On the way from our honeymoon, we stopped at Agra. The beauty of Taj Mahal was mesmerising. I can proudly say that I was wonderstruck by Taj Mahal more than I was by Eiffel Tower (this is my personal opinion). We had a gala time there, clicking pictures, prancing around, enjoying every bit of it. But you know, despite being among the cheerful noise someone was upset: a young foreign couple. We sat on the stairs to take some rest and they were sitting next to us; Swiss, Bankim could make it out from their language. Realising that he was understanding French, they introduced themselves: newly engaged and visiting India to celebrate. We engaged in small talks, what a lovely couple they were! The guy had an upset stomach due to the spicy Indian food he had last night, yet wanted more! No sooner did we ask them about their impression of India, a group of Indians flocked them. “One picture please with my family, please!”, the head of the group grinned. Initially, I was pretty amused. But the friendly expression of the boy changed, “No!”, a polite but firm voice. “Leave us alone”, said the girl hiding her face with a scarf. And what was most unbelievable, those shameless people stood there ogling them, some even ready to take a snap if the scarf slips for a moment or something. The man kept on nagging! I was feeling disgusted. We stood up and looked around, there was no person to ask for help. As far as we are concerned, in an unknown land, we were no match for a group of well-built men and their wives. The couple finally gave up and agreed to click a picture with them. Perhaps they realised that it was the only way to get rid of them. The entire group was overwhelmed with their victory and got instantly busy in positioning themselves. Of course, the leader instructed them. The frame went something like this: the boy and the girl were far apart from each other, three children were made to sit between them, a woman on each side, two men standing at the back, two on their knees in the front. The leader obviously took the first click, but later exchanged his position with one of the man in the front, who took the second click. As soon as the photo session was over, the couple hurried to leave, terrorised at the thought of being mobbed again. They looked at us and gave a friendly smile. I was so embarrassed, I do not remember if I smiled back. He shook hands with Bankim before leaving and said, “ We are facing this since yesterday, at first we were delighted, but we can’t take it anymore! We couldn’t enjoy what we came to see, people were busy taking photos with us. We have almost lost our privacy.”
We sat there a little longer, watching many more people running after foreigners for photos. I won’t belittle my people. Many of them were well behaved and were welcoming as well. Just due to some shameless idiots, few of our guests return offended.
We saw the sun set and it was time to leave. When we stood up, a very smart girl passed by our side, she was too a foreigner, probably traveling alone. I don’t know which country she belonged to, but she was not bothered by any, would you like to guess why? Because, Desi ho ya Videsi, Indians ko GORI CHAMRI hi achi lagti hai !!! ( Be it native/ foreign, we Indians, are obsessed with “fair-skinned” people.)
P.S: I don’t want people to generalise their idea of Indians by reading this post. India is a welcoming country, but sadly, this ugly side exists too. This post is for my fellow countrymen, to request them to not bother the visitors to such an extent that they pledge to never visit again! If you really want to strike a conversation or befriend them, be polite and don’t hamper their privacy; because ultimately it would degrade our reputation.