On a recent journey into blogs, I came across a reference to this article written by expat Americans living in Delhi (that is Delhi, India, not Delhi, NY or Delhi, LA) about how they became tourist attractions for middle class Indians. Having been one of those middle class Indians who had barely seen a handful of foreigners throughout my entire life in India, I could understand exactly what the blogger was talking about.
That said, I wanted to share what I saw on our recent trip to India (Red Fort, to be specific). There was this oriental lady who wanted to get a picture with a local lady, who was absolutely photo-shy. While the coaxing was going on, I managed to unobtrusively take a picture of my own (though, like the blogger did, I should have taken the time to go and ask them for permission!).
Then there was the time when we were in Fatehpur Sikri. We were just following our guide around when I came about this dude who was sitting still like the Buddha. I took a picture immediately (of course). Immediately, his two companions approached me and said “50 Rupees please!” For a moment or two, I was speechless and flabbergasted! Then I realized they were joking (I hope!) and we all burst out laughing.
Bottom line, the touristy behaviour cuts both ways. Whatever a human does not see often is something that he or she wishes to keep a keepsake of, in one way or the other. Sometimes the souvenirs come in the form of a picture postcard and sometimes it is in the form of photos with the kind of people you don’t normally see in your daily life.