|Growing our adopted global family, Lucknow.|
This happens a lot: once a day at least when we are at tourist spots. And even though we have learned to pick up the pace as the next group of admirers approach, we mostly don't mind. In terms of attention, don't they say it's better to be talked about than not talked about at all?
We had the same on our Africa trip, except no-one had smartphones then so a photo wasn't an option. We thought they just wanted a dab of our Western stardust. In those days this translated into your phone number or email address, not information you're inclined to give. Sadly when this wasn't forthcoming, or after to our shame we had given a false email, it transformed into a request for money. At least nowadays the photo seems enough.
|"Left a bit, that's it, give us a pout, love. Beautiful!"|
So why are they doing it? I used to think it was just a minor form of celebrity worship. In the same way that if you saw [celebrity of your choice] on a nearby bench you might jokily request a selfie. That is if you were less a timorous Brit and more a robust Indian.
|Normal Western behaviour, Burma|
I'm developing a better theory. In Sri Lanka I got down with the locals and bought myself a traditional wraparound longji (as photo) . When I arrived in Burma I continued to wear it. They wear longjis there too, so it seemed OK. But it transpired over time that mine was seen as ridiculously garish compared to the local version and moreover I was tying it at the side, as women do, instead of at the front, as men do. So imagine a man walking down the high street wearing a purple polka-dot dress. That was me.
I only found this out because the locals couldn't stifle their laughter. Thankfully two nice people explained the situation after they had caught breath.
But it's made me reconsider the whole celebrity thing. What other cultural faux pas are we committing? Do my sideburns mean I'm up for something unmentionable? Is Jo's hairclip the icon of the Allahabad Monster Raving Loony Party? Should we never sit together on a bench? Individually these things might be small but as an aggregate... we probably look like complete clowns.
|We got our own back on these friendly rogues in Kolkata|