Friday, August 19, 2011

India Bashing...Popular Tourist Activity

I think the Indian Tourism Dept should get together with our Great Indian IT Wizards and create centers of India Bashing activity for the unhappy tourist...

I have read plenty of writings written by Foreign Visitors to India, "concerned" about our various "issues"...traffic, pollution, corruption, heat, smell, etc etc. There have been some really "thoughtful" and "deep" complaints...some real "heartbreaking unhappiness" over this issue has been expressed as well. But none made much of an impact on me as listening to a writer actually read such a piece. 

Suddenly, I had this vision, of setting up India Bashing Centers (IBCs), preferably near airports and around hotels. As soon as they land on our soil and actually see soil and freak out and before this terrifies them completely along with the traffic, the air, the dogs, cows and hidden snakes, they can destroy everything potentially hostile in the world of virtual reality and create a pure, sterile India sans traffic snarls and holy cows, pollution and power cuts... in short along their own needs, in those IBCs. Maybe after this kind of cathartic activity, they'll have a better chance of being happy in India for a week or two or three whatever... we don't want our guests spending so many days of their life in unhappiness now, do we? Athithi Devodbhava and all that....

Are you wondering why listening made me so sad for their ordeal while reading didn't impact me much? While reading it in a book, no matter how evocative the writing, the tourist trauma did not come through as clearly as it did when the writer actually read it out. Can you imagine, making all those plans, spending all that money and getting to India, only to collapse in utter disbelief and discomfort? Their vacation utterly ruined! How devastating that must be to them!! We are actually making them forget their very human status by inviting them to our dirty country...if you don't believe me, pay close attention to their complaints for heaven's sake! Their misery is all encompassing...they feel so brutalized that they forget concepts like compassion, analyses, balance, cultural and lifestyle peculiarities and priorities...

How can we be so blind to their sufferings? We can't change our country unless a combination of plague, fire and earthquake (PFE) wipes out half the population, which is obviously not the alternative would be to create IBCs...with the PFE option of course, so, if they want to indulge in virtual destruction, instead of verbal destruction and jump in glee, they can do that as well!!


  1. Nicely written, Roona! You make an excellent point. Sorry for our ignorant American travelers. Thank you for sharing & helping me to never be (inadvertently) such a terrible guest. I hope you are well! -Michelle Borsz

  2. Thanks Michelle, You couldn't be such a terrible traveler even inadvertently. I guess some people simply cannot grasp a different reality where the good and the bad differ much from what they are used to.
    I am doing well and I hope things are going great for you too!

  3. Pretty shocking that people can be so dense and ethnocentric; pretty hard to understand! As you said in your comment reply to Michelle: "I guess some people simply cannot grasp a different reality..." To me, then, the question is why don't they just stay home? And if they do visit, I wish they would spare you (&everyone) their ignorant opinion!

  4. Thanks Julia...You are right, I wish they would spare everyone their ignorant opinion...I don't have any issues with them identifying problems as long they balance it with either some of their positive experiences or a genuine understanding of a situation and its complexity...simply whining in clever rhetoric feels so horribly negative and I feel publishing something so one-sided is irresponsible as well.

  5. The biggest complaint from female tourists (and women in India as well) is all that sexual harrassement they suffer from the wandering, agressive hands of Indian men. What do you call it - "eve teasing" or some such cute thing?

    But sssshhhhhhhhhhhh nobody should know about that. Mean, mean foreingers and mean, mean women for bringing it to the fore, right?

  6. Bharatiya Nari..I don't disagree with you, faced enough of that myself growing up in India!; hardly anybody writes about's all about bashing up aspects of anybody's regular life in any country; like the place, the weather, the traffic, electricity, essentially the material comforts of life etc. And two; like I said in one of my comments, I don't have an issue with people writing about the "problems" of India as long as it is a balanced perspective...every country is a sum of its parts, it can never be a magnified picture of your particularly favorite one nasty part!
    And for the record, eve teasing is neither a cute term nor is it considered's an offence punishable by law and many women in the country have taken recourse to this law.

  7. Oh there are plenty of firangis writing about "eve teasing" (SEXUAL HARRASSEMENT). Plenty.

    And sooner or later our people are going to have to become comfortable with the word "sex" and not try to cover it up with silly aphorisms like "eve teasing".


  8. BN...we seem to have completely drifted away from the premise of my post which has nothing to do with eve teasing!
    I find it interesting that you think the term came up because Indians are not comfortable with the word sex. "Eve Teasing" is not a constitutional term, in all likelihood, some journo came up with the term to make for an interesting headline and it stuck to our collective lexicon...anyways...thanks for the comment, it's raised some thoughts that I think are too long for a comment, so will write a post about it.