Stories from India - people staring at the stranger

A friend asked if I had learned anything fun about India.

As a matter of fact, I did. In just one month I have experienced A LOT of episodes that can be considered fun. And I decided to post a little about it.

In English, for the delight (I hope) of those friends who cannot read Italian.

The first story would be about people staring at me. If you are touristing around India (and you happen to be white Caucasian), people will often intensively stare at you. A friend told me that some people who did not receive education and come from remote areas, may think that you are of a different human kind and, he says, they may want to touch you to make sure you're real.

To me, this sounds a little too extreme. But to be honest, at times you get that feeling.In any case, during our trips we met guys that were bold enough to ask to have pictures together. When they understood that it was ok, they surrounded us making pictures where we were shaking hands and putting arms around the shoulders!

This is so uncommon for me! But it's kind of cool, makes me feel welcomed.

Unfortunately, the feelings that I have when running outside the corporate campus are way less comfortable: people stare at me even more intensively!

Here, wearing shorts is uncommon for an adult, therefore I understand their surprise.

And running on the streets must be even more uncommon. From their perspective, I must look like a Martian that has just landed on planet India: I had kids running after me, teenagers mocking at me, adults yelling and waving from the bars. Once, a guy sprinted 50 meters to reach me. He scared me to death! Imagine the situation: you hear someone approaching from behind, but you don’t know what is going to happen...

I wondered if I was going to be stabbed or what. For some seconds, I pondered whether to accelerate and leave him behind, or wait and hit him as soon as he would come close enough.

But then, rationality kicked in. I realized that I was just a couple miles away from the campus and that it was unconceivable that anyone could attack me. Attack me for what? Steal my shoes? And then have the Indian Army beating everyone in the neighborhood for days? The rational side of my brains was correct. When the guy reached me, he made me a big smile and stopped, most probably he was just showing off with his friends.

My conclusions are:
1. I get scared too easily :-)
2. People in India are extremely friendly, but at times they express their openness in ways that are uncommon, if not scary, for an Italian at his first visit in the country.

As Ob put it, they just want to say hello and be friends. She is so right.
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