protecting personal space

#1 Oct 22nd, 2004, 05:20
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#1
First it must be said that public travel in India, like most places, does require some loss of personal space. It is not always possible to have as much personal space as we'd like in most forms of public transportation, anywhere. I've found it necessary to adjust my expectations when travelling in many large cities. As a Californian used to travelling by car this is not easy, but I enjoyed myself a lot more after I improved my attitude about this.
Is there any idea or perspective that made this attitude adjustment easier for you?

One important difference is, as a traveller in India, there are fewer places to retreat for some personal space. Other than retreating to one's hotel, what places can one go, on days where one is a bit road-weary, and have some personal space? Some places I found I was given more personal space were restaurants and temples.

Also just being a foreigner occasionally attracts intrusions into one's personal space that are unnecessary, aggressive, "playful", teasing, or otherwise unwelcome. For women this can be more threatening and sometimes has a sexual aspect to it. Other than shouting or swinging elbows, how do you handle this? For me, a palatable strategy is to "go native" in appearance and wear as few interesting accessories as possible. Of couse, I am still noticed, but I like Indian clothes and it gives fewer personal items to attract touching.

I know this issue has been "touched on" in other threads on begging, ear cleaners, rickshaw drivers, and bus travel, but thought it was worth discussing on its own.
#2 Oct 22nd, 2004, 05:28
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Good post, Chappal. The only time I've ever really felt bothered or oppressed was when I was overtired and out of steam. When that happens it feels like the whole world is closing in on me and wants me to change money or buy a carpet. So for me the answer is to make sure I get enough rest every night so I can go out and enjoy India's surprises and challenges every day. Under normal circumstances I feel like I thrive on the energy around me (ooh, how new age!!).
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--May a moody baby doom a yam.
#3 Oct 22nd, 2004, 05:49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iyou Under normal circumstances I feel like I thrive on the energy around me (ooh, how new age!!).
Good point! This is a basic characteristic of extraversion in psychology. I am more of an introvert myself, so it very important for me to watch myself and follow advice like yours about getting enough rest, etc.
#4 Oct 22nd, 2004, 07:29
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I just read a few pages on different sites about extraversion; from what I gather, personal space and energy levels would not be an issue unless you were actually talking to locals, or frequently interacting with them. Just being around lots of people would not... hmmm.... need to read more.
#5 Oct 22nd, 2004, 07:34
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i remember one irritable afternoon in jodhpur in 1989. i was waiting for a train due to arrive several hours later and didn't have anywhere to which to retreat. i eventually settled in a park, and despite much maneuvering could not escape the eager attentions of a stranger. (i was practicing some serious evasion tactics involving my backpack, hedges, a shawl and a book, no dice.)

anyway, i finally relented and indulged his conversation. all the usual yip yap, then he pointed up at the mid-day moon and asked:

"have we really been there?" wideyed. "to the moon? because if we have, that is the greatest achievement!"

oh. it was so plain the man was just being friendly and curious, and all the distance i'd built up around me had made me, well hum, ridiculous.
#6 Oct 22nd, 2004, 08:51
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I hope you told him that the moon-landing was faked to out-do the commies....
#7 Oct 22nd, 2004, 10:22
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That's a good story Tadka. We need to be reminded that most people are indeed curious and friendly.
#8 Oct 22nd, 2004, 18:29
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Once I was a worm, then became a sardine and moved into a tin with a bunch of others, after another birth I became vegetarian and went to see my spiritual Master along with 450,000 others. Having the opportunity to get Darshan, eye contact with the Master was a desire and along with the 450,000 others desirees we gathered, bunched and were feed into rows with steel barriers seaparating us into orderly lines, 4 for women and 4 for men and so we walked, well one could actual take ones feet of the ground and still move along.

Personal space, what is that I ask remebering the fun of it all, well everyone actually enjoyed the squishing together like a can of sardines once again. After that experience and even though I had my pocket picked, even thieves want Darshan and prashad, a blessed gift from a Master so to speak, money and it must have gone with His blessing otherwise I would not be mentioning it now.

So out in the streets when I run out of 'P' space and I need a little extra I now grab the person by me by the arms or shoulders, male only of course and say hello how are you with a very happy tone and smiley and by then I have moved them out of my way a little, everyone laughs and and we wobble our heads and I keep moving forward. Try it it is fun.

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