Normally, culture shock refers to the feeling on being in a land with strange and unknown culture. You feel like all the research you did about the place was useless and that the culture is too different from your own to survive!
However, almost two months in Chiang Mai and I’ve seen a completely different cultural shock. One where I feel a strange belongingness with and similarity to India, when I didn’t expect much of it.
Don’t get me wrong. The differences on the face are huge. Thailand is the party capital of the world with alcohol flowing all around. On the contrary, alcohol is not even sold in some Indian states. India is the biggest vegetarian country in the world while vegetarianism in Thailand is more of a novelty. The dressing style, religion, language, race….everything is different on the face!
Where does the belongingness and cultural similarities come from?
Our beloved god is everywhere! In Buddhist temples, in malls, in cafes, and in houses. It’s strange to see almost no other Hindu god getting any attention except Ganesha. Thai people worship Ganesha. Is it because Thailand is full of elephants just like India is? Why other Hindu gods don’t get attention? I will try to throw light on these aspects in my next trip here (or when I know enough Thai to have such discussions with locals, whichever is later :D)