Lost & found in India
By Shaan Bajaj
You’re from India? I love Indian food!” or, “India is like stepping into another world!”: these are just some of the reactions I receive when I meet someone who is not from the Motherland. Because I’ve been visiting India all my life, a part of me didn’t quite understand what people were raving about – was it the overwhelming noise, thanks to the multiple truck drivers with horns that would play dhoom machale; or the layer of dust that seems to cover every surface? Or was it the chaos that the roaming animals constantly caused? Over the years though, India’s unique and irresistible charm has won me over, especially when I am shopping on the streets of Rajouri Garden or digging into a spicy bowl of sweet potatoes. Thus, when I came across Nisa ‘Nisha’ Nasonjai’s Facebook page หลง อินเดีย, which translates into ‘Lost in India,’ I immediately recognised someone who was also under India’s spell.
I met Nisha at Indus, who walked in wearing a beautiful hand-painted sari, and happily told me how her content is driven by her passion for all things related to India. When I asked her about her name, Nisha, which is a popular Indian woman’s name, she says “When I write my name in Thai, it looks like the Indian name Nisha, so I have chosen the name to represent myself.” Alongside her Facebook page, she runs popular Tiktok (@lost_in_india) and Instagram (@bahut_bahut_nisha) accounts to talk about all things related to India, and they’ve amassed a following of hundreds of thousands of followers. During our chat, she shares her love for India and how it came to be.
What attracted you to India? When was your first visit, and how many times have you visited India since?
My first visit to India was in 2014. My love affair with India actually started with slightly gloomy beginnings, when I met my college friends at our friend’s funeral. Afterwards, we all went to dinner and talked about our life updates. One of my Thai-Indian friends had just returned from Darjeeling, India, and he spoke proudly of his trip. He was planning to go back there again for a friend’s wedding and invited me, asking, “Do you want to join the trip? This time, we will go to Rajasthan, the state of the Thar Desert.” I agreed without considering anything else!
Nonetheless, I do not let anything fail or disappoint me; I am the type of person who prepares my heart and mind before visiting any place in the world. I believe that no matter what happens, it is always good. As the saying goes, “all is well” and I trust it will be if you believe it. This story marks the beginning of my visits to India, and since then, I have been going every year, except during the years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indian people, their thoughts, culture, and traditions have always attracted me, and I’m sure the same things that attracted me will also appeal to fellow Thai visitors, if they decide to give it a chance.
What inspired you to start blogging about India?
Honestly, before deciding to be an Indian blogger, I tried to create a blog like any other, reviewing food, clothing, places, and activities. However, I realised it is not the real me. When I reflected on my life experiences, I realised that most of them were related to India. Everything I engaged in seemed to revolve around India. That is when I decided to start my Facebook page, where I write about everything related to my Indian experiences, spanning food, places to visit, saris and other Indian wear, biographies, news updates, and interesting legends. That’s where my inspiration lies.
When did you start your TikTok and Facebook? They now have a combined following of around 237,000 followers. What has that journey been like?
I started my Facebook page in November 2019, one month before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I have consistently received positive feedback from my followers. They often describe it as a vlog of someone “lost in India” and compare it to an “Indian library in Thailand.” As for TikTok, I started my account in December 2021, and the feedback has been even more overwhelming compared to my Facebook page. On TikTok, I present various Indian aspects as if I were a journalist. I show my followers shortcuts on how to wrap a sari, how to eat pani-puri like a real Indian, and how to perform poojas for Lord Krishna, Lakshmi Mata Ji, and Ganesh Ji. I unconditionally love doing all of this.
You’ve also learnt to speak Hindi – what made you decide to learn the language?
I believe that if I want to understand the culture of any country, learning the language is my first choice. When I decided to learn Hindi, I had heard from others that it was quite challenging, and it truly is. However, I still love it and continue to learn as much of it as I can.
Can you share a memorable or funny story from one of your travels?
Once, I travelled to Leh Ladakh and visited Tso Moriri, also known as Mountain Lake. The lake is located at an altitude of 4,522 meters. I visited Ladakh during the summer season, but when I arrived at Tso Moriri, it was raining heavily. However, the rain did not discourage me because I wanted to witness the stunning view and experience the nomadic camp. While I was thoroughly enjoying taking photos, I suddenly encountered a technical problem with my SD card. It displayed an error, and I lost all the pictures. Nevertheless, I considered it a good sign, as if it were telling me that I should return to that place someday!
Where is the most beautiful place in India that you have visited and would recommend?
In my opinion, I have visited numerous beautiful places that I could recommend. However, right now, I choose Khimsar Village, a small Thar Desert village in Rajasthan. It is abundant with sand, off ers a peaceful ambience, and exudes positive vibrations. Watching the sunrise from the top of the village was a perfect and romantic moment.
What are your top three tips for visiting India?
- Hire local guides and choose tours wisely
- Respect local culture
- Stay alert and focused on your surroundings