Friday, January 28, 2011

My Life as a Rock Star

You didn`t know I was famous, did you?  But I’m coming to the conclusion that I must be, and that I have a secret life as a rock star that I’m not aware of.  How else can I explain the kind of attention I’ve been getting lately?

I didn’t come to India expecting to blend in, of course.  There’s no way on earth anyone would ever mistake me for a local, as I’m a good deal taller than most of the women and some of the men, I’m paler than anyone they’ve probably ever seen and I’m the only redhead I’ve seen wandering the streets, including tourists.  And I knew that there would be a lot of people around, wherever I went (I’m not sure you can ever be alone in this country), so I thought I might get a few stares.

I do.  All the time, nearly everyone I pass staring openly (in a way that would be very rude in Canadian society) as I walk down the street.  Small children running after me yelling, “Hello!  Hello!”  Indian men crooning, “Beautiful lady, with smile like a flower opening”.  Women staring fascinatedly at this odd creature who dresses oddly and has very white skin.  (From the number of adverts I’ve seen here for “whitening creams" — that promise to bleach your skin fairer in just 7 days — I gather that whiter skin is a status symbol.  If that’s the case, Irish and Scottish genes put me effortlessly at the top of the heap.) 

What I didn’t expect was the paparazzi.  Men with cameras following me to take pictures as I roamed the Taj Mahal (especially as I sat on the bench with an Irish woman and two Norwegian girls from my group, very attractive women all and two of them blonde).   Parents sending their kids over to stand next to me as they snapped our pictures.  Women wanting to pose next to me as their husbands took several photos.  I’m starting to understand how celebrities must feel. 

And how very odd to think that my smiling face will show up in strangers’ photo albums; God knows what story some of the men snapping my picture will tell their friends (“This is my new foreign girlfriend”? “This is my mail-order bride from Canada”?).

That’s why I think I’m actually a rock star and I’ve just somehow forgotten that fact.  Either that, or I’ve suddenly become much more glamourous and fascinating that I ever seem to be at home; I can’t think of one occasion when a stranger stopped me on the street in Toronto to get his picture taken with me. 

Here, in India?  It’s happened at least a dozen times already, and I’ve been here about four days; a dozen times where they’ve ASKED to take my picture, I mean, and countless more when men with camera phones have blatantly snapped a photo without asking. 

Just the reality of my new life as a rock star.


  1. "with a smile like a flower opening" - now THAT is an awesome phrase, I love it!
    It's weird, isn't it, to be an exotic creature whom everyone wants to follow around and take pictures of? (We had similar, although not quite so blatant, experiences in Malaysia.)
    It's disconcerting enough to make you realize you wouldn't ever want to be famous, isn't it? LOL.
    Although, soak it up while it lasts, it is rather fun to be exotic! ;-)
    Very, very cool adventures, BTW, can't wait to keep reading more.

  2. Awesomely poetic, isn't it? They have a flair for overwright romantic melodrama here.

    I think it's a redhead thing, all the photos. Even the blondes in my group don`t have the paparazzi attention that I get. Who knew that what is a dime a dozen in Scotland is wildly exotic in other parts of the world?