Many tourists probably will develop some type of trust issue with people in India after staying for a few days in the country, especially in those touristy cities and towns. It’s very annoying when one, again and again, realizes that the person who is approaching, making conversation and acting all friendly, is just another street tout who keeps pushing tourists to shop in some stores or check in at some crappy hotels.
Of course, I am not saying all people in India who approach tourists are street touts. In fact, I have met and made friends with Indian in different places, who are genuine and offering help and making friends out of goodwill and pure friendliness.
Sonu, the driver who kindly helped us got a phone card on the first day of our trip, almost wanted to pay us for compensating us on a minor mistake he made that actually didn’t cost us any. And there was Rakesh, who volunteered to show us around Khajuraho and its old village without asking or hinting us to pay him anything in return. But instead, it was us, the mindful ones, who kept doubting his intention and guessing when he would bring us to shops and restaurants for commission (ended up he brought us to none of those). And there were Amit and his friends in Pushkar who patiently answered our questions regarding Indian wedding and shared with us their view of arranged marriage and life in Pushkar.
For a while, I found myself a bit confused and didn’t know how to deal with the people in India. Should I be cold and ignore these people when they approach me so to protect myself and be less likely scammed? But if I do so, I might also push away all the nice, friendly people whom I could learn from and make friends with.
Later I figured… I could be alert so to avoid from being scammed, while keep myself with an open heart and welcome others to show me the world at the same time.
Sound contradictory? Nay, not really.