Thursday, January 28, 2010

Back from vacation

I've just gotten back from a 2 week vacation in Southern India (which should explain my hiatus from blogging to my legion of readers). Did visit a fair few places. Goa, Gokarna, Udupi, Wayanad district and Ooty.

Gokarna was easily the best of all places - comparatively unspoilt by tourists as opposed to the Russian invasion of Goa. I do recommend folks to visit Gokarna - but only if your idea of fun is to laze at the beach all day. (Picture on left is sunset at Om Beach, Gokarna). And unless you have loads of cash, accommodation is pretty basic. This isn't a travel blog by any stretch, but will try and include some relevant details in another post.

The #fail thing that happened on this trip was my very first lesson on how white tourists get mobbed by random Indians. I thought it was highly embarrassing and a tad shameful as well. I'd never seen the phenomenon before and seeing it first hand was a real shocker. The play is this. Indian tourists of all shapes and colours (more likely young than old) walk up to random white tourists and in typically Indian style, ask, 'Photo'? Of course, our usually well-mannered westerner assumes (only during the first time) that s/he wants the white tourist to take a picture and him/her and is happy to oblige. But they've only understood half of it. The Indian wants his/her picture taken, but with the white person in it. Preferably if they are from the opposite sex. So what happens is although the white tourist reaches for the camera to oblige the Indian, all of a sudden there is a mysterious photographer who crops up and the white tourist suddenly becomes part of the picture. Not wishing to seem impolite in a foreign country, our white friend reluctantly obliges. As the crucial shutter release moment approaches, more and more Indians seems to materialize from thin air (and you wonder how a billion of us got here). Pretty soon, arms are laid on shoulders, hands are held and the more adventurous ones will even get an arm around the waist. Then only is the photo actually taken. Of course, our poor photographer does not want to be left out, so there is usually another round of the same. Sometimes it goes on for a few minutes till the white tourist gets the drift and has to call a stop to it. Epic fail.

I recall an incident where Jason (British / white) got into a similar situation. A group of 10-12 Indian youths crowding around him for a photo, hands on his naked torso (it was the beach, don't get any ideas). A guy then remarks, 'You look like an Indian cricket player.'. To which our bemused Jason is forced to reply - 'But I am white!'. ROFLMAO.


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