People are absolutely fascinated by Greg and I.
Most of it, I blame on our natural good looks; the other parts of it, I blame on being white.
Okay, maybe the latter takes the lead.
Either way, I expected a lot more westerners to be here. In our first 3 days of being surrounded by millions of faces, I could count on my head, shoulders, knees and toes how many of them were white.
We got so many stares, some which seemed to turn into fixations. I thought for sure Angelina Jolie was standing behind me (to adopt a 19th baby) for the amount of time people spent looking our way. At a park Greg and I were sitting at, an entire Indian family (extended relatives and all) came up to us in awe. Only one of the women spoke very broken English. The others had intent stares, friendly ones of course, but also pensive and perplexed. It seemed they wanted to say or ask so much, and we felt the same. One of the kids really got Greg’s attention, or maybe it was the blue, blow-up ball the kid had. All the while they were playing, the boy mustered up some English to ask what is your name? He had the biggest smile at our answer, realizing he’d exchange with a real, live westerner.
In a second run-in with the fans, pictures were flashed with me via cellphone camera. Of the 5-person family, each one wanted an individual shot except for the shy 8-year-old boy. He smiled and blushed, though, when I shook hands in depart and didn’t leave his out. Greg was off on his own being the photographer of the pair to have received the celebrity accost.
I also can’t tell you how many other young faces lit up and arms raised high to wave in our presence. I felt like Princess Diana at how genuine their admiring eyes were and tried to return an earnest excitement. It was cute to keep waving far beyond an appropriate amount of time and like always, my heart was filled by smiling children the same.
Sadly, though tale made me expect it, kids aren’t always chipper. Often times, they come lightly tapping at your arm asking for money. They’ll even knock on your car window and gesture their hunger, hoping you’ll open your wallet. At one point in the car ride, we got out to take a picture and a girl started running our way. A spirited girl, she was reluctant to walk away after we politely declined, so I started making silly noises, purely out of goof. She threw them right back at me until it turned into a laughing game of copycat. Though we weren’t giving her money, she was smiling at our interaction, and that made me feel contributing enough.
The overwhelming crowds in India continue to surprise me at every turn. What is particularly fascinating to me is the ratio of women to men that flood the streets here. I’d honestly guess there is one woman to every thousand men out in public. It’s a bit intimidating, but having boy Greg by my side eases the trepidation. Blaming the ratio on tradition, it’s the women who keep the home and the men who win the bread, er, naan.