Why I Feel Like a Tourist in My Own Country


Why I Feel Like a Tourist in My Own Country

Illustration: Akshita Monga


couple of friends and I recently found ourselves in a Himachal Pradesh village. While walking through the village, we discovered a rare breed of foreign traveller. The male of this species – known simply as the “hard-core”, for its ability to run up mountains flawlessly in broken chappals – was attempting to perform some very advanced yoga on a shaky, downward-facing rock. One of his legs was placed in a manner that indicated he was attempting suicide, and the other pointed to the sky in the most awkward tribute to the sun since the days of human sacrifice.

Undeterred by two shocked locals who had gathered to “dekh pagal ko”, the hard-core attempted to tie its hair into a bun mid-asana with one hand and reach for his sunglasses with the other. Soon enough, this act of extreme fitness got the attention of a few female hard-cores, who announced their arrival with a hundred namastes each. The group began talking very loudly and we were able to hear snippets of the conversation, mostly monologues about their respective journeys to India from Israel, and how easy life is when you’re on a diet of eight cups of chai a day. All members seemed to agree on a few basic things: Indians do yoga, a man named Sunil teaches good yoga, and India is where one goes to find oneself.