India has been on of the most exciting emerging-market economies in recent decades.
But its massive population combined with rapid economic growth has also created plenty of unusual challenges related to bureaucracy, infrastructure, and crime.
And all of this has collided with India’s unique and colourful culture.
India has tacky $US200k t-shirts, weaponised chilli peppers, and revenge-seeking elephants among other things.
We identified 26 strange things we’ve noticed about India.
Superstitious parents in India are known to have c-sections, or to plan ahead and induce labour at times that are considered auspicious. Some Hindus believe that being born at a certain time will better a child's future.
Nearly 50% of India's population is said not to have a toilet at home and public defecation is a huge problem. BBC columnist Rahul Tandon wrote about a home where people had put up photos of Indian deities to prevent people from urinating on their walls. This was also mentioned in Rohinton Mistry's 1991 novel, 'Such A Long Journey.'
After a train hit and killed an elephant in India, the herd stayed on to mourn. An elephant-chasing squad was brought in from Bengal but the elephants eventually returned and rampaged through through the village, damaging 10 homes.
Indians are hiring private investigators to run a background check on prospective brides and grooms ahead of the wedding. BBC reports that the business is booming for India's pre-matrimonial detective agencies.
In Shani Shingnapur, a famous temple town in Maharashtra, residents have houses without doors and locks because they believe it is protected by Lord Shani. The town got its first commercial bank, UCO Bank, in 2011 and it has no lock on its front door.
Some 6 million tons of India's grains, worth $US1.5 billion, could rot, while 43% of children under the age of five are underweight and 3,000 children reportedly die from malnutrition-related illnesses every day.
Indian business man Datta Phuge spent $US230,888 on a gold shirt. He told the Pune Mirror 'I know I am not the best looking man in the world but surely no woman could fail to be dazzled by this shirt'.
Back in 2011, designer Amitabh Chandel said he made a $US93,000 shirt of silk, gold, and solitaire diamonds for an Indian prince.
India employs special 'spit inspectors' and 'nuisance detectors' to fine people that are caught spitting, urinating, or otherwise littering in public. Spitting in a public place in the absence of a spittoon is 'banned under a 2006 Mumbai bylaw,' according to AFP.
Bhaskar Rao, the inspector general of police for internal security was also appointed the inspector general in charge of training. So, Rao as the Inspector General of Police, Internal Security Division has taken to writing a letter to himself (as IGP Training, Bhaskar Rao).
'I have to do my work and there has to be consistency in correspondence,' Rao told the Deccan Chronicle. 'There are times when I have to dictate a stern letter to myself because of the delay in response from myself from the other office.'
Farmers with massive debt burdens have been committing suicide since 1995. Over 250,000 farmers have reportedly committed suicide. Many accuse foreign companies like Monsanto of selling farmers overpriced seeds that are forced on them by the government. The low cost of produce along with poor harvests have often caused farmers to take their own lives as they see it as the only way out of their tremendous debt.
The western state of Maharashtra authorised its forest officials to shoot and kill poachers on sight without fear of prosecution. Poaching has driven many species to extinction and is threatening many others.
Anti-bureaucracy activists get transferred endlessly to different jobs, because nobody wants them around.
India has the worst bureaucracy in Asia, according a report by Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy. A new poll by KPMG showed that 71% think fraud is 'an inevitable cost of doing business in the country.' People even face bureaucracy in getting much needed medical treatment.
One anti-bureaucracy activist was transferred 43 times, from job to job, because people didn't want him around.
Santosh Kumar Singh fought for nine years to prove that he was alive. His brothers declared him dead and stole his land after he married a woman of a lower caste. False death certificates are frequently issued in land grabs.
A woman named Shaheen Dhada posted a status on Facebook questioning a Mumbai 'bandh,' or shutdown, after the death of politician Bal Thackeray, known for using various forms of intimidation to achieve political ends. Her friend Renu Srinivasan liked the post. Both were arrested for their actions and the incident sparked a furor about the lack of freedom of speech in India.
India's Delhi metro hired a monkey handler or langurwallah, to chase monkeys off the city's metro trains. Monkey handlers have also been used on the grounds of parliament and in some government buildings to scare off wild monkeys.
Even though it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of caste, creed, religion, or gender, developers and realtors often advertise apartments for rent/sale for certain religious groups or certain castes.
An Indian non-profit believes that 70,000 child miners illegally work the coal mines in just one part of the country called Jaintia Hills. Parents often send their children to the mines instead of school since they become a source of income.
In July, India faced a massive power outage that left 600 million people without power. Some agricultural states were accused of exceeding the power quota assigned to them during a weak monsoon season. But India frequently faces power outages, many of which are blamed on corruption.