Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Indians not allowed ...Madam

Marie and I reach Rishikesh after a nauseating but beautiful ride through the mountains overlooking the gorgeous emerald of the Ganga. We spot a couple of signboards for cottages and guest houses that we recognized from the guidebook as cheap places to stay. Marie waits downhill as I carry myself and my yellow bitchsack  of a handbag up the hill to EVERY single guest house there was.

At the first, called New Bhandari Swiss Cottage , if you please, I ask for a room and they take one look at me and say ' No rooms'. I walk up to the next one called 'New Swiss Cottage'. They refuse me.

I go to Mama guest house where a sweet Nepali waiter guides me to meet the Mama who he says will show me the room. When I meet Mama, she takes one look at me and says there are no rooms.

I can see that half their rooms are vacant. Discouraged, I walk on anyway and try THREE other places and I am refused everywhere. In my head, I am sure it is because I am Indian. I went back downhill and asked Marie to go try.


So, she goes up to the first place, New Bhandari ''Swiss Cottage'' and gets shown a room immediately.

I am so angry and humiliated by this point that  all I am thinking of is wanting to ''fuck their happiness''. So we go and check in anyway because of the lack of options.


At the reception the guy is kind of shocked to see me again with Marie and refuses to meet my eye.  I ask the guy why he lied to me about there being no vacant rooms. He tells me that Indians are not allowed. I told him that it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of nationality. He says that according to rules, he cannot take in Indians (Presumably, he allowed me because a) If I am the friend of a white person, I am safe? b) He just felt awkward about throwing me out  and risked losing Marie as a potential customer.

I continue to argue with him when he finally says ''Madam , since you insist so much , I have to tell you that these guys come from Delhi and disturb the Goras- the goras hate them.'

I am somewhat flattered to think that he believed that I had as much power as a ''bunch of guys'' from Delhi but seriously, why would I a young woman alone be a threat to his stupid Swiss cottage?


How can we be treated like this in our own country? Over breakfast , I tried to rationalize it wondering if those people from Delhi he talked about really caused havoc. But then, you can't generalize and I am still really angry and humiliated. What was the right way to respond? Just say that I didn't want the room or insist on my right to stay.


Ghanshyam Nair said...

Incredible India, no?

cwlq said...

So sad. Facebook stole all the comments on your blog post. The Internet is fucked.

cwlq said...

"How can we be treated like this in our own country?"

Please man, as if tens of millions of Indians aren't treated like this for much much worse reasons every day? I can't believe you are surprised something like this occurs in a country with such a long and proud tradition of racial discrimination. Didn't you just thoroughly document terrible treatment of Indians by Indians in your village diaries?

niyo said...

seriously. but i think you did the right thing. most people would have felt so humiliated they wouldn't have put up a fight. so i am glad you did..

Y? said...

@Ghanshyam : Wait, Is your real identity KK from ACJ? Wow! Thanks for linking me on your awesome blog by the wat.
@Chris:I don't deny that the basis of Indian culture is hierarchy, discrimination blah blah - wheter it is caste or religion or ..
but something about the fact that I approach Indian people..for a hotel room..and in this particular scenario my identity is indian and so is his/hers...and then they have the audacity to tell me i cant stay. and if we aren't surprised , shocked, what's the point?
@Niyo: Ya so I ended up staying anyway..i wanted to shout at him first thing in front of a couple of white tourists but he just wouldn't look at me in the eye for the same reason..but anyway..something I managed

Ghanshyam Nair said...

Well, yes. That would be me.