Frequent picture requests

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#1 Mar 13th, 2012, 13:58
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  • MissBees is offline
#1
I've been in Delhi for the past two weeks traveling around to different historical sites. I always dress in Salwar Kameez as recommended by IndiaMike but the funny thing is locals seem surprised to see a western woman in a salwar and want to take a picture. I get about 2-5 requests a day to have photos taken with me. The strangest are when indian mums come up to me, arrange their baby in my arms and then take a photo. I am not offended and don't mind a quick pose now and then but I'm just wondering if anyone else had this experience while they were in India. Is this strictly a New Delhi thing? Is it a cultural quirk? It only occurs at famous monuments like the Taj, Akbar's tomb even holy sites like Jama Masjid. I have enclosed an example of me at Akbar's tomb with a family+baby that requested a few photos. Thoughts?

My computer skills are terrible. If the photo is not coming through please let me now.
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Last edited by biman; Mar 13th, 2012 at 14:03.. Reason: merged posts
#2 Mar 13th, 2012, 14:11
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Originally Posted by MissBees View Post I've been in Delhi for the past two weeks traveling around to different historical sites. I always dress in Salwar Kameez as recommended by IndiaMike but the funny thing is locals seem surprised to see a western woman in a salwar and want to take a picture. I get about 2-5 requests a day to have photos taken with me. The strangest are when indian mums come up to me, arrange their baby in my arms and then take a photo. I am not offended and don't mind a quick pose now and then but I'm just wondering if anyone else had this experience while they were in India. Is this strictly a New Delhi thing? Is it a cultural quirk? It only occurs at famous monuments like the Taj, Akbar's tomb even holy sites like Jama Masjid. I have enclosed an example of me at Akbar's tomb with a family+baby that requested a few photos. Thoughts?
It's normal and all over India. The curiosity/interest factor is more if you are wearing an Indian dress and the chances of someone asking for a photo is more near a well known monument. Reason : A foreign tourist is more likely to accept their request for a photo near a monument than in a town/city or remote location and a photo infront of a monument is memorable than elsewhere.
#3 Mar 13th, 2012, 14:46
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Its a normal occurrence with white tourists all over India. If its ladies requesting you to pose, I guess it is harmless but dont be too accommodating of men, especially groups of men - young or old.

It is your call no doubt.

Just mentioning in passing that I have personally seen these boys/men trying to put an arm around the white lady or come up extra close just as the picture is about to be clicked. Ive also seen them trying to be extra familiar with the white lady after the photo has been taken, in Ooty of all places, not even North India. That poor lady was enjoying herself peacefully in a garden but just to get rid of these unwanted intruders, she picked up her books and left.

PS: The photo displayed above looks very innocent and harmless.
Travelpod / Flickr


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#4 Mar 13th, 2012, 14:49
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We're just back from five weeks in various places in India and were amazed by the number of people who wanted to have their photo taken with us. We weren't wearing local dress. When we asked people why they wanted a photo with us in it they just laughed. The most popular place for this was the Golden temple in Amritsar but it happened in many other places.
#5 Mar 13th, 2012, 18:08
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Thanks gang. After one gent used the proximity of the picture to brush his hand against my backside I now have a rule of either turning down requests from groups of males or simply standing beside them. It's good to know this will happen no matter where we are in the country. It's certainly something quirky that I didn't expect coming to India.
#6 Mar 13th, 2012, 18:15
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I also had people ask me to take pictures with them either in local dress or while I was wearing a t-shirt and cargo pants. It was in front of monuments. The very first time it happened to me, I asked the family if I could have a photo of them, and now I have a very nice photo of a wonderful family I met in India.
#7 Mar 13th, 2012, 18:55
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Same happened to me in December in Mumbai at Gateway of India. I was with my Indian friend & dressed in western clothes. A woman who spoke very little English asked. I thought she wanted ME to take a picture of her & her family. She asked her young boys to say "hi" to me & shake my hand & then they were standing next to me. I was confused but turns out she wanted pics of her, her boys & some other man WITH me. It was awkward for me but my friend took a picture, too, so I have a blurry pic of it all as well.
#8 Mar 13th, 2012, 21:32
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I always advise my guests to refuse point blank. No point leading them on.
#9 Mar 13th, 2012, 22:16
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After one gent used the proximity of the picture to brush his hand against my backside I now have a rule of either turning down requests from groups of males
Oh God !!!
But not surprising at all.
#10 Mar 13th, 2012, 23:32
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Originally Posted by Matka View Post I always advise my guests to refuse point blank. No point leading them on.
That seems needlessly churlish, but hey whatever floats your boat.
As long as no one's misbehaving, I don't see the problem.

In my experience, white male visitors to India have also been asked to pose in photos. They got a kick out of it, & no one was offended.

I would never have told them to refuse because that's part of their experience in India, and since they're not being cheated or getting hurt, why not let them decide what's right for them.
#11 Mar 14th, 2012, 02:17
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I think especially at monuments, they are also tourists who enjoy the experience of tourists sights. And all those different people in unfamiliar dresses are just part of the experience, arenīt they? Havenīt we all got pictures from india of people with beautyfull saris, turbans or whatever? Myself I also love to take pictures with/of people in India, but often I dont, because I am to shy to ask. I also dont like to take pictures of people without asking them. But as Indians mostly are very outgoing and communicative they have no problem with this. I rather like the Indian way of asking for pictures- but I feel very uncomfortable when someone tries "steel" one, which is also not uncommon.
#12 Mar 14th, 2012, 02:30
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A friend of mine who was studying in Delhi used to get repeatedly asked for photos, several times a day, often from groups of giggling males. She developed an excellent strategy - she would say: "yes, no problem, but photos are 100Rs each". She found that this instantly rebuffed most opportunist bum-touchers, but on a good day, she'd also make a few hundred roops. I believe she still did nice families for free
#13 Mar 14th, 2012, 12:23
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#13
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Originally Posted by [B Matka[/B];1366588]I always advise my guests to refuse point blank. No point leading them on.
Quote:
That seems needlessly churlish
I think that is sensible advice Matka, not churlish at all.

The problem with misbehaviour is that it usually occurs at the exact time the shutter is pressed or immediately thereafter. When the men make the request, they are usually cringingly polite. It is after, that the misbehaviour occurs as Miss Bees narrates:
Quote:
one gent used the proximity of the picture to brush his hand against my backside
Ive seen it happening so often that I am determined to warn the unsuspecting white lady in future, if I see this again.

It is disgusting to see boys of 18-19 years behaving like this. What kind of adults will they become? Though I expect it is group behaviour. Most of those boys on their own may not have the guts to emit a squeak before an unknown woman.

------------------------
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyBoy View Post A friend of mine who was studying in Delhi used to get repeatedly asked for photos, several times a day, often from groups of giggling males. She developed an excellent strategy - she would say: "yes, no problem, but photos are 100Rs each".
Good idea but perhaps better to quote Rs500 to start with. A lot of those males might consider Rs100 a bargain to be able to have a free feel!
#14 Mar 14th, 2012, 17:38
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Having lived and studied in India for over two years, I think "churlish" is a harsh label for people who want to refuse pictures.

I always refuse picture requests, politely but firmly. It makes me very uncomfortable. My only exception are people I've had a conversation with (such as my berth mates on a train) but then it seems reasonable we'd both want a photo to remember the fun times.

I would echoed warnings that if young, white women take pictures with young Indian men you will almost certainly be shown to friends as the "foreign girlfriend".
#15 Mar 14th, 2012, 18:11
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oh, yes, young men, they are different from the nice family photo. I am very cautios with them also. But once I was asked for a photo by two young men, boys really, in front of Victoria Memorial. I could see them coming for half an hour before they found enough courage to finally ask for a picture. Then they stood at arm-length away from me. Very shy and also a little bit funny. They where from a small village in Jharkhand, and I have also lived in Jharkhand for some time. It was their first trip to a city, and to Kolkata. They where overwhelmed by the experience. We had a nice chat and afterwards I was glad I did not send them away.
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