Culture,  My life in India,  Personal

“One photo, madam!” (Being photographed in India)

If you’ve never felt like a celebrity, one visit to India might give you a taste of what it might be like 🙂 “One photo, madam!” – I kept hearing this phrase in stores, gardens, museums, malls and even trains.If I counted how many times I was requested to be photographed with groups of teenagers, married couples, kids and the whole families, the number would be really impressive. The more “exotic” your appearance is, the more likely people will consider you a worthy object for their photography experiments.

It may feel a little strange at first, and you just wonder what so special about you and why a person would take a photo with a total stranger. What are they going to do with the picture? Share it on FaceBook with their friends? Keep it in a family album? But actually India is such a friendly and inviting place that you’re ready to accept the rules. Isn’t it lovely to pick up a small kid and feel his little arms around your neck while his parents take a photograph? Or to have a quick conversation with a group of college girls who will reward you for the photo with heaps of shining smiles?

However, if you don’t feel comfortable being photographed in India, don’t hesitate to say a firm “no”. After all, you don’t want a photo of you and a strange guy to become an ad for a local matrimonial agency, or even worse. Quite often people take pictures of you without asking your permission. Don’t hesitate to object. Sometimes in such cases my partner takes out the camera and pretends to photograph  girlfriends and wives of the men who take photos of me. The way they react! But, excuse me, what’s the difference? 🙂

I remember when I was visiting Qutub Minar in Delhi an Indian woman approached me and asked politely to take a picture. When I said yes, the whole group of her travel companions, mostly men, came running and started taking photo after photo, not hesitating putting their hands on my shoulders and around my waist. To be honest, everything happened so fast and I was so shocked that I couldn’t even say a word. But then in Agra and all the other places I was already more experienced and always listened to my inner voice whether it’s fine to take a picture with a person or not.

Anyway, my “photo experience” In India is mostly positive, just look at these momentos I’ve got 🙂

With a little boy in Elephanta caves

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With another little boy at the Gateway of India

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“Daddy, look, a big Barbie doll! Can we take a picture with her?”

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Delhi, the Red Fort

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In the sweets shop, Navi Mumbai

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People take photos with my mom and my daughter Alexandra

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And with my son 🙂

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