First off, it may sound funny and to be honest, after I am out of India, I will be able to laugh my head off about this but as it stands, I'm still in India and it's really not funny at all.
Basically, there seems to be a large number of Nepalese women who do actually come to India to work as prostitutes since there is no other way for them to make money, in Nepal or otherwise, and with the high level of ignorance and racism in India, Indian men see me (and I kind of look Asian, ha ha) walking down the street with a white man (my friend Matt), they just assume that I'm "working".
The situation hasn't been dangerous or anything, but it is well annoying and stressful for both me and Matt. It's impossible to walk down the street without men staring at me, often "accidentally" grabbing my hand or brushing up against me.
I don't want to add to the racism and make it seem like every single Indian man is doing this to me. On the contrary. A majority refer to me as "madam" as a sign of respect, even if it's a bit strange. And one night, when a young drunk man was leering at me on the street, another Indian man stood up for me and said something to him in Hindi. The situation escalated to a heated argument on the street and a crowd started to gather. I quickly left the scene but went back to find the kind gentleman the next day to thank him for stepping in. His response was "He was not right and he needed to be told that." Matt has been a knight in shining armor this whole time, protecting me when necessary.
So although I've been dealing with a lot of unnecessary stress and harassment from one side, I've also been able to see the side of some people that is good and noble, and that makes this whole experience not so bad after all.
© Connie Hum 2010