Readers' favourite India curiosities

Images of India

BBC correspondent Rajini Vaidyanathan's feature on 10 things you might not know about India generated a huge response. Readers shared their favourite observations about this diverse and colourful country.

As a British-born Indian who visits India frequently, I've noticed that roadside/street vendors have got increasingly savvy with what they're offering consumers. Fifteen years ago they would try and flog plastic toys and balloons, now they're armed with copies of the latest Dan Brown novel and Harvard Business Review. This reflects both the rise of India's position in world business, the growth of the middle classes and a demand for internationally renowned products. Reetu Kabra, London, UK

In the UK, two men holding hands while walking in the street may imply they might be lovers. In India it does not. You are more likely to see a man holding another's man's (friend) hand or has his arm around the other man's (friend) shoulder than a man holding a woman's hand or has his arm around her. Bromance is always in the air (as well as Tuk Tuk pollution). Tagyal Tibet, London

Does everyone know about the "head wobble"? The way many Indian people show agreement? It's usually used in the same way Brits and others would nod our heads but instead the head tilts and rocks gently from side to side. This can be done pretty emphatically with a huge smile when someone wants to show real happiness in their agreement or positive response to a question. Alternatively it can be a very slight tilt, almost like a twitch, to one side and back to centre if it is offered as a more simple response or time is short. Whichever way, it's beautiful and something I have never seen anywhere else. Fiona, Ayr, Scotland

One of the amazing roadside trades we saw was in Jaipur - a roadside dentist, sat on a box in the kerb with a queue of people waiting to have teeth pulled or second-hand dentures fitted. No anaesthetic used, just an old pair of pliers used for both extractions and adjustment of dentures... March 2013. D Fitzharris

Previously in the Magazine

India feature in BBC News Magazine

"For many people writing about India, the common cliches of Delhi belly, lengthy traffic jams, bureaucracy, corruption and yoga retreats are the subjects that fill the column inches.

"Here are 10 other observations."

An incredible ability to travel huge distances on a motor bike with the whole family. It was not once that I saw a man driving a motorbike, his wife behind his back holding a newborn in one hand, another child at the back and God knows what else they loaded the poor motorbike with - luggage, animals, more kids... incredible. Asya Nemere, Astana, Kazakhstan

I was lovingly reminded by most people that I was no longer beautiful after losing weight and getting a tan. Kathleen O'Donnell, London, UK

I lived in Madhya Pradesh for just shy of a year 2008-2009. As anyone who has been to India will attest, cattle roamed the streets and I was amused to see them standing in the middle of roads causing traffic jams. Before travelling to India, a friend who had been there on holiday had told me: "The cows aren't moved on because they're sacred," which I blindly accepted. After settling in and making good friends with my Indian colleagues, I once asked a friend, why doesn't someone just move the cows out of the way? His response? "Have you ever tried to move a cow?" Amanda Jones, London, UK

Everyone picks up a call on a cell phone. Many times, even a pandit performing a marriage ceremony will briefly pick up the cell phone even if it's just to say, "I'll call back." It's common to see people picking up phones in corporate meetings or even during a presentation. Voicemails are non existent. Text messages are the way to go. Brijesh Khergamker, San Francisco, CA

With so many old, easily repairable, cars I was amazed at the number of mobile mechanics sitting on street corners with a few spark plugs, fan belts etc. If you break down you are literally surrounded by potential repairers. Patrick Morrissey, Bristol, England

I was offered services by a gentleman on the train platform in Agra. He had a large collection of zips and specialised in repairing broken zips and general wear and tear on your luggage. Ingenious. I thought: "How many times have I discarded bags that were perfectly fine but for a torn zip?" Gerry Wall, Dublin, Ireland

India has greater linguistic diversity than Europe, with around 380 separate languages compared to Europe's 275 odd at a recent count. Some 33 of them are spoken by more than a million people each. William Gould, Leeds, UK

Spices

I witnessed an entire wardrobe being transported on a bike! Lindsey Laing, Glasgow, Scotland

In the UK you have the Highway Code and a heap of rules about all the things you may or may not do while driving. In India there is only one rule of the road - if you meet an approaching vehicle, pass on the left. Apart from left-hand drive, anything goes - overtaking on the inside, driving the wrong way down a street, parking six feet away from the curb, honking all the time just for the sheer joy of making a noise... It is the scariest place to be, total highway anarchy. And yet... it works. Savita, India

Things I noticed and miss about India: When sweets are given out in lieu of very small change at the grocery stores; sweet goodwill chai when you step into a shop at the bazaar; "Tell me" - standard phone greeting. Haryati Afendy, Dusseldorf, Germany

Anywhere there is supposed to be a queue, there isn't one! People come from all directions, but tell them you were there first, and they will promptly move behind you. Don't prompt them, however, and you could be standing waiting for your turn forever. Amitavo Mitra, New Delhi

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