By Fasia Hardy
How we dress, speak, and walk are all apart of our culture. The best part about traveling is experiencing the new in the other. But I question when appreciation of someones beauty goes too far. Where is the line between fascination and improperness?
My first day in India would set the tone for my month stay. Once my classmates and I stepped off the plane onto Indian soil it was a free for all for pictures of women in their saris and of their children. No one asked if they could take a picture. Some classmates went as far as to pick up a woman’s child to take a picture for Instagram. None of them learning who these people are, let alone their name. I can only imagine what they’re thinking as they wake up to start their day and a stranger is taking pictures as if they found a UFO.
For many of my classmates, they will never experience the awkwardness of being the other but I had the bizarre experience of being the other in a land I didn’t call home from people I found fascinating. I notice I was on display when I was at a museum and people were not taking pictures of the sounding facts but of me! Women gathered around me to take a picture as if I was Beyonce touching my clothes and pulling at my hair. Many of the women wanted to know how I did my hair and if I could teach them. From this point on my hair would introduce me before I could introduce myself.
I found it interesting how the Indian culture values hair similarly to African Americans. Long think hair seems to be everyone’s goal around the world. Instead of beads or clips, the women put flowers in their hair. My gold clips were fascinating to the women and even men. I honestly felt joy from some women or little girls who giggled and smiled as we exchanged complaints and hair advice. Although at times the constant question about my hair can be awkward or out of place. Car rides, conversations, and meetings have been stopped to ask me about my hair. Followed by a hand that immediately makes me cringe. This wave of irritation is fleeting and comes with mix emotions.
I can not control the actions of others but I can simply state; I am sensitive about my hair. My hair is my crown just like a child is a mothers world. Please be mindful.