Hyderabad, India -- The Old and New.

I was in India last month for work. Since it was my first time in India I tried to learn as much about the country as I can. So I did what any respectable blogger would do the first thing they land in a new country: I watched the local pop-music TV channel :)

Without question pop-culture in India has traces of western influence, and yet India has maintained a lot of it's traditional culture. For example it's common to see a large group dancing in synchrony (whereas pop music in the United States tends to emphasize individualism). Traditional Indian clothing is also everywhere, not just in music videos, but also out in the streets, and in the workplace. The result is an interesting blend of east and west.

(One a side note, for a good Bollywood movie I recommend the original Sholay with Amitabh Bachchan.)

The blending of east and west extends beyond music. McDonald's spicy chicken curry burger and Domino renaming buffalo wings to chicken wings are both excellent examples.

Buffalo means "dark cow" in India, and cows are considered as religious. They're respected, and aren't part of the diet. Renaming Buffalo Wings to chicken wings avoids any misunderstanding.

Of course there're things that at first seem odd to me. Most tourist destinations have different prices for "Indians" and "Non Indians". Using pricing structures to charge different prices for different groups is not new (e.g. discount movie tickets for students and seniors), but having a sign that reads Indians vs Non-Indians is rather blunt. Local people I've met are generally nice to foreigners, and the prices definitely don't reflect any animosity towards tourists. The tourism industry can use some better marketing writing though.

Gate to the 400 year old Charminar, Hyderabad.

Gate to the 4 year old hi-tech city. Also in Hyderabad.

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