|GESINE GLAESER Phone: (49) 6221-160 122 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org|
How / Travel Guide|
The mysterious sea world
Fishermen & Boats
Rikshaw & Comedy
Racism & again money
Water & Food
|Racism and again money|
Especially in South India, where people have a darker skin tone, not only compared to westerners, but also to Indians from the north, racism is a serious issue. |
White folks are quite popular here - mostly because of their money. Apart from that they are considered as unclean (they eat with their left hand) and immoral (the way they dress and behave). Besides that a bulk of the "colored" people finds the white skin unattractive and somewhat unnatural.
Once a boy, who I have known for many years, asked me in confidence: "Do you think that if you stay here much longer, with all the good sea air, the food and the coconut oil for your hair, that this will get you normal skin and beautiful black hair?" I was quite amused by this idea and told it to some of my local acquaintances and to my astonishment they curiously asked me: "Really? What did you reply? Do you think that would work?" Then I understood.
Beach fashion is not the appropriate attire for a walk downtown or for a visit to the temple. If a white person is not dressed properly that is considered as an offensive behavior. But no one will directly tell you that!
The whiter, the richer: you are white so you must be rich. Wherever you go, in whatever dress. Recall that, even if you are not considered wealthy in your country. Bear in mind that no Indian, no matter which caste, with an average income could ever afford a trip to Europe, even if he saved up for his entire life.
"What is cost, what is caste?" a fisherman once asked me at a local tea stall. "We fishermen come all year round to the same shop to drink our chai (tea). We even have to pay the raised tourist price for this dishwater!" Normally a tea costs around 4-5 Rupees, the tourists at the beach pay 6. So I asked: "So you are paying 6 Rupees for your chai?" - "No! 7 Rupees." I was confused and asked why so. He responded, "Because: Sorry no change money later!"
When a tourist doesn't tip or haggles for peanuts, like bargaining over 5 Rs. when buying a coconut, it is not because he's poor. It is because he is stingy.
Reflect on your appearance. You need not throw money around, but consider honoring good deeds. For example, don't forget to tip the unobtrusive watchman at the temple, bank or store who watched over your rickshaw while you were inside. Who knows, he might be useful sooner or later. Or as Hindus believe: he could be Krishna (God).
"Oneself shines equally in all"
Swami Vishnu Devananda