Why do people laugh at me?

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#31 Oct 11th, 2009, 02:24
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#31
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post What percentage are very silly?
Approximately 50% fewer than the number of people who are merely fairly silly.

A large percentage of the population of India is slightly silly, as are most of those who have spent any time there. I believe this is a direct result of mental scarring which occurs during dealings with Indian bureaucracy...
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#32 Oct 11th, 2009, 08:28
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#32
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Originally Posted by Haylo View Post Wow... I'm polite because that is who I am, not because I have rated other people on a "deserving of politeness scale".
#33 Oct 11th, 2009, 10:00
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#33
Lozza, I admire you for writing an honest and vulnerable description of your experiences and feelings. It took guts to share this, because you may have expected the tone of a few responses you've received. Most are empathetic, understanding advice (thank you, Camelgirl), but a couple verge on the "blame yourself" mind-set, with holier-than-thou pronouncements and warnings of loneliness if you don't get over that un-cool Western indoctrination you have brought with you. Pulleaze!!!!

There's a differnce between laughing AT and laughing WITH...and I suspect you are intelligent and intuitive enough to know the difference.

So here's an idea: when you're being laughed at in the style you describe, turn around, look 'em right in the eye, smile broadly, maybe point (or is that "impolite"?) and laugh loudly "Ha Ha HAAAAA!" Or carry a mirror and point it toward them. Maybe those who have a good sense of humor, or sudden realization of how YOU might feel, will relax, laugh in an inclusive way, and attempt some welcoming conversation.

Or are my Western cultural expectations showing?
#34 Oct 11th, 2009, 11:27
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#34
This isn't about a Westerner's experience in India, but Peter Hessler, in his book River Town, which is about two years he spent as an American Peace Corps volunteer teaching English in a provincial town in Sichuan Province in China, talks about a similar phenomenon of being laughed at.

Often the people actually were ridiculing him, but as others here have noted regarding the behavior lozza has experienced in India, their reactions seemed largely attributable to the fact that he was a "novelty" and they were uncomfortable with him. Nevertheless, his realization that that was the case didn't necessarily make their reactions any easier to take. It's easy to advise somebody to "ignore" this kind of behavior, but if you have to put up with it day in and day out from all quarters, it "gets old," as the saying goes.

Anyway, Hessler's book is fantastic and I highly recommend it, not the least because it really captures what it's like to live as an "ex-pat" in a very different culture, in a place where there are few (or no) other foreigners around.
"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a manís character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln
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#35 Oct 11th, 2009, 11:31
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#35
Rebeccam: "Or are my Western cultural expectations showing?"
Is it not an Indian desire to be engaged? Forget that you are a foreigner.
#36 Oct 11th, 2009, 11:48
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#36

re-read it

Aupamanyav,

Absolutely, it is a desire of people in India--and daresay, the world over--to be "engaged."
It's what I love most about traveling, when blessed enough to do so. The sense of communicative "engagement:" which I found omnipresent in India, makes me dream of a return trip.
The last sentence of my post, which you quoted, was a reaction to a previous, rather preachy (my opinion, at least) unsympathetic answer given to the writer who started this thread.
#37 Oct 11th, 2009, 11:49
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#37
lol.
I can say that people in India are not used to see foreigners everyday, and when they see one, its like seeing a rare phenomenon of nature.

They just enjoy the moment with a smile, giggle or a laugh, Of-course they can't do this in front of you, so they enjoy at your back.

Just try to ignore it and think it as you are special to them. Don't take it personally. It happens with most of the foreign tourist.
#38 Oct 11th, 2009, 11:51
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#38
I can attest for something that I used to do often, in a not-looking down way.

The accent. Should it be significantly different from the locals, it'll be a source of mirth among friends but not in a negative sort of way.

Has that even happened with you in say top notch malls, in say Bengaluru? If it happens there, then we need to worry.
SMASH!!!!
#39 Oct 11th, 2009, 12:17
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#39
"So here's an idea: when you're being laughed at in the style you describe, turn around, look 'em right in the eye, smile broadly, maybe point (or is that "impolite"?) and laugh loudly "Ha Ha HAAAAA!" Or carry a mirror and point it toward them."

Hello Rebeccam

This is giving your power away. A dog barks and you bark back; this attitude is aggressive and wouldn't help.

They are Indians and I am a foreigner = separating.

Truth is, they are humans and you are one too.

As long you cannot experience this within you, you will always be in a (possible) position of conflict with who ever and those "who ever" is your imagination of been separate.

When you can live Advaita (non duality) on a daily basis, you can only see God's creation; everyone is your brother and your sister...
#40 Oct 11th, 2009, 12:39
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#40
Woof woof.

Empathy and humor, the ability to laugh at one's self AND others, and to be silly...

What are your favorite tapas?
#41 Oct 11th, 2009, 14:18
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#41
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Originally Posted by hitanshu View Post The accent. Should it be significantly different from the locals, it'll be a source of mirth among friends but not in a negative sort of way.
Oh accent! The Bengali (Oshutosh instead of Ashutosh), or the south Indian (yam, yan) for the North Indian, and I am sure, conversely too, the North Indian for Bengal or Tamils. Or even that of UP in Punjab or Punjabi in UP. That is the material for jokes. Funny, hilarious.

In case of a Bengali doctor in Rajasthan: 'Tumhari ghodi mein kya boja hai?' To a North Indian 'ghodi' is a mare. So instead of 'What is the time by your watch?', it becomes 'What is the time by your mare?'.
#42 Oct 11th, 2009, 14:23
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#42
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Originally Posted by rebeccam View Post Woof woof. Empathy and humor, the ability to laugh at one's self AND others, and to be silly ..
All, that is all that is there to life. Tapas
#43 Oct 11th, 2009, 14:26
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#43
omtapas,

interesting. I'd much rather recommend a state of non-response. just plain ignoring it.
i like the spiritual reframe you've taken. nice!
#44 Oct 11th, 2009, 15:12
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#44
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Originally Posted by rebeccam View Post holier-than-thou pronouncements and warnings of loneliness if you don't get over that un-cool Western indoctrination you have brought with you. Pulleaze!!!!
Oh dear, did I sound that holier than thou?

The bottom line is that Lozza cannot change the people of India, the only thing she has the power to change is herself and her own mindset. If she cannot do that, India may indeed not be a place that she will be happy visiting again, as she suggests in her OP.

That would be a shame, because India and its people have so much to offer visitors, but it's certainly not somewhere that everyone likes, nor should anyone feel that they "should" like India.
#45 Oct 11th, 2009, 15:19
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#45
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Originally Posted by Aupmanyav View Post All, that is all that is there to life. Tapas
Life is defined by Mexican food?

OK... Just as likely as anything else!

If anybody wants to try and teach others that, say, coughing in another person's face spreads disease, then, if they succeed in getting the message understood, they will have done a small positive thing. But what use is it to some girls in an Indian village to know that some foreigners don't like being laughed at. By all means, point it out if they come to your country, but while you are in theirs, accept, and even enjoy.

What's so wrong with laughing at another person anyway?

As for the guys, well, if their giggles come with an unwanted mental grope, then you are entitled to object. Probably won't get you very far, though. Like my evangelical desire to teach the road users of India to driver safely ---- a complete waste of time! (As my wife repeatedly points out to me).

So, for all the people who take the "teach them a lesson" approach, I think you are quite wrong. Laughter doesn't hurt, it doesn't spread disease, and even if it is out and out mockery it hurts nothing but the ego.

<crossposted with Haylo, who put it better>

<apart from the mexican food>
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