Social interaction is regarded as being of the highest priority in Indian families, and social bonds are expected to be long lasting. Even economic activities that might in Western culture involve impersonal interactions are in India deeply imbedded in a social nexus. All social interaction involves constant attention to hierarchy, respect, honor, the feelings of others, rights and obligations, hospitality, and gifts of food, clothing, and other desirable items. Finely tuned rules of etiquette help facilitate each individual's many social relationships.
Western visitors to India are sometimes startled to find that important government and business officials have left their posts--often for many days at a time--to attend a cousin's wedding or participate in religious activities in a distant part of the country. "He is out of station and will be back in a week or two," the absent official's officemates blandly explain to the frustrated visitor. What is going on is not laziness or hedonistic recreation, but is the official's proper recognition of his need to continually maintain his social ties with relatives, caste fellows, other associates, and God. Without being enmeshed in such ties throughout life, a person cannot hope to maintain long-term efficacy in either economic or social endeavors. Social bonds with relatives must be reinforced at family events or at rites crucial to the religious community. If this is not done, people who could offer vital support in many phases of life would be alienated.
If you are fair-complexioned, blonde or red-haired - and especially if you are female - chances are that you will be stared at continuously, specially in the smaller towns. Don't be offended - they mean no harm, it is just curiosity.
Avoid crowds, especially if you are female.
Try to avoid shaking hands. Greet people with a 'namaste' (hands pressed together at chest level as if in prayer). You will be appreciated for using the Indian style of greeting.