Hassle of Indian tourists

#1 Aug 17th, 2003, 18:44
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  • pooch is offline
#1
I am currently researching the possibilities of going to places in India I have not been to ever, almost the entire north. I would love to go to Kashmir but that's a place my gf's parents would freak out over.

Going through various travelogues and reviews I stumbled frequently on the hassles brought on by drunk Indian men, places populated by westerners and/or Israelis where Indians are not welcome etc etc. I really don't know what to make of all this. On one hand I have heard the tales of solo female travellers in the north getting groped and oggled at and the like but I still can't stomach the "indians not welcome" bit. I frequent clubs and pubs in Bangalore and Chennai and it's the fellow Brits who are the drunk lot , not the local Indians . I do agree the north is a different world altogether. but what exactly do these drunk Indians do? how are they an inconvenience to anyone other than them being loud, which is decimated in a noisier trance environment anyway.

I have come across those drunk Indian men but I found them to keep to themselves mainly, with a minority , a very small one, attempting to chat up women. I've only seen it as "they come drunk, get more drunk , prance about to music in an insane fashion, try chatting up a girl or two and then leave. So what's all the fuss about ? I'm also quite positive these very same drunk men end up as your fellow passengers on trains and the conversations although monotonous and boring would not give you a hint this is the same unwelcome drunk Indian in a different setting.

My point is more kind of it's their country and you can't get rid of them, it would be more helpful if people took the time to show them how to respect the sentiments of other people and what a false image Hollywood portrays of western women. Indians are quick learners and peace lovers and when it comes to their knowing they cause discomfort , they would cease such behaviour.
#2 Aug 17th, 2003, 21:41
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  • Apana is offline
#2
Being an Indian man myself, I can tell you that some of these chaps can get nasty, trying to pick fights etc. I don't think the problem is with Hollywood, I think the problem is with Bollywood and its song & dance routine and its macho men.

Furthermore, all of these chaps do not drink because they enjoy a drink at the end of the day; they drink to get drunk.

When I travel I ensure that I avoid hotels/resorts that attract these types, i.e., the cheapest places. One can often recognise these types when they're travelling, in a white Tata Sumo, they've removed the shirts, and have a towel hanging out to dry from a window.

I don't think you'll find the definitive species in the fancier pubs of Bangalore or Madras, just the slightly skin-deep refined version.

In March/April/May the nominative species is commonly seen in Hill stations such as Ooty, often dancing like maniacs along the Sigur ghat.

Apana
#3 Aug 18th, 2003, 03:26
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  • -m2- is offline
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in late-December you will find many of that type in Goa for the parties.

There seems to be some tensions even during the regular season as well, however. Some tourists find the men who patrol the beaches in groups oogling the western women annoying -- that a lot of the women are top-less is probably a big part of the problem. Someone even reported seeing a sign in a Mumbai travel agency advertising week-end tours to Goa to check out the bare-breasted tourists! I think they may bring their clients to Goa in white Tata Sumos as well; remarkable how many shirt-less men can be crammed into one

m2
#4 Aug 18th, 2003, 04:53
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  • neoncarrot is offline
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I think Apana hit the nail right on the head. Its the large groups of males in Tata Sumo's you have to watch, and they tend to be letting their hair down in resort type places. Brits do the same; go on holiday with money to burn with a load of your mates; drink you way through said money and make as many attempts as possible to get laid - however fruitless.

As Apana also rightly points out, these guys dont drink for fun, they drink to get as drunk as possible. I think this is a far more north than south Indian thing, (as is the hassling women thing) and Punjabis in particular drink vast amounts although they can handle it a bit better than most. My regular Punjabi cab driver in London and I used to compare hangovers on a daily basis and he reckons its a genetic thing for Punjabis.

I've travelled a lot alone in North India and met plenty of these guys in all male groups, and if you're a bloke and like a drink they can be good fun for an evening. But try the same thing while travelling with a woman and things can be quite different, and occasionally dangerous. People who would probably be respectable when sober sometimes grab bits they definitely shouldnt - even in company. A bit of outraged shouting will usually have the guys mates sort him out, but I wouldnt like my girlfriend to be on her own in that situation; the outcome could be OK or very bad news. Usually the common sense of the majority (even if they are pissed too) prevails.This is also a major problem for Indian women - 'eve teasing' as it is inaccurately put - is common on buses, trains and frequently in the streets. I suspect, like Apana that this has a lot more to do with Bollywoods notion of women than Western films. The women in the Kulu Valley were apparently not so shy years ago and would mix with the tourists until it became a popular destination for young male Indian tourists. There were a lot of incidents of "misbehaviour" by groups of frisky youths from Delhi and Punjab, and gradually the women have become less and less sociable with the tourists.

We went to the "hot millions" bar in Chandigarh a few months ago on a busy Friday night. The noise was average for a bar until we arrived. My extremely modestly dressed girlfriend was obviously the only woman in the bar, so a few hormonally charged local lads decided to try chatting her up, ignoring the fact she was with someone, which didnt get them far. A few of the louder pisspots decided to impress her by singing as loudly and tunelessly as possible, after 20 or 30 minutes it was positively painful ,but this being India we ignored it anyway. The bar staff were by now extremely nervous and anticipating a riot, and when I saw the manager pick up the phone I knew the fun was about to start. About 5 minutes later a group of 4 or 5 especially large Sikh cops walked in and silence decended. A lot of loud Punjabi Cop verbal later, one of the more ludicrous youths was made to apologise tearfully to my girlfriend, and a lot of underage middle class drinkers were carted off for unpleasant interviews with their parents. We found the whole thing rather sad and funny, but had it been a pub in the UK with equally hormonal kids, I would have been leaving in 5 seconds flat.

I'm rambling.

The long and the short of it is, it doesnt take long to spot these guys a mile away and work out who is going to be trouble, and avoiding them and the situtions that go hand in hand is easy enough; ignoring them being a good starting point. I also loathe the "no Indians" attitude that a lot of travellers have and dont pick bars, restaurants or anything else based on wheter its 'travellers only' (quite the reverse), which is about as low as I think you can get. I've never felt intimidated by the situations that happen,; most of the time its just hot air anyway, and we just steer clear of any situations that have the potential to get nasty. I tend to take the Indian view of morals in these situations.

I have never seen a pissed Indian male chat up someone elses wife while they were there - in Indian terms it would be extreme bad manners (extremely insulting to the man) and would be likely to have consequences (especially true of Punjabis) and as my girlfriend is always introduced as my wife (to avoid any ambiguities in terminology), anyone who crosses that line by slavering over her and ignoring me is likely to have consequences. A sharp warning and 90 percent of the time common sense wins.

For solo women travellers it is a lot better just to spot the trouble coming, but that can be easier said than done. A liberal definition of what constitutes "trouble" helps, and avoiding half a dozen male Delhi tourists in a Tata Sumo fits the bill nicely - most sane Indian women would.

As to the North, of all the States we have visited in India, by far the least trouble has come in Himachal Pradesh, whether in tourist areas or not, which is probably why we spend so much time here. The Himachalis are are extremely respectful of women as long as their sensiblities are respected. Lots of people here like getting very, very pissed, but I have never once seen a local guy hassle a female foreign tourist
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