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A first time visitor’s guide to India – Pt.2 – Staring

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Before I went, I knew people would stare, I’m a slightly overweight gori with a desi boyfriend – I wouldn’t expect anything else.

But oh boy do they stare!!

I managed to shrug it off and ignore it, but Babu, he HATED it! I had fun on the occasions we caught the train, I would wait to the side while Babu grabbed tickets, and people would stare as per usual… and for fun I would stare back – only when Babu wasn’t there could i do this though because he disapproved of my tactic! Funny though… If you make eye contact they look away pretty quick!

Check out my photo at the top of this page… I was on a crowded train…how many men are openly staring at me?! Now, I took this photo with my phone pretty discreetly, so the staring isn’t because I’m taking a photo – I really never realised I am so interesting! Ha!

So piece of advice for visiting India #2 prepare to be a tourist attraction (for the natives!), notice it, then shrug it off, and get on with your business!

Oh and in case you fancy a laugh, at the beautiful elephanta caves, these Indian girls thought it more interesting to take a photo with me instead of the wonderful carvings!* Oh look, a Gori!

*I look very rough in this photo, if you climbed that many steps in that heat you would too, and yes, this is one of the photos that triggered my current diet plan (thanks tiny tiny Indian girls for making me look giant!)

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11 responses to “A first time visitor’s guide to India – Pt.2 – Staring

  • masalabou

    I am really curious about the staring thing because I was always stared at in Ethiopia but I’ve never been stared at in India (as far as I am aware) I’m quite self conscious too so I think I would notice. I thought it was because we are always in the city but I met a Welsh gori wife last summer who spoke about the being stared at when she sat in the cars. No-one bats an eyelid and I am very curious to know why they don’t stare at me. Is it that I look at bit Indian? (My mother is Anglo-Indian) Is it that I look at ease? Is it because I’m with my husband and kids? In the neighbourhood they know who I am. I am puzzled because I certainly do not look Bengali. When I asked other expats they said I look more Arab than anything else.

    • ria

      Interesting, maybe my long blonde hair makes me stand out a little more perhaps (I’m assuming that you probably have darker hair) that’s the only thing I can think of since I always dressed conservatively as well.

  • masalabou

    Can I add – I’m certainly not saying I want to be stared at!

  • billiejoy

    Thanks for your post and all your blogs for that matter. I am a white American married to an Indian and I get stared at here in the US by other Indians when we are together. I have not been to India yet but I anticipated this “problem” there as well. I remember one time my husband and I were in Chicago and what I assume was an Indian woman stared me down as she was walking toward us…for a moment I honestly thought she was going to slap me! Anyway it is very interesting to me to have so many people wonder, “what I am” as if they have never seen a light skinned person before…since I do live in the US! lol
    (And regarding your size…you don’t look like a giant but Indian people are very small I am pretty overweight and I hate wearing sarees and churidars as I have to have them specially tailored because I am certainly not shaped like an Indian woman.)

    • ria

      You’re welcome! Thanks for reading!

      I’ve not had the opportunity to wear a saree yet, I bought one made to measure from c-bazaar recently, stitched and pleated and everything, except i got the arm hole measurement wrong on the blouse and the neckline way to high making me look uber bulky! And now I have lost a little weight if i wrap it using the hooks in it it falls down, so defeats the object of them in the first place, need to find myself an Indian tailor to fix it all, but there’s none in the area, think i’d have to go to London for that – and if I were to buy that train ticket I may as well just order another custom Saree online lol.

  • Smilesmi

    That’s cute actually. When i had my trip to S.Korea I could random catch the look at me by localities. Children were so curious and always were asking for talking photos with me. The reason people stare at you in India is not coz you are pretty, or on contrary ugly, but simply you are different 🙂

    • ria

      Very true, and something to get used to for the future!

      I am however very intrigued to see peoples response to me next time I visit, I have lost a lot of weight now and am curious to see how much of is was because of my size!

  • Mileska Rodriguez

    I was with an Indian guy for 5 years, unfortunately it didn’t work out because of culture issues primarily with his family. Every time we went anywhere together I would catch Indian people, in particular women, starting at us. He says he never notices it. I used to tell him “Hey, what’s auntie’s problem?” lol I found your site because I was looking for similar experiences to my own. In my relationship there’s other factor besides culture that caused us to break up but deep down inside I want to be with him forever. He wants to work it out but I don’t know if it can be done. India is a place I’ve always wanted to go. I think they would stare regardless because you’re a foreigner. In South Korea they stared no matter what you looked like.

    • ria

      I’m sad to hear things didn’t work out for you, is it nothing you two can work on together? It sounds like you still love him a lot, it must be pretty hard.

      Where are you from Mileska?

      • Mileska Rodriguez

        My family is from Puerto Rico. They were open to him at first but as the years rolled by and they saw no real changes in our relationship they expresse concern. I do too I’m three years older than him and I’m thinking about marriage and family. He says he was too but I never saw any action on his part to move the relationship forward. His family is here in the states as well and in those five years I only met his mother and his siblings, never his father which to me was the person I needed to win over. I met with a close friend of the family who they hold in close regard and understood my position and his parents as well. She asked could he support me and he didn’t say anything. I don’t expect that of him but I know it’s a reality that me and him are in different stations in life. I finished my MBA I have a govt job and seved in the military. In my mind my marriage resume was impressive. Prashant however is still working on his bachelors and works at Starbucks (were we met I used to work there as well). I didn’t expect him to support me but in their culture it’s a big issue. She later told me after speaking with the family friend that his father was happy for all I’ve done but prashant isn’t ready for a commitment not now or even in two years and he doesn’t want me to waste time with him. I tried for a few months after that but he didn’t seem to understand. I hope things for us do come together in the future, hopefully he can do well just for himself and not for me. Ack! I don’t want to depress you with my story! I hope things with you and Babu work out and hope to see you in Indian bridal gear in a future post. Ill keep reading because I always have hope for my relationship.

        • ria

          Wow, that’s pretty messy, but i guess if he’s not making enough effort for a future, what can you do!

          I hope for you that maybe something will change in him, sounds like he needs to just grow up a little, but hey – do guys ever really grow up? I’m starting to think not!

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