• this is india fifteen

This is India! (fifteen)

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:

Now your story,

I have to say even writing about this one gets me angry again.

I’ve mentioned how in India there’s not really a good idea of how to properly stand in line. On top of that, some men have this notion that they should cut women- because why not?

Usually I let things slide… but c’mon no one keeps their cool all the time.

Here’s a story of a time I did not and how it unfolded.

We were at Lulu’s supermarket in Kochi. First I should explain that Kochi (Cochin) is much more coservative. It’s a communist state, very different from the rest of India, and still very traditional in every sense. I’ve come to understand from multiple encounters and visits there that men have even more of a superiority complex than elsewhere in India (in my opinion).

Anways, Ben went to get something else while we were in line, leaving me with a cart full of food alone. A HUGE man came up and pushed his cart right in front of mine. I gave him a look that said, “uh, excuse me asshole” which he head wobbled to and ignored.

Ben came back and asked why the man was there with a cart twice the size of ours, and I said he cut.

“Excuse me, did you realize she was in line?” Ben asked the man.

“YES I SEE HER! I KNOW THESE PEOPLE UP THERE! IT IS FINE, BACK OFF!!” He literally yelled back in response.

Give me a break… This started off a little back and forth between the three of us.

This is where the story gets really annoying for me.

The man stood next to me, so close that his giant belly was touching me. He was definitely over six foot tall and clearly tring to intimidate me.  His eyes never left me.

I said to him, “can you please back off” with quite an attitude.


“OK,” I replied calmly, and maybe a little very condescendingly this time, “you keep standing there, a grown man, trying to intimidate a young girl. Good for you. You’re really giving India a good name to us foreigners.”

“AND LOOK AT YOU! YOU GIVE YOUR COUNTRY A BAD NAME LOOK HOW YOU DRESS. HOW COULD ANY MAN BE WITH YOU!” then he switched to Malayalam (the language of Kerala).

I wearing a long loose dress, shoulders completely covered, as I do in Kochi since it’s very conservative. Let me tell you, this is where I’m going to end up in jail one day because it’s just so fucked up for men to talk to women this way- or for anyone to talk to anyone! I wanted to deck this man in the face. Right now, I’m getting angry just writing about it as this is one story from India that I hate to rehash.

I didn’t reply , but my blood was boiling. If this had been in my wild college days, I would have hit him and a mini-riot would have started. Since living in India, I have learned patience (to an extent).

Ben held my arm and said just don’t say anything. See, what would happen here if I had reacted: that man would have fought Ben. It was clear he was looking for a fight.

We had to stand next to him for a good 10 minutes before he paid and left.

It’s a love hate relationship people have with India, and although I love it most days, on this day I wanted to leave. I hated knowing I live in  country where women are talked to that way and 100 people are standing in a ciricle just watching.

For people who think I’m just venting or showing the negatives of India, I want to remind you I live here for a reason- I really do like this country, as many of my posts explain- but I have to keep it real on here. It’s no paradise in some cities. India will test your patience, and I don’t think males who visit can understand just how moments like this feel.

What did I learn? Getting into it with an asshole stubborn dude is only going to put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day, so why bother? Back to trying to keep my cool 100% of the time…

This is India!


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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. Julia September 12, 2014 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    Wow, only reading about it makes me angry. As I ‘ve noticed by reading many of your other posts about India, this country is both beautiful and horrifying. It’s beyond my comprehension why men act like this…and women there probably won’t be able to change this behavior any time soon. Unfortunately.

    • Rachel Jones September 13, 2014 at 1:45 pm - Reply

      No, I don’t think it’s going to change quickly and some areas are better than others. One reason why I prefer to live in Goa & travel around the rest of India. Goa is my refuge!

  2. Justine September 12, 2014 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    I would have been infuriated. It’s really intense to think that women are viewed to be so inferior to men. And it’s really tough to think about the fact that this is a reality for women in Kochi (and India in general). It’s one of those sad realities that makes travel and living abroad such an eye opening experience.

    • Rachel Jones September 13, 2014 at 1:46 pm - Reply

      It is sad. Goa is advanced in this area but even here the village men go out for dinner and drinking, but you rarely see a woman :(

  3. Andrea Anastasiou September 12, 2014 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    Oh my God! This is terrible. I would have lost it, too – good for you for letting it go, though. So not worth it. People like this never change.

    I just told my boyfriend about this and he’s livid. He hates people like this – he says they give his country a bad name. I’d have to agree with him on that one…

    • Rachel Jones September 13, 2014 at 1:47 pm - Reply

      They do give India a bad name! It’s a bummer but things like this have happened more times than I can count.

  4. Andy September 12, 2014 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    I’m sorry, Rachel. There are occasions on which I don’t feel too proud about the fact that I’m Indian. This is one of those :(

    • Rachel Jones September 13, 2014 at 1:47 pm - Reply

      It was a really terrible situation, but I know he’s not representing India as whole, or Indian men, just have to keep reminding myself that.

  5. ANA September 13, 2014 at 12:51 am - Reply

    hey ,first of all u shuld have gone to police atleast for this if not hitting him.
    trust me if i was dere i would have helped u.
    i totally understnd ur side bcoz i too hv faced and face still, bad ppl many times in daily life in india..but like everwhere mostly it is about good and bad ppl..i had seen bad cheap man and unfortunatly women too in india who behave worst and are cheap mannerless and behave lik disgusting asshole but also on the odr hand i have seen and face stranger good man too who give respect and behaved decently..Its all about good person and bad person..This asshole was from bad ppl list who has a bad upbringing and dnt hv manners and they are so close minded sick ppl that they nvr treat women with respect and following rules is a far away thing for dese fool ppl.and we shuld alws take actions against bad ppl no matter wat..I am talking neutral way here .for example, ppl haress smtim and say bad thing abt all muslims and their religions bcoz of many bad ppl.we cant blame all muslims for being terriorist and all those wrong dangerous thngs they do..Ppl who did all those wrong things are bad humans.not any religion or muslims are bad.

    • Rachel Jones September 13, 2014 at 1:49 pm - Reply

      You’re right, I should have gone to the police. One thing I noticed though off season in Kerala, was that without any tourist around, the police really pestered me. Every day I’d have one come up to me when I was alone asking why I was here and what I was up to. So I don’t know how much help they would be. In Goa the police would never come investigate me.

  6. Jo September 13, 2014 at 5:03 am - Reply

    Urgh, what a horrible man. It’s hilarious(ly awful) that he tried to justify his rudeness because you’re a foreign woman. You just know a guy like that treats everyone like dirt: men, women, foreign, Indian. Good for you for letting it go- it would never have ended up well. You can’t reason with people like that.

    • Rachel Jones September 13, 2014 at 1:49 pm - Reply

      You’re right I bet; he probably treats everyone terrible.

  7. Sara @ Simply Sara Journey September 13, 2014 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    Wow, thanks for sharing that story. And I thought I was frustrated by some of the line chaos in France (They certainly do not appreciate a proper queue here. Apparently when a new register opens, even if you are next in line it doesn’t matter – it’s whoever runs to the new register and plucks their purchases down first.) It makes me angry too hearing how women are treated as inferior. Good for you for standing up to him…and then having self-control not to escalate it.

    • Rachel Jones September 13, 2014 at 1:50 pm - Reply

      Ahhh I hate it when people cut when a new register opens! So annoying. It was hard not to escalate it I have to say! ha

  8. Katelyn @ Diaries of a Wandering Lobster September 13, 2014 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    Urgh! I would probably have tried punching him too! Glad you kept your cool because I’m sure India jail would not be fun.

    • Rachel Jones September 14, 2014 at 3:36 pm - Reply

      Ha, no I’ve read Shantaram and it doesn’t sound fun at all.

  9. Empty Rucksack September 13, 2014 at 11:18 pm - Reply

    Now you know the secret to India’s spiritual growth

  10. Rebekah September 14, 2014 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    I can definitely relate to getting so angry. I’ve never had anyone speak so disrespectfully to me though. That makes me want to punch him too.

    • Rachel Jones September 15, 2014 at 1:24 pm - Reply

      I’m glad to hear someone else’s thoughts involved a big punch! lol

  11. Karisa @ Flirting with the Globe September 14, 2014 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    What a jerk! I’m glad you spoke up and stood up for yourself (even if your breath was wasted on the idiot)!

    • Rachel Jones September 15, 2014 at 1:24 pm - Reply

      Yeah, I agree it was wasted. If we had argued more, he would have gotten physical for sure.

  12. Colleen Brynn September 15, 2014 at 1:47 am - Reply

    Oh man. First – let me just apologize for being so behind on your blog (I am behind on all of my faves). I want to read all of these… brings back some memories. And my blood boiled a bit too as I read this. I know I encountered some pretty rude Indians while I was there, so I can understand the love-hate feeling. It’s brave and necessary for people like you/us to share these honest stories. While the country is pretty damn great most of the time, it can be pretty shitty too. Little snippets like this help paint a realistic picture.

    • Rachel Jones September 15, 2014 at 1:26 pm - Reply

      Yeah, it’s like I want to show the good of India because these bad stories might piss off some of my Indian readers – but I have to prepare people. Also, I’m surprised to find my Indian readers usually totally relate to the stories and weren’t mad at all about this one!

  13. Karyn @ Not Done Journeyling September 15, 2014 at 6:57 am - Reply

    I just can’t understand why anybody anywhere thinks it’s appropriate to raise their voice at anyone.

    Aggression is 100% unnecessary behaviour for human beings to indulge in, imho.

  14. venus john September 15, 2014 at 10:09 am - Reply

    what a great article..this is exactly what I feel about Indians in general.though I am indian..I am originally from kerala but have hardly lived there..but it was difficult to see things objectively about kerala..its great that you put it into words clearly..in kerala..its not just bad attitude towards women..its also bad attitude towards foreigners..tribal feelings..i have a French brother in law who have many interesting things to say about his experience in kerala..and I have an aunt who married a german who had a bad experience in kerala because he wore shorts..and stopped going to india completely..there is a reason why foreigners hardly visited kerala earlier ..and go to goa instead..even though both are similar in natural beauty…youa re right about learning to be patient in india..there is no other way but to be spiriyual in india..nothing works..its a good thing you did not go to the police..they can be bribed..and the locals there may also team up with the bully..

    • Rachel Jones September 15, 2014 at 1:28 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your input. I love hearing what my Indian readers think about the situations I get into.

  15. sghosh January 2, 2015 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    Presently India has a very strict law against harassing women. This man could easily land up in police custody had u been less ignorant about the law of the land.

    • Rachel Jones January 3, 2015 at 9:46 am - Reply

      I can’t imagine calling the police about an aggressive line jumper would have done a thing (esp. in Kerala). India does have a strict law, but it has bribable police as well.

  16. Avi October 12, 2015 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Hey, I am so sorry for what happend in Kerala, it’s been a year now and I believe it’s still the same; actually it’s same since ages – the ages when India was divided in the name caste. Unfortunately, I have my roots there (Kerala) and I am not proud about it. It’s a beautiful place belonging to shitty ass people! I don’t understand some times why they have this sort of air around them, that they are the superior race. Well, the reality is kerala is a regressive state, ruled by dirty politics, porn addicts, two-faced people- I can go on and on and on.
    Yea and now they are upto destroying the fragile ecosystem in the name of Tourism and Development.
    A peice of advice Rachel – AVOID GOING TO KERALA!
    I can say with my head high ‘I am from Rajasthan’
    My love to Goa :)

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