Is it just about my skin?

17 09 2010

I had a very interesting discussion with Ayush on Wednesday night… We went out for a movie and we were talking about relationships and why ours never happened how some people assumed it will. He is one of my dearest friends in India 🙂 I told him that I am never sure here if somebody likes me for me or just because I am somehow exotic in the Indian land. Well… picture that 😛

And then Ayush just said it… “It’s just about the skin! They will automatically assume that you are easy and we are sleeping together.”  I remember one incident in my first month here… we went to get some milkshakes and at the cashier there was this older lady staring at me with so much disapproval in her eyes that it felt like I was some sort of enemy coming to tempt Indian men… It’s impossible to mingle in this country, no matter how much I like to imagine I did, no matter how much I like to think that by now I am part of the scenery… I will never be!

I have a week and a half since I started taking the 5 rupee public bus again to go and come from work. I take it at the same hour and most of the time it’s full with the same people. There are 7 painful minutes in which I am pretending they don’t stare at me, in which I look outside the window and listen to my music. While people stare. Thank God not all of them. And don’t get me wrong, not all Indians spend their time staring at other people. And also don’t assume that only the non educated people do. When half of the bus just stares you down you do feel awkward. And I am one woman that spent 6 months in Ghana and used to walk for 25 minutes from work to the nearest bus station! It wasn’t like this and I was definitely not part of the scenery!

I was in the bus today and everybody was so very nice making room for me to sit down 🙂 Indian people, most of them, are really really nice. After 5 minutes, lot of traffic, it felt like somebody was watching me. Looking outside the window I see these two men, in their car, stuck in traffic, just staring at me. And I stared back. I thought that they will just turn their eyes from me, possible feeling embarrassed … They didn’t. And I am afraid I don’t have enough practice to keep doing it the way they do. After one painful minute I just started looking some place else. I am not capable to stare people down. And the 2 men probably enjoyed my discomfort.

India is so much more than people staring and drawing wrong conclusions. Cosmina and Cristi will be here in about 7 hours and I want them to see how beautiful this place can be 🙂 It’s hard when you are not home but I guess we all are learning day by day 🙂


I won’t stop taking the bus. It’s cheap and fast and who is familiar with the Indian traffic knows how bad being stuck in the traffic is. Probably the Indian Government is not going to replace the little dirty bus with a fancy version in the next 6-7 months but I got used with it. Probably Calvin’s Dad from Calvin and Hobbes will say that it builds’ character 😛

Me… officially on holiday and happy 😀 Still, maybe somebody can give me some staring lessons 😛

PS: I dream to live in a world where people are just people and are judged upon their actions and not their looks, skin colour, nationality, ethnic group, etc. I dream to live in a world where people do bother to take a second look and try to understand the others, where empathy is more than just a word.

I am happy I went to Ghana and came to India. It does built character and the experience is so intense that you learn who you truly are and who you really want to be. I get tired sometimes, I complain most of the time but at the end of the day its a wonderful journey, my wonderful journey. I guess you can read books and watch Discovery but the world is more than that!




8 responses

17 09 2010

hehe and one indian guy today was talking about how people pay so much attention to him in Ghana, waving and all that. I remember when you first came to Ghana, they did look once in a while, but not stare! I can’t imagine what that must be like….i say keep acting like you’re just one of them, no different 🙂

18 09 2010

in the end you have to deal with their culture as is their country. Whenever I find my self in awkard situations like yours, here in Tanzania, I am imagining how an african would be treated in Romania.

And everytime the answer is the same: here I get pozitive attention so I should enjoy it.

27 09 2010
Alexandra Birladianu

Zazu, when is too much toooooo much? I have a limit and the unwanted attention was never my thing! And positive attention in someone’s eyes can be totally negative in someone else’s. You would ask why I came to India… I did it for my internship and professionally is everything I ever wanted and more… Personally it wasn’t the best decision ever but 95% of the time I do feel it is worth it 🙂 I don’t think we can compare Romania with the professional staring they do in India 🙂 Here is like an art, they are the best at it I assume 🙂 And being different sometimes becomes a curse 🙂 But I guess you have to lose some to win some and I am totally winning right now 😀 With good and bad, I am here with a purpose and I have to stay focused and do my thing 🙂 The rest is part of the story 🙂 To be continued…

19 09 2010

whenever I feel bored I turn to your blog..this one I find rather factual…it is not just about you in India…it is about anyone in foreign land….but this time you looked at the brighter side..building character 🙂 …meanwhile is the IDOC over because I could not see any move events?
I just happen to remember this quote- “Character is not made in a crisis, it is exhibited.”

27 09 2010

Hey dear!

I can tell you that is exact the same thing in Egypt, even worse!! Here is not only the color of the skin, is also about difference in religion and huge cultural difference. It is also about just being a foreigner, no matter whether you’re more or less covered.
Sometimes even, it is only about being a women, no matter Egyptian or foreigner, veiled or not veiled.

Plus that they think that an Eastern European girl is most probably a prostitute and also that any foreigner girl would accept any advance from a man. Also, it is more than just staring, it is commenting too, sometimes even physical harassment.

With so much starring and unwanted attention, I told myself that I’d better start feeling like I am a star; why not, if I am treated with so much attention anyways? 😀 …. so my advice, feel like a star!

Also, starring them down won’t work most probably. Here they’ll think you like them back :))

27 09 2010
Alexandra Birladianu

I am always thinking about how it must be for you there and I admire you for taking the challenge and living up to it 🙂 Sometimes I lose my patience 🙂 I guess I was never meant to be a star 😛 When it comes to Eastern European women, here is kind of the same, at least in my experience 😛 Of course not everybody has the same opinion but enough people to make you be careful who you spend your time with 🙂 I miss being invisible 🙂 I will totally embrace it home 😀

27 09 2010

yes, when thinking to go to any foreign country we prepare for being opened to the culture differences and to many many more aspects of the locals’ life, but we also prepare for things that we can’t see and feel unless we are there.
So let’s say that we are prepared for this kind of unpleasant situations too [that we couldn’t exactly predict from home] and try to cope with them. I know we are learning a lot out of them and we’ll see the world differently then before.

Maybe also asking ourselves if there is anything we could do to change it would keep us more entertained and less angry 😀

27 09 2010

Anyways, all this harassment gets to me so badly sometimes that I feel like leaving the country right away! 😀
Indeed, sometimes is too much! … if you find any creative ways of fighting back, please share. That would be funny 🙂 — I show them the finger sometimes, call them uneducated or give them an horrible, disgusted look 😀

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