One thing that's always baffled me is the constant questioning I get by strangers everytime I travel. By now, I'm such an expert at predicting the volley of queries that will shoot off from my fellow passenger's mouth any minute, that I feel like an amateur clairvoyant. I even know the order, by heart:
1. You are travelling alone?
3. Buy why?
4. Are you married?
5. So are you travelling with your parents?
6. No friends either? Tsk Tsk!
5. So then you are going there to meet someone?
6. So are you a student in that case?
7. So you don't have any work there?
8. Absolutely nothing?
9. You are travelling ALONE? ( pupils dilate, lower jaw drops)
10. Back to question number 2
And the viscious cycle continues, each time with different expressions and exaggerated gesticulation. Suspicious looks, disapproving nudges, she's-not-a-morally-upright-good-Indian-girl looks, and sometimes safety tips. A young gentleman even asked me once if I had run away from home. I had to reassure myself in my head that I indeed WAS a harmless backpacker bumming around peacefully, and didn't have the look of a street urchin or a juvenile child on the run. Constant travel across India has mellowed me down though. I no longer look shocked/surprised if people don't understand that I'm just trying to explore a superb country which others are either not privileged to do or travel half the globe to do. I guess my flaw lies in being an Indian trying to holiday in her own country rather than buying a 4 nights/5 days package to Phuket.