It is one of my least favorite aspects of India.
Indians sometimes ask me how I am adjusting to India. Is the food too spicy? Is the weather too hot? Those things are fine, good, and aren’t necessarily true.
In truth, it is a subset of young men in India that make my experience negative. I may regret saying this, but it is Indian people (some, not all, young men) themselves who make adjusting difficult.
I am reminded of when, these past two weeks that Sam and I traveled, we were accosted by groups of young men.
At the Baghjatin train station outside my house, men yelling, smiling and waving, saying “Hey You!” And not in a friendly way.
At the Borra Caves in Andhra Pradesh, a group of young men, standing outside of the gate, staring, laughing and asking, “From which country? Where are you going? One photo?” And not in a pleasant way.
At the Konark Sun Temple in Orissa, a UNESCO world heritage site, and finding that we are the tourist attraction, men asking for “One photo.” As if we are zoo animals to show off to their friends.
In a taxi with Sheela on the way to a friend’s house in Calcutta, hearing “There’s a bideshi (foreigner)! Hey you! Hey bro! Bro! you! Hey Hi Hey!” from a group of drunk soccer fans in a truck bed. And not in a nice way.
Young men, when in groups, are aggressive and juvenile. I’m not sure if it’s a need to prove masculinity. I’ve been in India long enough to become used to this, and I’m surprised that I’m still so shocked by it, having lived in South Asia for a long time. It doesn’t have to be this way.
It’s India number 1 social problem.
It needs to change.