Living in India, I am obviously a minority. Moreover, my blonde hair, blue eyes, incredibly pale skin and refusal to wear the shalwar kamiz at all times exaggerates the effects of being “European”. This has some incredibly interesting effects both positive and negative.
Let’s start with the negative. Sometimes, I wear knee-length skirts. It is over 100 degrees everyday and I’ve never felt the need to maintain my calves’ privacy. This pretty much indicates that I am worse than a prostitute. I expose my legs! Moreover, pale skin is highly coveted here, so my vagrant display of pale white legs is lewd indeed. Needless to say, I am stared at pretty constantly. However, because I am pale and blonde, I’m stared at even when I’m covered up from head to toe in a shalwar. I figure I may as well give them something to stare at and wear what I’m most comfortable in.
Ok, lets move on to the positive. In spite of the fact that I’m seen as a slutty American, I can pretty much go anywhere I want and have access to the highest officials within a matter of minutes. My pale skin gives me status. Anytime I’ve gone to a foundation or business with or without an appointment, I’ve always seen the manager, CEO, etc. I get to go straight to the top simply because of the color of my skin. Do I deserve this treatment? No, certainly not. But, as an American, I get instant respect that certainly helps get things done.