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An NRI, A Rucksack And The Homeland

An NRI, A Rucksack And The Homeland

January 27, 2010

Backpacking around India as a female Indian raised more than a few eyebrows – and a lot of questions.



Have you heard the one about the female NRI with a rucksack? I wish it was a joke, but the reality was, backpacking around India as a female Indian raised more than a few eyebrows - and a lot of questions.

For starters, locals could never quite figure out me out. I was Indian. Tick. I was clearly not poor as I ate out and stayed in hostels. Tick. Ergo, they thought I was mad. ‘Why do you want to join all the gora (whites) eating cheap street food and staying in wonky beach huts with no hot water?’ was a common question.

Wrong. Just because I was Indian (well, via Uganda and Essex), didn’t mean I had to stay in Hiltons and Hyatts and dine in the gymkana club restaurant. If I had, budget limitations would have restricted my trip to precisely 0.5 days. Instead, I wanted to see India the way I’d seen Thailand, Vietnam, Argentina.... meeting locals and fellow travellers, gorging on cheese and chutney sarnies at street markets and staying in local haunts.

And most of the time, after a little chat, the locals got it. They realised that being an Indian from the UK meant I still viewed India with foreign eyes even though part of me felt right at home too. But on the odd occasion, it wasn’t so clear-cut.

Take Bangalore for example. I’d left my friend to continue her travels to Kerala and booked myself into a comfortable three-star hotel in central Bangalore for my last night before the long flight home. As I approached my room, I noticed the door of the room opposite was wide open and three Indian men were sat on the floor chatting. They smiled and I said a polite hello before entering my room.? ?Inside, I treated myself to the first hot shower in two weeks, ordered room service and settled in for a night of trashy satellite TV followed by a good night’s sleep. Happily snoozing away, I was woken up at about 11pm by my phone. It was one of my neighbours from across the corridor asking me how much I charged and when I was free as he was ‘on heat’. I jest not.

Naturally, I told them where to go, but before phoning reception to lodge a complaint, I blocked my bedroom door with all the furniture I was able to move, just in case the three musketeers turned out to be raving loonies who thought a high-class hooker had just snubbed them. I know this furniture pile-up went against all fire safety common sense, but at the time, I felt their burning loins were a far greater risk than that of any fire. But I learnt my lesson. I’d be sticking to wonky beach huts in future...

5 Comments

  • HARRY
    By
    HARRY
    17.10.12 11:14 PM
    I will Now that you said it
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    17.10.12 02:33 PM
    Given below are three hotels in Delhi and one in Chennai. I have been with groups of people several times. I never had to go through the reception to call my friends in another room.

    I do not know what hotels you have stayed in.

    Radisson Blu Hotel
    New Delhi
    Paschim Vihar

    Radisson Blu Hotel
    New Delhi Dwarka

    Hotel Oberoi Maidens
    Delhi

    Radisson Blu Hotel
    Saint Thomas Mount
    Chennai

    Check it out.
  • HARRY
    By
    HARRY
    17.10.12 01:40 PM
    Well the hotels that I have stayed in so far didn't have that system. To call the other rooms you have to go through reception. I have stayed in six different hotels in Delhi and other places and this wasn't the case.
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    17.10.12 06:22 AM
    Room numbers are on the door of every room of any hotel. To dial the telephone no. of another room is easy as ABC.
  • HARRY
    By
    HARRY
    17.10.12 01:23 AM
    @ Meera

    You should have refuse to pay the hotel on what they did by giving your no. to total strangers because I wouldn't have and if they disagree, then I would have told them that you are going to the police and you will write a bad review about them on the tourist website. You are too soft woman.

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