7 years ago, it began. I would just walk up to a foreign tourist and strike up a conversation with them about India and their views about her. My first interaction was with a Canadian couple back in 2009 in Junagadh, Gujarat (India). We talked for hours as we climbed up and down the holy mountain Girnar. Finally I received this email after they were back home. They loved our country.
Fast forward to today. I am a lot more shy now so I read the tourist reviews on the dear ol’ internet. A blog about another Canadian who stayed a week here said “Indians are the nicest people I have ever met, I love India”. I moved on to a related blog post and as expected the foreigner wrote “The people of India treated us so kindly and lovingly, we just love India”. This made me wonder, Why? Why do they love India so much?
The answer is simple and right there in front of you. We are biased. I would neither say it’s the skin colour that brings about the additional hospitality we show towards our foreign guests nor rule the skin colour bias out. We do have a fascination towards white skin, it’s given. The motives behind the conviviality can vary and may or may not be driven by the skin colour.
It seems to me that some may want to take advantage of the tourists as they clearly aren’t accustomed to the practices in India and hence become easy targets to loot. For some they are like a variety, a novelty never seen before or only seen on the silver screen. Some, like me, are just curious to know more about them. The list could be long, but most of all we just try to impress them in one or the other way. We never treat a fellow countryman the same way we treat the foreigner.
These special treatments we give our beloved tourists are mistaken as our genuine practices. This fictitious milieu we present to them are the impressions they carry with them about dear India and then these reflect in their blogs, emails, and videos. They love the India we give them, not the real India we live in. The India we live in is dirty, biased, dense, dark, scary, unhealthy and much more. I am not saying our country is all bad though, we do have a lovely country. Just like every other country in the world, we aren’t perfect. Yet, we give the tourists a better picture, a near-to-perfect nation, in form of a hoax.
Perhaps that’s for the best. Maybe the make-believe facade we create for the real problematic India is the persona the world needs to see. What we forget though is that this is actually a reality that India needs. I am just happy our tourism is boosting. I say keep ’em coming, just the way I tell the bar-tender for my drinks during Happy Hours.
Cover image source: Pinterest