Invasion of personal space and personal protection.

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#1 Sep 28th, 2007, 08:31
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#1
I know this is a controversial question, but...

I am about to embark on my first trip to India. While i am planning to stay away from the main tourist attractions for the majority if my journey, I am still expecting to be harrased by beggers, touts and drivers etc at various points along the way.

I have real problems with people invading my personal space and in particular grabbing at me or pulling me. If I respond automatically by breaking away from people (physically) if they are in my face, could this lead to trouble with the law or locals?

I'm not talking about punching or kicking anyone, just pushing them away if they are in my face or trying to pull me one way or the other.

hmmm... don't know how to word it any other way, and reading my post it sounds like I'm some sort of phsyco redneck, but I am not!! I think most of will understand what I'm asking.

Antisense ^_^
#2 Sep 28th, 2007, 09:02
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#2
you will find that many touts are very persistent in the way they approach you and encourage you to buy something. they will often not take no for an answer and repeat their offer many times over.

however it's rare to be physically engaged by a tout. it may happen occasionally, probably moreso by child beggars.

reacting violently is obviously socially unacceptable. you can gesture physically for them to let go but the use of actual force is in my view crossing the line.

the most annoying physical 'contact' i experienced were the rickshaw drivers who would hem us in as we walked while offering a ride. we'd have to double back around them to continue on our way. these guys often sleep on their bikes with a blanket and live hand to mouth. you need to keep that perspective before giving them a piece of your mind.
#3 Sep 28th, 2007, 09:14
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#3

jules has a great point,

put yourself in their sandals . . . sleep in their rickshaws overnight . . . patience is a good thing to over-pack . . . as are smiles . . . as is compassion. Remember what Dorothy said to her dog Toto (Wizard of Oz analogy) when they got to Oz . . . "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." You aren't in Kansas anymore . . . or Perth, or Melbourne. In large cities/heavily touristed areas touts will be more aggressive. Smile. Give 'em a Namaste. Walk on.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure - Marianne Williamson
#4 Sep 28th, 2007, 09:24
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#4
that's the best approach. once you learn to keep your cool and maintain civility you'll also enjoy your time far more than if you blow your lid.
#5 Sep 28th, 2007, 10:25
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#5
I can understand where antisense is coming from; I am sometimes like that.

But a firm 'no', even an angry sounding/aggressive 'no' is much better than pushing, and equally effective. As is ignoring them and walking away.

No, you will not get into trouble with the law or locals for a gentle push or breaking away. Groups of beggars may not be fazed by this, though.

What works is the realisation on the part of the touts/beggars that they are wasting their time with you.
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#6 Sep 28th, 2007, 10:37
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#6
I didn't experience any beggars or touts grabbing at me or pulling me. However, at one site I did have a couple of begging women touching my feet which I found very disturbing. Moving away quickly did put an end to that though.

But if you like a lot of personal space around you generally - like you might find in Perth, a wide-open city of only 1.5 million people - forget it! India is full of people, and everywhere you go there will be crowds, and people will be closer to you than you are used to, or possibly than you are comfortable with. When you stand in a queue to buy something (what queue?) the person behind you will be so close they are almost in front of you. When you get on or off a train, you will have to push right through people, and they will be doing the same to you. It is part of the fun of the place!
#7 Sep 28th, 2007, 12:11
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by vireya View Post I didn't experience any beggars or touts grabbing at me or pulling me. However, at one site I did have a couple of begging women touching my feet which I found very disturbing. Moving away quickly did put an end to that though.

But if you like a lot of personal space around you generally - like you might find in Perth, a wide-open city of only 1.5 million people - forget it! India is full of people, and everywhere you go there will be crowds, and people will be closer to you than you are used to, or possibly than you are comfortable with. When you stand in a queue to buy something (what queue?) the person behind you will be so close they are almost in front of you. When you get on or off a train, you will have to push right through people, and they will be doing the same to you. It is part of the fun of the place!
Well said Vireya!
There is no such thing as personal space in India. Not at least in the cities.
Antisense if you go with this premise (i.e.There is no personal space in India), you might not have much problem there. Otherwise you are in for a shock. I take that back, you are in for a shock anyway if this is your first visit
#8 Sep 28th, 2007, 12:31
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#8
If you are not on the tourist trail, you won't run into many beggars, so then all you have to worry about is the ricksha drivers who all want to take you to their favorite hotel, and who occasionally act as touts. You'll just have to learn to say "NO!"
#9 Sep 28th, 2007, 14:00
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#9
We often have to add the rider that 'manners' and ways can be very different among different peoples in different parts of this huge country; people tell me, for instance, that life up north can be much harder work than in our relatively gentle South.

I can see how people might be bothered by antisense's post. I could even understand how some may react by saying that India is the wrong place for him! But, like the Captain, I feel very much the same too! And it's a bit late to tell me that I've come to the wrong place!

There are many, many situations in which you just cannot avoid having people close to you. When you are in a crowded shopping street with many thousands of others, it may be uncomfortable, but it is not unreasonable. When there are just two of you in the queue, and the other guy insists on standing less than one inch away... And talking loudly in your ear on his mobile...

Or when there are just two of you in the entire street, and, somehow, you pass each other with only one inch space between!

Far from getting into trouble fro a gentle shove... in this part of India it translates into gentlemanly English as, "Excuse, me, Sir [Do not shove a woman], I wonder if I might ask you to move a little to one side so that I can pass? I do hope that I am not putting you to too much trouble and would be most awfully grateful..." . So, likewise, in this situation you should not take offence.

I'd advise you not to travel by bus (in cities), except maybe at the quietest times. A car is a great way to preserve your personal space (worked for me in London for many years ) --- so your requirement may cost you more than other more vulnerable forms of transport.

I'm probably going a bot over the top here. After all, its not as if antisense told us that he's claustrophobic; just that he resents touts and beggars hanging on to him!

It is not my way to avoid all beggars, except in situations where there are many, in which case time with one will attract all.

However, I absolutely agree with the Capt --- once they know they are wasting their time, especially the touts, they will leave you alone. Do not engage. Do not even make eye contact. Do not even answer. All sales people know that any response, however negative, is a chance to get in, to strike up conversation and establish a dialogue.
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#10 Sep 28th, 2007, 14:23
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#10
Short clarification - when I said "Forget it", I wasn't suggesting forget the trip to India, I just meant forget your requirement for personal space!
#11 Sep 28th, 2007, 14:37
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#11
[QUOTE=Nick-H;387353]We often have to add the rider that 'manners' and ways can be very different among different peoples in different parts of this huge country; people tell me, for instance, that life up north can be much harder work than in our relatively gentle South.QUOTE]

this is so true! i live in a small seaside town in kerala and am hard-placed to find any beggars/destitutes even on occasion when i need to! (there is a day in the hindu calendar called 'shradh' when one has to feed the poor.)
#12 Sep 28th, 2007, 14:43
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#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post Do not shove a woman
I broke this rule with a beggar at NJP station on my 2nd trip to India...

To be fair, it was logistically impossible to get out of the rickshaw, pick up my luggage, and pay the driver while she was continually poking me and shoving her baby in my face.

Now, with more experience, I would attempt to act as though she wasn't there.... which I suppose might still involve an "accidental" shove.... to be honest when beggars get that aggressive, they can't really expect impeccable manners in return.
#13 Sep 28th, 2007, 15:25
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#13
Thanks for all your input. And in particular, not flaming me

I know this might be a slightly touchy subject and many peple would just have easily said "well you shouldn't go to India if you're like that" but instead you have given me some great advice.

having read some of the negative stories on the forums, Iwas getting a little nervous. I guess I'm just going to have to let go and be swept up in the journey...

Antisense ^_^
#14 Sep 28th, 2007, 16:43
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#14
If people know you are NOT interested in them, they will go away soon.
Secondly, keep your cool. The world is not a bad place

"Your thoughts could be your prison"

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#15 Sep 30th, 2007, 10:08
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#15

language

if i remember correctly, the words CHELLO and JOW were used to tell people to go away. chello, as i pronounced it, was first said and if that didn't work, a loud jow seemed to be effective. learn some basic useful terms in hindi. i heard some wild yelling matches between indians, that lasted for ages. i was impressed as i thought that in australia they'd have come to blows long before.
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