What is the biggest culture shock you have ever faced?

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This was back in March 2005 when I had visited Goa with my family. I was just eight years old back then while my brother was three years old. On our first day, after arriving at the airport, we went straight to our hotel and after changing, headed towards the beach.

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You know how the crowd is at Goa, there are many foreigners who flock to these beaches. Goa is filled with tourists from abroad. And needless to say, men are seen wearing shorts while women sport a bikini or swimsuit. So you know, we were walking down the street and was about to enter the beach and that was when my brother said something very embarrassing. He asked my mom, “Maa, why are the women showing their navels? Why aren’t they wearing any clothes?”

That was the first time I was also seeing the women folks in bikinis and I had no clue what kind of dress they were. I just happened to know they came from abroad and that was really surprising to me to see them like that.

Nobody replied to my brother. That was so embarrassing as he again asked the same thing. I made up an explanation saying that these people come from cold countries and India is very hot. That is why they were wearing less clothes because they feel very hot here in India.

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I was left red-faced. Neither my mom nor my dad said anything. He was probably about to ask something else, but I remember my dad change the topic and talk about something else, cutting him short.

Even today we embarrass him during family gatherings by bringing up that story and this time it is him who is always left red-faced.


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