Amusing Stories From India

Posted on September 8, 2012


Having worked out 4 days a week on average since February 1st 2012, I was keen to continue this habit while on vacation back in Ahmedabad, India. I enrolled at the nearest Talwalkar’s and was ready to burn off the dhoklas.

I won’t even go into how I am stared at every morning for wearing shorts to the gym and I am not even going to comment on how people look at me with disdain when I sweat and drench my t-shirt with perspiration. But here’s what I have heard in the last 1 month –

I saw one of the women trainers corner a plumpish lady in the changing room. And here’s how the conversation went down – It’s in Hindi originally, but I am translating it into English for my friends.

Trainer: “How old are you?”

Woman: “I just turned 40 last week.”

Trainer: “Okkk, how many kids do you have?”

Woman: “I have been married for 12 years, but I do not have kids.”

Trainer: “Why? Do you have a problem?”

Woman: “Well, we have been trying, but it has not worked out. If it has to, it will. I am not going to stress myself.”

Trainer: “You should get some treatment. Do something!”

Woman: “Ok”.

And then she walked out. I could not help but wonder at the audacity of the trainer! So many assumptions, so many boundaries crossed! Gosh…shudder…shudder!


I thought since I was a newbie and kept pretty much to myself, I would be out of the probe-provoke circuit. But I was mistaken. One morning, last week, as I was finishing my workout, the woman who cleans the changing room came up to me smiling. I smiled back, not expecting her to take this as an invitation to chat me up. But she did.

Lady: “Why do you wear such thick glasses?”

Me: “I like them! That’s my style!”

Lady: “Really? Do you really think this is STYLE?”

Me: “Ha ha…yea! Well, my style anyway!”

Lady: “You should wear lenses. You will look much smarter.”

(To myself: Oh lord!!  #FML)


The optician I use is located bang opposite my house and it is very convenient for me. The store is run by 2 young-ish men. I have been their customer for the last 8 years and we’re quite pally. Yesterday, I went to pick up my new glasses and this is what one of those men had to say to me.

Optician: “Ma’am, if you don’t feel bad, can I say something to you.” 

Me: Of course!

Optician: “When you used to live here, you were very stylish. You used to look like you are from America. You had short hair, your clothes were very trendy and now, when you actually live in America, you look very simple. Your hair is long and always in a pony tail. You look very simple now. 

Me (aloud): Ha ha. No nothing like that, I just grew my hair for a change.   

(To myself: Oh lord!! #FML)



Over the years the Indian impudence has rattled me, enraged me and never ceased to surprise me. Each year I find Indians getting bolder and invading personal space a little more shamelessly. I am reminded of incidents my friends told me – how strangers randomly approached them and gave them advice about weight loss or diet tips. Imagine going to pick up the morning newspaper at the corner news stand and have an seemingly harmless elderly uncle approach you and tell you that it would be good for you if you exercised! Right now, the most common thing I hear from acquaintances and strangers alike is how I am getting older and I need to have children soon. They are more worried about my biological clock than I am. Some are even worried about how I will be treated by my in-laws if I don’t have children soon!

I have never been more grateful for my level of confidence or my belief in myself than now.

Posted in: life