My ancestry traces back to the pastiest of white ethnicities on the planet. I’m American-Irish/Polish and in India I might as well be albino. Growing up in Syracuse, NY (among my fellow pasty compadres) I’ve never experienced being a spectacle purely because of my skin color but as soon as we landed in the Mumbai airport I realized I’d get my first taste. At first it was just a few stares here and there and extra attention from beggars but then it upgraded to full on paparazzi level stalking.
When we visited Juhu beach for example, before our feet even hit the sand we had a circle of locals surrounding us, awkwardly asking if girls in our group would be in pictures with them. Luckily I somehow avoided being in pictures on the beach but fast-forward a few days to when we visited the Gate of India and I wasn’t so fortunate. I just hope someday I come across them on the internet.
If this has taught me anything it’s how not to deal with someone who is different when they’re visiting your country. The attention is extremely uncomfortable. It’s also shown me how much it must suck to be famous, with everyone staring at you and taking pictures when you’re just trying to enjoy the moment. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining about this trip though, because this journey has been the most exciting of my experiences with SU abroad so far. Every new experience here has taught me something and I’m so glad I decided to come here.