Real India

11:43 AM

Ooops, sorry for not writting much these days. 

The thruth is, I've been pretty uninspired. And Diwali, Jasmine and now  the upcomming Christmas is making me realise where the time went by.
But let's go back to Diwali (which was on October 21st), my dad and stepmom came over after touring Rajasthan to meet me after 3 years of absence and to get to know my hubby in the process. While my dad was happy and is a good open minded traveller. My stepmom didn't leave such an impression.

As I said, they toured Rajasthan and had plenty opportunities of seeing touristic traditionnal India so the 4 days in Bangalore were supposed to be less touristic and more gastronomic. And, of course, about celebrating Diwali with us. 

On the first day, SM (stepmom) complains about the fact India is noisy, dirty, dusty and crowded, and then ask how we cope with it. She said that while we were on the way to one of the big shopping mall in town where I had to go to have a watch strap adjusted.
As soon as we entered the mall and I told her that this was were we hanged out for our shopping and movie needs, she said "I hate it, it's like Switzerland, this is not REAL India".
I said nothing, as I knew she would not like the fact that we have modern stuff too. After all, India is for many Western tourists just about the bright sarees, holy cows, mad drivers, temples everywhere, and street bazaars, topped with dirt and misery.
We then went to a more traditional market to buy some Diyas (oil lamp) and we took them along. And I swear I would have loved to shrink and disappear because of SM's comments: "It's SOOOOOOOO lovely, so real!", "Oh look a fruit market, it looks so colorful" and then pointing directly at a women in a bright saree selling flowers "Isn't it lovelly the way she sits and sell flower", "Oh I need to take pictures"....and she snapped around producing this very snap above of me standing in the bazaar. All the while making sure to mention a zillion time that "This is real India".

Let's summarize. The beggars, the workers carrying loads of bricks on their head, the cow dung, the filthy bazaars, the auto rickshaws and Ambassadors were real India. But she despised the fact we go to movies in multiplexes, go shopping in malls, and the fact that some people drive imported cars. Basically DH and I are according to her, living in "Fake India" (not that she blurted it out loud). She wanted to buy fake Lacoste and Ralph Lauren shirts and got irritated when I told her it was not as big a market as in Thailand. And could not believe that buying the real thing would still be cheaper than in Switzerland anyway. 

In the end we took her to Lacoste, where she admitted that it was indeed a bargain but immediately critisied the fact the shop was looking posh and westernized. BREAKING NEWS : Lacoste IS a posh brand to begin with!!!!!!!
And she was happy to buy crappy T-shirt from the street later that evening. The same kind, with the very same quotes on it that she could buy at the flea market in Geneva but paid twice the price for in India because she could not bargain. In Delhi, in her quest of buying only in the "real India" shops she ended up paying 4000 rupees for a badly stitched nylon Salwaar Kameez that should have cost her no more than 400 rupees! Not realising that for the price she paid she would have gotten a designer top in Switzerland and probably 3 designer tops here in India.
My dad confessed she bought that salwaar suit on the very first day in the very first shop without knowing the prices, and of course without listening to the advices about buying in a fixed price shop or a mall first to get to know the prices practiced for such items. On top of this she tipped everybody 10-30% and probably made a lot of "Real Indian" very happy at cheating "Real Foreign Tourists".

Ironically, coming from Geneva, and living in an appartment in the city, she is not exactly living in the "Real Switzerland" tourists picture in their mind. No Swiss Chalet on a lush green pasture surrounded by snow capped peaks? What kind of Switzerland is that when you buy your milk from a carton in a supermarket accross the street?


  1. Hélène10:06 PM

    Ha, ha that was a very funny post, Cyn !

  2. Oh I completely forgot about that one :) I should revisit my old posts more often


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