When travelling in India there are so many people who populate the country. When you are a tourist in India, it is easy to distinguish that you are different. Although I always try to be myself when travelling overseas, India is definitely a country I wanted to blend in at times.
In some cases, the less hassle the better
Elise and I have been to India twice now and we have learnt from our previous experience that if the Indians suspect you are a foreigner you will get hassled all the way down the street. If you are a tourist you are basically a walking dollar sign. Even as poor backpackers you have so much more money than the majority of the country, where 52% of the population live below the poverty line. I would do anything to survive as well. However after spending a couple of months in India it tends to wear you down and you just want to get some peace and quiet when you go outside of your room.
So my plan was to look like an Indian and I thought the best way to do this was to grow a dirty moustache like the Indians do. Now I am not fond of “the tash” at all but I thought if it brought me some peace and quiet in the streets then I was all for it!
While it might not seem like just growing a mustache will make any difference, the last time I was in India I was repeatedly mistaken for the famous actor Shahrukh Khan, so much so I was hassled for autographs from kids to taxi drivers.
Although I don’t see the resemblance, according to the Indians I was half way there! So, growing a moustache would get me over the line and make me look more like an Indian! Plus I haven’t really had an opportunity to grow a moustache when I was back in Australia so this was a good enough time to do it as any!
Did I blend in?
Well, not really as much as I thought I might. I obviously don’t look Indian but growing the moustache was an experience in itself! It is so bloody itchy all the time and it is a pain to shave around it every morning. To be honest it was way to much work for such a little reward. Plus, I looked like I should be in the 70′s show “Chips”. It was a bit of fun during my time in India, but I would wake up each morning and Elise would try to convince me to shave it off. It was more of a challenge than anything else, but I must admit that my face had never felt better after getting that hair off my upper lip.