India is an explosion of colour. The food, the clothes, the temples. They all pulse like a rainbow.
But not me. I’m white. Very white. More than that – I feel white and foreign. I feel out of place. The people I meet are friendly – but it’s clear I don’t really understand the culture, the way things work, or even how to cross the road.
My first sight of a swastika shocked me. I know its origins, its special meaning here. But even daubed in multicolour paint on the side of a taxi was enough to make me feel like I was totally separate in a way I’ve never felt before.
When I first travelled to South Africa, I wondered what it would be like to be a minority. An obvious outsider. I remembered George Takei – I think – talking about his first visit to Japan and being astonished that everyone there looked like him. He was no longer the odd one out walking down the street.
I had heard of international cities – like Beijing – where being “other” was enough to draw the stares of strangers on the street.
Bangalore isn’t like that. I am different – but that is not enough to draw the attention of anyone. Why stare at the pale white guy when there’s a cacophony of chromatic beauty surrounding you?