About Anger

I'm a pleasant person to be around. I get along with people, play nicely, and tend not to provoke, cause problems, disagree or fly into fits of rage. I rarely argue and am, all in all, a bland and likable fellow. This is, at least, how I think about myself most of the time, because this is how I am to myself.

I know they say that traveling's really all about you. It has little or nothing to do with the actual country you're traveling in, since introspection is the main souvenir you want to bring home. You've learned something about yourself, perhaps you can't put it into words yet and perhaps it doesn't really show in any significant way when you still get up and have a comfortable and relatively peaceful breakfast back home, but it's there. The hidden knowledge about yourself, something gross, perhaps, or beautiful, who knows?

Just a poor, innocent tuk tuk driver, not knowing that this crazy white woman is soon to descend upon him... 

The point of this is that seeing a slum, or even better, touring a slum and speaking with (not to) the locals, makes you a better person. This isn't just traveling and it certainly isn't tourism, it's Traveling and Education and Becoming A Well-Rounded Human Being With Regard For Others And An Understanding Of The Unfairness In The World As Well As His/Her/Their Own Privilege.

I knew this, as I have a quite privileged education. And since I am a pleasant person it was my goal to remain this way WHILE also Traveling in India (note the big T, folks).

Pleasant people do not yell at taxi drivers. Pleasant people also don't get unreasonably mad when someone who's obviously a million times poorer than you is trying to cheat you out of what's actually less than $1. Neither do pleasant people lose it with the tuk tuk driver who obviously doesn't speak English and probably didn't understand where you wanted to go in the first place.

Looking at this gorgeous and superbly scenic photograph of a Kashmiri landscape it's quite hard to believe that this was the Indian state where I was without a doubt most angry!

So I'm a terrible person, I guess. But jokes aside, it was actually very unsettling to see how I reacted in a way I just didn't think was... me. Obviously I can justify myself and say that I was extremely annoyed by constantly getting unwanted attention from people, in some places more than others. Kashmir, for example, is a prime example of a place I will never go again without crossdressing since we (being two young women WITHOUT the company of a Responsible Adult Male) would not be able to walk down the street without hearing "Where are you from?" and "How are you?" from almost every passing male. 

Then I'm supposed to say that it's a courteous and hospitable culture (which it was/is, in some parts more than others) and that those men were simply being helpful and welcoming. And I was a visitor, which I get, I know it's not Norway where nobody will talk to you EVER unless you're closely related by blood, in which case you'll be bound together forever. 

I know this is the age-old question of How-Am-I-In-Another-Culture-And-Can-I-Even-Complain-About-This? Maybe it's not very original either, but I just don't know how to think about this. Do I store that version of myself away from other situations when I feel harassed? Is it more okay to be harassed in a foreign culture because I, after all, chose to go there, and is it less alright for me to be upset about it? Do I adjust my expectations because I'm traveling in a place where women are thought of differently? If so, how? 

After this extended rant about other cultures not being like my own, let's just throw in a picture for good measure of myself doing all the wrong things in India. Spot the vices!