During a day of sightseeing, I visited Delhi’s Red Fort. As a SLR owner, I often find myself asked to help people take photos of their group. That day was no exception. I got asked by couples to snap shots. And it became so routine for me to just nod my agreement before the question is completed.
What a mistake. One guy and his friend approach, an arm holding the camera outstretched. He didn’t want me to help take a photo of him and his friend. He wanted to pose with me. By that point, I had already agreed. Dang. And once he was done, he and his friend swap places before I could blink. This friend started to lean over as if to throw his arm around my shoulder just before the camera shutter goes off. So I looked at my other side- I was already standing near the railing- mentally calculating how much maneuver room I have and whether I’d need to leap over the railing if the dude tried to pull off any stunt. When I looked up to face the camera, a queue of men with cameras out had formed!
During my time in Thailand and around, I laugh at my friends’ benefit when I find them to be object of curiosity amongst locals. As an Asian, I got away with inattention. Until India, apparently.
By the way, I didn’t let the line proceed. I told them I was going to charge 20 rupee for each additional photo. I could tell some of the guys were seriously contemplating it as they reluctantly scattered. Hey. If I’m paying the foreigner entrance fee of 250 rupee versus the local rate of 20 and end up being the attraction myself, I’d like to try to break even.