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This is India! 37

Welcome back to This is India! I always have funny/weird stories about India to share with friends or family when I talk to them. This is just meant to be an honest portrayal about my life in India through short anecdotes. I also share here what I’ve been up to online outside Werkenntwen.

What I was up to other than here:

  • I did an interview on Majestic Disorder Magazine about being an expat in Goa. I talk about how the “American Dream” just isn’t as attainable as it once was and as more Americans take gap years like many other Nationalities do, they’re opened up to another way of life – making the American dream not as ideal.
  • I saw a show at Natti’s Naturals ‘Kings of the Realms’ from Pondicherry dancing Bharata Natyam. It was very unique; nothing I’ve seen before. They perform tonight at Astoria in Assagao but I don’t have all those details unfortunately. I’m sure you can call up.

Now your story,

I wrote a previous “This is India” about how Indian men treat foreign girls. The comments on Facebook were all agreeable in that the man in that instance was out of line (read that linked post to catch up).

One comment from a reader really hit the nail on the head, which I’ll share here:

They usually say hi and that they want to be friends. Sometimes they want to meet for coffee, or ask when I’ll be visiting the town/city they live in. I don’t know how to reply. I hope that their requests are genuine interest in befriending a foreigner, but then I remember that in 4 months not a single Indian female, other than the ones I work with and know personally, has made the same request of me. Interestingly, not a single Indian man that I work with and know personally has asked me for coffee or to visit their hometown. I guess that is my answer…

If you don’t get it read it a couple times, because it makes total sense. If they are genuine, then why are only men curious to “be friends”?

Anyways, that kind of brings me to my story for the week. I have the cutest glitter business cards with my number and e-mail (for Werkenntwen website only, not massage or my candle company); I hand them out when someone asks me what I do and seems interested in reading my blog or working with me.

I met one guy on a bus (he might be reading this for all I know) and about 5 weeks later I received a phone call from him:

Hi this is ____ , remember me from the bus ride to Mysore?

Me -Umm yea… Hi.

So yeah anyways, how are you?

Me- I’m ok…. Did you need something?

No. So, are you still traveling?

Me- I’m back home now.

Oh, how was the trip?

Me- Um, I have to go…

I’m sorry if you find this normal, but you just don’t call someone’s number on a business card to chat! It’s weird. I don’t imagine a girl in India would call me to chat and I wonder if he would have called an Indian girl just to chat. Is this another instance of Indian men treating a foreign girl differently? Thinking so, but what do you think?

This is India!

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feature image: source


About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Sonja Riemenschneider February 13, 2015 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    That is definitely creepy. I’ve had the same thing happen when I’ve handed out business cards for my blog. I had chatted for like 2 minutes with a middle aged man from Japan, and he wanted to read my blog, so I gave him my card. After that, he sent me a bunch of emails asking how the rest of my travels were and if he could come visit me in the US. Umm… I don’t care what culture you are from – no one flies across the country to visit someone they met for 2 minutes just to be friends.

    I think you did the right thing – make them feel uncomfortable and end the conversation quickly.

    • Rachel Jones February 15, 2015 at 3:56 pm - Reply

      I agree that it doesn’t really matter what culture. it’s not cool and they should be aware.

  2. TJ February 13, 2015 at 9:58 pm - Reply

    Really weird, those are the people to avoid. ‘Stranger Danger!’ I have known a couple girls that got personal calls In the US from handing out there business cards. I had a middle aged gay man call me randomly several times. He got my number when I gave it to the retail store and he was the the employee who took it. This happened around 2008. I last heard from him a year and a half ago.

  3. Jen February 14, 2015 at 12:40 am - Reply

    Unfortunately this happens no matter where you are in the world. This is why I use a google voice number for everything and it is connected to my gmail account. I first get the call (I set it up so it shows that it is a google voice call) if it is not a number I recognize or anticipating then I ignore it and they can leave a voice message. I can then later review the message on my phone later, google transcribe the message so I can just read the message rather than listen to it since sometimes that is just easier. I have gotten to the point I just don’t trust random strangers with anything. I had this one guy on LinkedIn who kept on messaging me that he loved my smile and I should keep on smiling – creepy.

    btw, where did you get the biz cards made? I am very intrigued on getting some made when I go to Goa. Thanks.

    • Rachel Jones February 15, 2015 at 3:51 pm - Reply

      google voice is a good idea, I was actually looking into setting that up the other day but couldn’t figure out how. I got my cards made in panjim… cannot think of the name but near bombay bazaar store

  4. Emma | banquets and backpacks February 14, 2015 at 2:16 am - Reply

    I think western women are seen as more promiscuous and willing. Foreign men see our overly sexed movies and music videos and believe we all behave in this way. I had a strange man in Thailand openly ask me to ‘sex him’ and upon hearing me say No! with disgust, shouted for the whole trainstation to hear that “I was nothing! A nobody!” If anything I supose the conversations make for great stories!

  5. Jessica @Triple T Journeys February 14, 2015 at 4:45 am - Reply

    That is so strange! Who does that? Obviously a business card is a professional connection. You should only call if you have an inquiry about working with them or something.

  6. venus john February 14, 2015 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    indian men are weird..and even if an indian girl gives her card with phone number on it,that is seen as a green signal,to call up the girl and chat..i have got those calls too..
    I got a call once from a guy saying that he saw my phone number on the internet..and thtys why he called..it was as if I my phone number is on the internet,then I am asking for it..it doesn’t matter on which website and why my phone number was there..
    what is not said and is supposed to be understood by all is in ‘indian culture’ good girls don’t give out their phone numbers..if you make your phone number public,you are obviously ‘loose’ and you have invited trouble upon yourself..

    • Rachel Jones February 15, 2015 at 3:50 pm - Reply

      I like how you start with Indian men are weird.. heheh

      it’s a shame they have such a wrong mentality about women

  7. Tim | UrbanDuniya February 15, 2015 at 5:48 am - Reply

    It’s partly what you’re thinking, and it’s partly an overconfidence thing… I get that from desi men too, and I’m not a woman! It seems simply by being a foreigner, you’re such a novelty that all inhibitions go out the window. However there is definitely an element of what you’re suggesting, and it’s creepy as all hell…

  8. De'Jav February 15, 2015 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    Definitely a little out there getting random calls. I’d say it’s because you’re a foreigner and a woman everyone wants something different. A woman wouldn’t call I don’t think it is in their interest for something more. They probably would just ask you to go out. I’m sure there is plenty though that keeps you there.

  9. Elen February 23, 2015 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    While I agree with pretty much everything that has been written above, what about if we look at it from another angle- that perhaps it isn’t just Indian men who are interested in foreign women (‘interested’ could be innocent, or it could be creepy, or it could be somewhere in between) but that they are the only ones who find it socially acceptable to approach foreign women. So Indian women may be just as interested in you/me/the next person, but are too worried by how it would look, what their friends/family might think etc. So, although yes Indian men do sometimes have some funny ideas (had plenty of experiences myself!) perhaps a little more generosity towards their intentions might sometimes be warranted.

    • Rachel Jones February 24, 2015 at 12:06 pm - Reply

      I like your open-mindedness. It’s refreshing! I get jaded from the encounters I have on a regular basis, so it’s hard to think that way anymore.

      • Elen February 24, 2015 at 5:54 pm - Reply

        Well, I learnt the hard way when I took a guy in India at face value (ie, I thought he was being a creep and lying to me) and when I got to know him better I realised that wasn’t the case at all. But then, feeling bad about being so judgmental, I opened myself up to future friendships and realised that my initial misgivings were actually serving me well (ie, many guys ARE creeps!) So, it’s a no-win situation really!

  10. Reena January 12, 2019 at 5:00 am - Reply

    Yes it was kind of weird but not uncommon from Indian men both with good intentions and bad intentions.Your response was totally fine! But since females generally are taught to be not too friendly with strangers so they generally may not call you up like that!

    But I want to tell you Indian people are generally more friendly as by now you must have heard the Sanskrit phrase “Athithi Devo Bhava” translating to “Guest are like God”! If you go to a common Indian house people will make extra effort (what they can afford of course) to make sure you are comfortable and all! It’s generally true for all guests and will talk very frankly about topics which you may not be very comfortable like religion? how much are you earning? It’s okay to give a polite smile and change the topic in such situations! It’s the cultural norm to treat your guests very generously in India! I wish the same philosophy could be adopted by Indian professionals too!

  11. Reena January 12, 2019 at 5:02 am - Reply

    Also I think you left US too early before all the online dating scene! White American Men also do weird things with brown females (I am assuming doing with all other females too) on dating sites! At least you are not getting bombarded with d**k pics! or they don’t call you look like Mia Khalifa a p**n star even after telling them I am not from Lebanon! or call you a Muslim just because you look brown or know few Urdu words even after telling I am from India and Hindu! Or ask how many drinks will it take before I start dancing on Bollywood songs or call you brown sugar, Curry or Spicy!!They think it’s OK if they are not saying it in person! Sometimes will call themselves White Gentlemen and next second will ask a weird racial question!

  12. Reena January 12, 2019 at 5:14 am - Reply

    Oh I forgot to add one of my ivy league college experience where one called me the Girl with terrorist vibes in public without knowing me at all just because I looked brown! I am a Hindu and Brown female from India!

    Jerks and creeps are everywhere!

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