The ‘Tourist’

Gaming the system for a kilo of rice in India.

Comments: 20

  1. Your story reminds me of one told by a long-ago boss. Having graduated and worked in another area for a few years, he wanted to return to his hometown to settle down with his new bride and start a family. Since it was a one-company town in our field, however, he had to be very careful during the interview process not to let the HR people know of his compelling reason for seeking a job there. The company flew him in, and, since the job was well above entry-level, gave him the VIP treatment, taking him around town and showing him the sights. Only after he had accepted the job, as well as the doubtlessly higher salary, did he sheepishly tell his hosts that he had been born and reared in their city. In my opinion, there is no shame in deceiving people who would otherwise try to take advantage of you.

  2. In both the article and your story, I don't see that anyone was trying to take advantage. The shop owner merely wanted to sell clothes. the company to hire a someone for a job.

  3. Good story.

  4. Thats a good story. I'm glad the editor allowed a writer to submit it.

  5. Should have bought something...beautiful.

  6. How wonderful... :)

  7. The same in Bangkok but the TUK TUKS get gas when they bring you to a tailor of Pakistani decent or are nationals in Thailand.

  8. Love the street hustle of India. I had a similar experience in Udaipur. I grew up in Punjab and have called the US home for the last 30+ years. Walking around Udaipur I was waved over by a friendly Sadhu (Holy Man) with the words "Picture, Picture". He was quite a sight, in a loincloth, long hair piled on his head in a bun with a lean ash covered body carrying a Trishul (trident). I willingly obliged, capturing a fantastic portrait of him leaning against the roots of an ancient Banyan Tree. As soon I was done his next English words were "money, money". I let loose a storm of choice Punjabi swear words, starting with his possible ancestral lineage of canines to, well enough said. Needless to say he parted my company with a scowl and an unhappy countenance.

  9. I had a similar experiences in India with motorized rickshaw drivers. The alleged reward was a liter of petrol. But was intended victim of the con really the shop-keeper? Or was it me? Think about it. You have to be sharp to survive as a rickshaw driver in India.

  10. Every society has many layers -- india particularly so! Thank you! Beautiful story

  11. People mistake even an Indian who may look like a foreigner just because his skin colour is white. Such situations are faced by Indians,and they are offered foreign exchange by touts at tourist spots. Even the people from North East India are mistaken as if they are Chinese,or from some other Asian nation like Thailand,or Japan. Sometimes,people from the North East face unpleasant situations especially girls.

  12. Some of my best experiences in third world countries is just talking and conversing with street beggars and vendors. They react so positively to someone who is interested in their life story and treating them as equals. Americans typically do not feel comfortable around beggars or people who they perceive are trying to rip them. Deepak's adventure in Lucknow provided him an insight into a business/survival strategy that he would not otherwise have been aware of.

  13. Refreshing snippet of a touristy day in India. My visits to india get usurped quickly by family, meetings etc. It is nice to break away and see India from perspective of foreigner and and enjoy what we have seen million times but never looked.

  14. It's an unfortunate situation, but Mr. Singh is right to feel guilty. Essentially, he performs an act of charity that someone else pays for; progressivism in a nutshell, as it were.

  15. Life is hard in a lot of countries including in the US, where to just putting food on the table for you and your family, one has to toil hard. Appreciating what you have is important.

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful nugget, Mr. Singh.

  16. I think it was kind of you to help this man. Does not seem to me that harm was done. Having just returned from my first trip to India, I feel like it's a country where you do best if you follow your heart and not your head.

  17. Just feel good about the story.In true indian way,helping someone who is asking for it.
    Like it.

  18. If you think about all the "scams" in the world, this does not seem like a very big one.

  19. I've always participated in this game--India and Thailand especially. Sometimes we've hit five or six shops at a time, and the "dashes" often are paid in cash. I get to see the high end of the tourist business and then I get to see the low end, when the rickshaw driver and I share a street meal before parting ways. (I pay, of course).