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Her Periodical Arrives in India...
showing respect and being respected


Men Don't Bother (as much) Women in Saris

I spent four weeks in India last winter. I knew it was important to dress very conservatively, especially avoiding bare legs and shoulders, but I got mixed advice from other women travelers on whether it was appropriate to adopt Indian clothing while in the country. Some felt it was offensive to mimic the Indian dress.

For the first three weeks I wore ankle length skirts and long sleeve shirts everyday, yet I still felt as if the locals looked at me as if I were naked -- or at least inappropriately dressed. Eventually, to avoid the stress of having to constantly ward off the groping hands of the men in line, I left things like standing in crowded lines for train tickets up to my fiancee.

My last week there I finally decided to buy a Salwar (the dress and pants combination worn by many Indian women). The difference in the way I was treated was immediately obvious. I got a lot less hassle, and not only from lewd men. Even the rickshaw drivers and street vendors were more reasonable with the prices they asked. For the first time, Indian women ventured to smile at me as we passed in the street and a few times women even stopped me to praise me on my clothing. When a few days later, I tried wearing a sari, the difference in how I was treated was even more astounding -- and pleasant. So go ahead and give the local costume a try in India.

( Molly, San Francisco Journeywoman, USA)

She takes her son to India...

Liam, my ten year old, seems to have adapted well to the subculture of the Indian tourist.boy with red hair Feeling a little too civilized in this world of free-spirited backpackers, he has dyed his hair fluorescent red, using one of our valuable packages of drink crystals. I think it was cranberry. Back at home this type of behavior would be met by mother's displeasure; but who am I to interfere with his method of submerging himself in a different culture when Mom's walking around in a sarong!
(Source: Diary entry, Sharon McRae, Lancaster, Canada)

Shopping Scoops -- New Delhi, India

bag o' groceriesIn New Delhi there are two shops that all the expat women simply rave about. So bring along an extra bag and devote some time to tracking down these 'made in India' specialties. It's great fun!

Fabindia offers a stunning selection of carpets, bedspreads, bed linens, cotton tablecloths, napkins and placemats. Expect to pay at least a half of what you spend at home. Perfect present potential! Their address is 14 'N' Block Market, Greater Kailash-1, New Delhi.
Bonus tip -- Make note of your table and bed measurements before you leave. Carry swatches of material if you want to match your purchases with decor you already have. Carry a tape measure so that you can be sure that what you are buying will fit properly.

At Anokhi, 32 Khan Market, New Delhi, Journeywoman found the best selection of cotton fashions at very reasonable prices. Their cotton bathrobes are simply wonderful. However, while their t-shirts wear beautifully, they need to be handwashed in order to keep their shape. Mine are still perfect after two seasons of wear.

P.S. If you are worried about finding these places on your own, ask your hotel to book a reputable car and driver for you. Their half day rates are far more reasonable than you would imagine. Better still, team up with another woman and share both the fun and the transportation expenses with her.

(Source: Evelyn Hannon, Journeywoman Editor)

Taj MahalIf you enjoyed this information about India, you will probably enjoy these other articles:

She's Independent in India

Spider, Spider

India-- She Fights Her Fears

Preparing for a Trek

1 | 2

Penguins and the Paparazzi



Back to Travel Tales

Culturally Correct Dos and Taboos



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