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In Kolkata, the women don’t seem to care about the scorching sun and the suffocating dust, such a fresh switch from the Vietnamese with our own “hijab” (only eyes shown), and the Singaporean who seek refuge under awnings.
In Ahmedabad, women also wear “hijab” though all of them are clearly not Muslim. I was surprised and my first thought was maybe these girls just wanted to avoid stares on the street by covering up. And how ignorant i was. They have the same concern and came up with almost the same solution as Vietnamese. I have to give them credit because their scarfs look so much more elegant than our ninja masks, but maybe not protective (read hard-core) enough to our standard.

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– The second time that everyone around is staring straight into my eyes because of my physical difference. The first time was in Algeria. Except that this time the boys aren’t murmuring or screaming “Chinoise” to my face. And except that this time sellers and service workers of all types are trying to get more rupees out of me. Uhm, I’m probably biased. They try to do that to everyone inexperienced, Indians and non-Indians alike.

– Surprisingly low number of non South Asians on the street. First day, 2 East Asian looking persons. Second day, downton, some East Asians, some whites.

– Rickshaw, bus, tram, metro, auto, auto, rickshaw: that’s how i got around the first day. I think i’ve put my butt on every single kind of public transport here. And one reason why you shouldn’t expose too much of your flesh here is that it IS crowded, well except on the rickshaw.

In one of these auto-rickshaws, about 1.2 m in width, I once found myself with 1 high school boy plus 5 full-sized Indian adults, by which I mean people whose body girth is 1.5 to 2.5 times bigger than mine.

– Coming here after having retrained myself in Vietnam for + 2 months, I was still in total shock at the driving mentality. Autos dodge to the right, sway back to the left. The drivers here can certainly compete in Algeria and Vietnam; and I suspect that they’d win. Sometimes you find, only a few meters in front of your auto, hundreds of vehicles all rushing toward you. Another time, the back edge of a huge bus only half a span from your thigh.

Another scenario: inside a tunnel, cramped with cars and autos and buses, all within a few milimeters from each other, ALL HONKING, for no reasons, just like it was the most pleasurable thing to do on earth.

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