Foreign Vacations-1

on Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I am no Christopher Columbus .But whenever I can wheedle a few days from my boss, I head out to some remote location in India where I can get some peace and quiet from the junta. Lately however I have started noticing an annoying phenomenon wherever I go, namely the ubiquitous foreign tourist. I just can’t escape them. Whether you are backpacking up in the remotest of Himalayan Regions or snorkeling in the deepest of seas they will find a way to pop up beside you somewhere, grinning like a good natured ape.
The one thing they will NEVER be without is their bulky camera. It is almost a rule of nature that they will sling their camera around their neck with a lens long enough to be a barrel of a shotgun. You have to be really careful when you are out trekking with one of them. They will take photos of ANYTHING. Period. Whenever I used to take a leak behind a bush I used to be as alert as a hunter. I caught sight of the foreign hiker skulking around my bush a couple of times. I think I narrowly missed being “Exhibit A: Native Indian does Pee Pee on local flora”.
There was this time when I was bathing on this remote beach near Bengal. Indian beaches
boast of another unique phenomenon,” The Bathing Aunty”. They come to the beach clad in resplendent layers of Saris and finery. This lady had her middle aged husband with her. Suddenly without warning the lady jumped into the water with an almighty leap. These ladies never venture beyond a couple of feet of water. In order to experience the beach in totality they however proceed to lie down in the shallow water and roll about like a beached whale. After a couple of kicks underwater from her I proceeded to move to a safe distance. Not the foreign tourist. He must have figured out that this was some kind of local tradition. He proceeded to film the whole event with his multiple Zoom feature. Everything was ok till the man realized that that in all her rolling his wife’s sari had ridden up her leg, showing rather hairy legs. With an almighty leap he leapt on his wife legs trying to cover her modesty all the while shouting “Photo naa leebi” or some such thing. The foreigner had to be pulled away forcibly.
Another perennial favorite is to take photos of impoverished naked Indian Kids standing in front of suitably decrepit huts. The kids found this a novelty at first. So they gave suitably sad poses with all seriousness. Eventually they got bored. So now the photos have captions like” Sad Naked Indian Kid raising a skeletal middle finger”
Another thing they never travel without is their copy of “The Lonely Planet-India”. It is a book which is invaluable to them as it is written by fellow nincompoops who have been there-done that and then painstaking noted down the details in a book. “Observation 42: Do not apply vermillion paste on Hindu cow’s sacred forehead. Hindu cow becomes violently Un-Hindu like.” And many such inane observations and trivialities fill the book.

Wherever these foreigners go, they are usually followed by groups usually consisting of desperate guys who are out to have their moment in the sun. They strike up a casual conversation with the foreigner.

”Where you from, Madam?”

“Err... Azerbaijan”
”Oh Yes Madam, my father’s cousin brother also from same baighan madam. One photo please madam?”
And out comes their 1.2 Mega pixel camera and a suitable friend is found to capture the moment which leads to countless moments of joy back home. ”Dekh yaar,potti mere pe fida thi yaar,Dekh kaise haath haath chipakke photo liye” And some admiring friend looks at the photo in envy and goes in search of his very own foreigner to torment.

Another sight to behold is when they encounter street hawkers, peddlers or beggars on the street. These people are trained well to recognize that these jokers fall for anything. So they make a big circle around the foreigners and start chanting in a suitably poverty striken tone.

“Madam, this marble stone from Taj Mahal Madam, look at Shah Jahan’s handwriting on the stone-Madam.

“Give me 1 dollar; I can eat for five days Saar, Look saar- four brothers and three sisters Saar”.

“Saar-photos from Kamasutra saar-Only five dollars saar-you and madam also same same doing saar-Super saar.

You get the picture.

Apparently these people do nothing at all in their country. I’ve overheard conversations like how the lady from Australia works as a receptionist for 6 months and then holidays for the remaining 6 months with the money she made for the first 6 months. I mean, honestly?
How many of even big MBA type people can boast of such a thing in India huh? You leave the office for even 1 month and return, you see 3 or 4 people have moved into your cubicle and have made themselves comfortable. They might even mistake you for the office boy and order two packets of tiger biscuits and a cup of milky tea.

The Indians retaliate by making themselves even more obnoxious abroad than their counterparts do in India (If that’s even humanely possible).

But that’s in Part 2.


Vinie said...

Its nice...but I think you've written funnier and more interesting stuff...:)...nice nonetheless...

Revathi said...

//Sad Naked Indian Kid raising a skeletal middle finger

Ha ha!! Hilarious!! :D. I have to agree with u.
another thing which foreigners love to photograph are the sadhus with a long beard.
and u forgot to mention how the foreigners try to appear all "indian" by keeping a bindi, or wearing a saari in the most uncouth manner possible, wearing prayer beads etc..!! :D

Nice post!! :). Waiting for part II!!

Anonymous said...

Chuckled all through.Liked your post - has the kind of humor that I look for.

Srinath S said...

@ vinie: will try to write better and live up to ur lofty expectations:P

@ revs : thanks:)

@ anoynomous: Thanks but pls reveal ur identity next time:)

Suraj said...

I suppose u did take a photograph with a firang with ur "1.2 megapixel" camera. Hilarious post buddy!!!

alekhya said...

been following ur blog since i chanced upon your blog b4 coming to IMT.
well,in my 3rd sem now-made it 2 alcom,and it is cos of wonderful inspirations like you that in spite of many textbook-worms around me here, i still believe MBA is true blue fun-nothing else!


Srinath S said...

@ alekhya

thanks a lot:)

am glad to know that.


good observation.... and more so, a very apt description.... keep it up...

Raka said...

this is hilarious! the aunty with saree riding up her legs brings back vivid memories of my vacations in puri!but along with the saree there is also the 'nightie' which is worn at all hours and not just at night at the indian beaches.sometimes hey even have a tire around their huge bellies! lol