your load! Even with such a simple design the passengers still manage to make a mess absolutely everywhere creating an unbelievable smell and making the colour scheme somewhat unique. As such, before any long journey I had so far always made a point of eating very little so I would not have to use the toilet. But my plan was foiled by the sudden effect of what I think is food poisoning. I have to consider myself lucky that I’d packed toilet tissue in my hand luggage as food poisoning or not, there was no way I was going to use my left hand and a bucket of putrid water provided to wipe my arse, especially with my problem. There was a water tap on the wall of course but the problem with these things is that your hands are dirty before you turn on so the tap and rather than the tap being shiny as I would have hoped, it was shitty! I’ve been trying to figure out what’s caused it. About two weeks ago I’d been quite ill in and two weeks before that I’d eaten food which I thought at the time might not have been as fresh as it could have been, I’d also been badly bitten by mosquitoes at the same time. Was the cyclic pattern caused by Malaria? As I arrived at the guesthouse I started to feel really ill again, I was really sweating hard. My room was clean and cool and extremely conveniently I could rest my head on the sink while I was on the toilet. Sounds a bizarre thing to do but by this time all control of my bodily functions had gone and I was leaking from both ends simultaneously. I figure the hotel must have planned for sick tourists because the ergonomics of the bathroom are fantastic for diarrhoea oozing vomit projecting backpackers!

I woke up. Somehow I was between the bathroom door and the bed. I was disorientated for a second but I remembered thinking that I needed a lie down just as I got an extremely sharp pain in my abdomen. I must have passed out. I made it to the bed and tried to sleep to get rid of the pain. When I woke my pain was gone but I was sweating hard, I was aching, confused and didn’t know what I was going to do. I started to come up with bizarre conclusions about my illness which now with hindsight I can only put down to the stresses and worries caused by travelling alone and in a country where I don’t know how safe the health care is. Although deep down I know something is really wrong, I’ve started to convince myself that whatever it is isn’t serious at all, just a bit of food poisoning which will wear off in a few days; anything other than considering what I might actually have.

By 4pm the next day I thought I was well enough to venture out but it wasn’t long before I started to feel unwell again and had to head back to the hotel doubled up in pain. I remember shutting my hotel room door behind me and then the next thing lying on my bed two hours later in a dark room in the foetal position with every muscle in my body aching. Backpacking is hard but few travellers who backpack with others truly realise how difficult it can be to travel alone. Being ill, passing out on my own in a hotel room not knowing what’s happening and having no one to help me, no one to talk to, comfort me, no one to even ask how I was, no one to care is a real low point. Travelling alone in this situation leaves you fearful, vulnerable and here, an easy target for people to take advantage. I asked the hotel manager for help to get a doctor but on the phone the doctor asked for a ridiculous amount of money before he would come out (£75, a colossal amount here). Even the doctors here seem prepared to take advantage of a sick westerner; this is one thing I will never respect. I can’t help thinking that it’s not so much a Hippocratic Oath but a hypocritical one!


So I didn’t have a good experience in Varanasi last time, but now the weather is well over 10 degrees cooler at 32 degrees and I still have my health what could possibly go wrong.

32. Not winning, just losing by less.

December 10th, 2010

You get an unbelievable amount of hassle in Varanasi. Rickshaw drivers deliberately drop you off at the wrong place leaving you completely lost (it took me 1 hour to find the ganges!), you get constant hassle from people trying to sell silk goods and when they figure they can’t do this they then offer drugs! A somewhat bizarre marketing policy; if you don’t want silk then you clearly need drugs? All this was happens with the surreal backdrop of bodies being carried through the streets to the “burning” Ghats where cremations take place at the side of the Ganges. The smells around Varanasi are a bizarre mix of pungent river water, cremating bodies, incense, mild narcotics and cow shit, which is everywhere! It’s definitely hard to describe but not as bad as 10 years ago but I guess only because it’s much cooler. There were also the numerous weird and wonderful ceremonies happening on the river front which I had a couple of boat trips to see but I won't bore you with that fun stuff....

Morning ceremony, Varanasi, India

The shanti guest house where I’m stopping for a second time overlooks the Manikamika burning Ghat which with a prevailing wind can smell, well, the smell is something I can’t easily describe but you instinctively know what it is. I’d seen the burning Ghats before but I thought I’d go back to have a look and see if I thought the same. The first time I’d been here I was surprised that I didn’t find the whole experience ghoulish but was strangely mesmerised by it, almost relaxing. There were no outward signs of emotion either from the family or the castless who tender the pyres, it was all just very straight forward as if people were placing wood on a camp fire. I felt that people here were satisfied that they were just helping another’s transition to a better life, no tears. The experience did make me think more about life, and gave me time for quiet contemplation. But on this occasion things were very different due to a certain encounter with the darker side of India.

Varanasi, India

While walking towards the Ghat I got apprehended by a local who wanted to give me some information on the Ghat. I didn’t want any but he went on and on telling me that it was ok to take a photo from where I was, which was quite a distance from the Ghat but I knew that photography was not really allowed so I ignored him. But he kept going on and on to such a point that I broke one of my three rules of backpacking I’d learned from my first visit to India.... Never say yes unless you mean it. Even though I had not taken one I said “yes I’ve taken it ok, just go.” Just to get rid of him. At this point he grabbed my camera and shouted something. A group gathered including a “policeman” who went on to tell me that I shouldn’t have taken a picture and I was lucky as if he wasn’t there the crowd would give me a beating. “Great” I thought! I pointed out that there was no picture on the camera and showed him but of course he said “you’ve deleted it.”

It’s a lucky position that I now find myself in, in that I now know the games so wasn’t too phased by this challenge. If this had been my first time in India I would have been petrified but the biggest lesson I could give anyone about travelling in India and about being ripped off or blackmailed is that you can never win, but you can lose by less. I see it like Accrington Stanley playing Manchester United at football. Accrington know they are going to lose, but they can make the score line look more reasonable by defending themselves and not falling apart as the first goal goes in. So the policeman demanded a 4,000 rupees (£57) “fine” a colossal amount here (fines usually are a maximum of 500 Rupees for most trivial things, including burning your wife!). I could have asked to go to the police station which of course he wouldn’t, but then I still had the crowd to contend with. Most were in on the game with the “policeman”, but it wasn’t worth the risk of him walking off as crowd mentality is very hard to judge, particularly here. So I said, “I didn’t take the picture but I only have 500 rupees on me anyway, so I would need to go to the bank tomorrow to get more.” Of course I had more money on me but I only keep a small amount in my pockets for those bartering moments where I want to get the price down so pretend that’s the only money I have. The seller won’t take the risk of you walking off to get more money as you may not come back so you nearly always get a better price.... so I thought I’d do my old trick here. The policeman said, 3,000 rupees. I said that he could come with me to the bank now to see if it was open (it was early evening and dark so unlikely), this was also calling his bluff as there are always other policemen outside banks and cash machines. “2,000” he said. I’ve only to 500 rupees I said again, and to hook him in a bit more I put my hand in my pocket and pulled out 6 rupees in coins and said “I also have this.” “Not even 1,000” he said. I said that I only had 500 and this was going to pay for my dinner and a trip around the Ghats tonight while trying to look pitiful. “I could get the money for you tomorrow and I could use this 500 for my tour tonight” I added. In the end he agreed that he would take the 500 rupees and got the horrible little boy who set up the scam to take me on a tour of the burning Ghat.

So I most definitely lost the game, 500 rupees is a huge amount here, about £7, but I lost by less considering what could have happened, I don’t think he would have accepted less money without wanting something else like a watch. But that’s typical of India and particularly Varanasi where organised crime is rife, there are a lot of really evil people out here but behaving like this is considered quite reasonable way to get money off tourists. But at least now I know how to turn it to some advantage and to lose by less. The boy actually took me to parts of the burning Ghats where tourists are not normally allowed which was actually truly amazing. There are different levels of burning Ghat and I went to the prohibited Brahmin (highest caste) burning level where the castless like me shouldn’t really go. It was a little surreal as the boy would say things like, “hey look there, that’s an arm.” Turning around I saw a burning skeletal arm rising slowly as the heat shortened the tendons, then snap, the arm would fall back down again amongst red hot flying embers. At the same time this happened a flaming foot came away and rolled down but the castless guy tending the pyre quickly used a bamboo pole to push it back into the flames. The boy then pointed to another pyre where a skull could clearly be seen in the centre in a bed of bright yellow orange flame. “Look at the flames coming out of the eyes” he added. At the next caste level a body had just started to burn, this was a little more gruesome as the fat on the torso had just started to melt. With all seriousness it just looked like the fat dripping off a late night takeaway kebab machine. The more gruesome thing is that it did make me a little peckish.

Varanasi, India

So in the end I think considering the tour, and having the opportunity to see and learn about why cremations are done in this way (which I haven’t talked about, I’ve just stuck to the gruesome bits for effect!) maybe bizarrely I in fact won the game on this occasion, or at least broke even. But the sad thing is, last time without getting so close, without knowing so much about what was happening and why, I had been mesmerised by the cremations as they provoked many thoughts. But now, as many others have said about Varanasi, it appears to me as little more than a ghoulish, gruesome freak show. Oh and the photo, I went back and took one of the burning Ghats from the point here I was stopped (it was far way enough not to cause offence or intrude before you ask!). I’m from Yorkshire, if I’ve paid for it, I’m having it!

Burning Ghats, Varanasi, India