Life is good. I could not have possibly hoped for a better reception to Bengaluru and India. The people have been wonderful and the food even better. Things have gone much more smoothly than I would have ever thought or imagined. There have been relatively few surprises, outside of the occasional super spicy pepper in my rice, and I have enjoyed the culture. This all being said, I think that the most striking thing about everything is the fact that I am not the center of attention. Running the risk of being perceived as a narcissist, allow me to explain. In most place to which I have voyaged, I am the center of attention. That is to say, people are constantly staring at me and asking to take pictures with me. As a taller than their average black man with dreadlocks, I expect to be stared at and quickly identified as a foreigner. Here, in the city as well as in village, nobody cares and nobody stares. At least not initially, publicly, or where they can be caught staring. That being said, if I sit down with someone or become comfortable with someone, they will definitely ask how I got this hair.
The culture here has been explained to me as “respectful but not necessarily polite”. People do not usually acknowledge each other when walking down a street or hallway. There are very few “good morning”s and even fewer “thank you”s. That being said, if you ask for help people are very willing to assist. As a foreigner, people are very respectful to me and I am treated well. All this being said, I am definitely not the center of attention. Nobody cares. Even in America, some people will be afraid to walk on the same side of the sidewalk as me or clutch their purses when I am near. Others in West Africa would stare openly and idolize me as a foreigner. But here in Bengaluru, nobody cares and I am just an anonymous guy walking down the street. This is not to say that I am at all integrated or mistaken for a local but nobody cares. I love it!
There is something so refreshing to blending into the masses and literally eliciting no emotional or gut response in people when they see me, if they even see me. Straight Ghostin/Coastin. I’m loving it.
I wish home/America was like this.