Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Where Are You From?

As I've written before, the novelty of having westerners around has basically worn off in both Delhi and Gurgaon (i.e., the National Capital Region, or NCR). So even though we've traveled outside the NCR before, I had kind of forgotten that white people, for lack of a better term, are still a bit of a curiousity to some people, and more often to children. Even while waiting at the gate for the bus to take us to the plane, a small group of children lead by the oldest boy, Nikhil, approached us to ask where we were going. His family (yes, what looked like much of the extended family as you might expect in India) had been on a holiday to Shimla which is a hill station north of Delhi. They were on their way home to Udaipur. I've never seen a group of children get so excited as when we said that was where we were going too. Quickly, the rest of the family came over to meet us as well. For a second, I was convinced we were going to get an invite to dinner (we didn't).

When we arrived in Udaipur it didn't stop. When our rickshaw broke down, we were immediately swarmed by children who wanted to talk to us, but more importantly to get their picture taken, and even more importantly to see their image on the digital screen. While we were touring the City Palace in town, Lindsay was again approached by a shy young girl and her mother. For some reason, the girl really wanted to meet Lindsay (I mean, let's be honest....who doesn't?). While I'm not sure exactly where this family was from (I was too busy taking pictures and looking surly so no one would approach me), it's possible that we, or more appropriately said that Lindsay, is one of the few westerners that this little girl might ever speak with, at least at this young of an age. There's some level of implied responsibility with that kind of interaction as Lindsay (Luth) might be the lone impression this individual has of the United States outside what they see in the newspaper about that other Lindsay (Lohan).
Ambassador Luth greets the youth of Udaipur

It also goes to show the general friendliness and inquisitiveness of the people here. Maybe I was just an anti-social child, but I can't imagine as a kid that I would have walked up to a foreigner just to meet them and find out where they were from. In fact, I'm pretty sure that that kind of thing might be frowned upon at home.

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