Being an ‘Alien’ in your own country – India!

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My country is huge, geographically and culturally. It is not everyplace that could be called universal, in the sense that not all places would give the comfort to come and stay for people from around the globe. But there is this one place we can all call Global with a capital ‘G’. Coincidentally the place has it name beginning with a capital G as well — Goa. Although when I say ‘Global’, I might be meaning it metamorphically than literally. Being Global is good, it could not be termed in a non-positive way. But yet I plan to refer to ‘Being Global’ in a not so good fashion. What makes me say so is more interesting!

Airfare? Boom! — Earlier this year, I planned a monsoon trip to Goa. Monsoon being an off season in Goa, I had expected the flight tickets rates from the eastern side of the country to be cheaper as compared to other seasons. The rates seemed to get no cheaper; rather it was as expensive as it gets during this season considering similar distance of travel.  In fact travelling to Thailand or Singapore from the same location would cost me half the price. Now that makes this place, although within the same country not a ‘just-getup-go’ location. Though it dug a hole in my budget, I decided to go anyway

Taxi fare? Really now? — So once I landed at the airport in Goa. I headed straight to the taxi stand. Going by the usual trend, I tried my hand at bargaining. It seemed like a complete no-no. Yes! And why not? the taxi drivers were too comfortable with the prices the foreign tourists pay. So without a penny less I had to pay atrocious rates to travel to my hotel in Baga. The taxi drivers have such an air about themselves such as they know if I refuse to pay his price, & he loses a customer, he would extract that from some other foreign tourist at double maybe.

Cafes! Indian who? — While I waited for my friends to arrive in Baga via a separate flight & city, I decided to get dropped off at a happy looking café on the beach until my friends arrived & then we would head off too our hotel together. I had trouble understanding how the waiters were busy serving the foreign tourists in the next table and did not bother to come to my table even once, as if I weren’t even sitting there. It took me 2 shout outs to the waiters to come & take my order, with a very ‘blah’ attitude. Sad that this is the treatment I would get in my own country. Sigh!

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Menu! — I noticed an English & a Russian menu, both were there on the café table. How about a menu in Hindi menu too! Hindi! Heard of it?

Shopping! — So the very day we arrived, in the evening we were in the mood to check out some of the roadside shops & vendors. Now do they pretend to not care about you! Boy! It is depressing. I was busy flipping through the things on display and bothered to ask the price of one of the things there, an apparel to be specific. Pat! Came the reply from the vendor?

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‘It’s too costly’ said the vendor. What??!!!

We strode off without much fuss!

These were some of my not-so-proud experiences in Goa. It is utterly sad & beyond doubt devastating to feel like an alien in your own country. We have a saying in Sanskrit ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ meaning guests (foreign tourists in this case) are equivalent to God. I understand all that but also have you heard of the saying ‘Charity begins at home’. Be nice to the tourists who come from far flung countries but not at the expense of treating your own people like they don’t exist. Be nice! We aren’t asking your services for free, we are paying equally, respect that. How could be expect Indians to be treated well when our own people are not doing the same in our own country.

Above all, stop discriminating people on the basis of country & origin! Treat everyone equally, since we are all humans.     

 (PS: For a hurt Indian to all the Café, hotel, shop owners, vendors & taxi drivers in GOA)

Note: I love my country & absolutely love Goa, but I would rather be honest and accept the flaws it has as well.

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