Having come back from India just over a month ago,
I thought this article in Slate was bloody
hilarious. It nicely sums up some of my own feelings about the sub-continent. In fact, I was in Mysore, like the
writer, and have to agree with some of his observations. I particularly enjoyed some of his descriptions about the
place which I thought were spot on:
When we leave the hotel and walk down the (urine-soaked) street, we get assaulted by auto-rickshaw drivers, by
hawkers, by tour guides … and by tiny children pointing to their own mouths. This last one is rough—at least the
first few dozen times. Sometimes these kids are part of a scam. They’re forced to beg by adults who run panhandling
teams. (We’ve read stories about teams that cut out kids’ tongues, to make them seem more pitiable.) But sometimes
these kids are just honestly looking for food. Because they’re starving. They might eat out of that big garbage pile
tonight. Once the dogs are done.
We were mobbed by kids in Mysore, and the writer is correct that it’s hard to tell who’s part of a scam and who’s
not. You can give money, but the sad fact is, once you start, you’ll be mobbed like a movie star, which is kinda fun
initally, but gets old quickly.