By Remi, translation by Amanda
Over two months that we are in India, we love it, a country full of surprises. It has been an explosive and spicy cocktail of noises, colors, smells, life, poverty, love, hate, spirituality: an awakening of all the senses. It is a country where each town is like a new country, a country that defies comprehension, a country where the most important rule is not to ask yourself why. Everything is possible in India! And the first person that you get to know here is yourself, yourself in your vision of the good and the bad, yourself as a white person with all of the representations that go along with that identity in this country: the positive and the negative. There is no half-way or half-assing here; you are always in the extremes. The tolerance threshold in this country is beyond the humanly possible limit. Anything can happen, from the worst to the best, from one instant to the next, from one city to another, the bearable to the unbearable.
We are solicited without end. Traveling in a couple attracts the curiosity of so many Indians; people here cannot conceive that we are traveling together without being married. All day long, obligatory photo sessions because the Indians want to take a picture with you above all else. You say yes to one an then find yourself obliged to continue two minutes later with some thirty-something indians taking your photo, paparazzi style! Or they want to pose with you, like a photo session with some star. Extreme in every type of situation. And that is every time you are outside of the tourist circuit, impossible to pass incognito. It's direct, just being there is a spectacle. Sometimes relationships can be fairly superficial or even primitive here, certain people look like they'd like to take a whiff of our butts as we pass by. Spending time with a westerner is often seen as a status symbol here, also perhaps explaining the photo obsession. We are often invites to eat, sleep, etc. Then after the solicitation without end from these people so full of kindness and curiosity, you decide to rest awhile on the beautiful white sand beaches of the Indian Ocean. You tell yourself, it will e a bit more touristic, I'll have a chance to breath and to relax, only then to find yourself with 90 percent white people, with more money than they know what to do with. They come to stay in an all inclusive, to put their big butts on the beach, and tripling prices in this little paradise. The turtles that used to come to lay their eggs have long been scared away, not to mention the lives of the locals that have been likewise modified. The price of the fish harvested from their oceans is now inaccessible, and new rules have been imposed by whites in search of cleanliness and calm.. Or the identical reproduction of what they already know from home, while the Indians work at the service of these ultra capitalist colonizers of the 21st century who continue to modify entire ecosystems to build their fucking hotel, restaurant... accessible only for one clientele. Once again, the extremes. All said and done, you can find your peace and quiet here, but all you want is to get out of there, so you no longer have to participate.