Indians and Danes travel in different ways. Danes travel more and with backpacks. Indians travel less and with fanny bags.
What’s with us Indians and our travel uniforms of white sneakers and fanny bags around the waist? Before you accuse me of stereotyping, go to any airport and do some people and passport watching. My own father wears a travel uniform of business clothes – shirt, tie, trousers -with sneakers and fanny bag!! Oh the shame!! I understand why we might find it safe to keep our money close to our crotches, (no one wants to go near sweaty, humid, tropical crotches) but running shoes for flying? That part stumps me.
Ugly fashion choices apart, Indians travel with bigger hearts. A typical Indian tourist will buy up the entire souvenir shop just to be sure there is a present for each one of his/her friends and extended family. A little something from ‘phoren’. Danes on the other hand, will send measly postcards from warm places, making you feel wretched about being stuck in cold Denmark.
Indian travellers will go further and act as your personal courier for gifts, messages and home-made food, if you have family and friends living in their destination. There is always extra space in our suitcases. If I meet an Indian, even a relative stranger, I don’t hesitate to ask if they will carry some gifts back to India for me. Danes on the other hand, will agree if you are very lucky, but not before asking a dozen questions and unwrapping everything to make sure they are not being turned into drug smugglers.
This personal courier service helps us Indians in our motto of never sleeping in a hotel if we know someone in a city. Why waste good money that can be used to buy kitschy souvenirs on a hotel room? It is mutual, Indians love having house-guests. This unique Indian sense of hospitality and ‘apnaapan’ means, whenever I am in India, I sleep on the couch or floor of a friend’s house, because they get REALLY UPSET if I choose a more comfortable location and way to sleep.
My friends N & B were in Copenhagen for a few hours to catch a plane but not before they insisted I send them a long list things I would like from India. In spite of illness in the family, snowpocalypse and cancelled flights they found time to meet me and give me my loot.
I can see Indian’s giving the picture a WTF look. Hello! Old Monk is the BEST rum ever and Ponds cold cream rules. When Natasha went to buy the creams, the shopkeeper tried to hard sell her newer, more modern zamane ka creams. Ha! Ha! She got me enough poppy seeds to start an opium business and enough heeng/ asafoetida powder to make me “fart for eternity”, her words not mine. Come summer, I will plant the coriander and fenugreek seeds for an endless supply of fresh dhania and methi! Up next, tandoori chicken tikkas with Old Monk rum.