Why You Should Not Fear Scams in India

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22 Responses

  1. Shelby says:

    This is a great post! I completely agree! After I was robbed in Spain I started questioning everything and every situation. But after a while, it is exhausting! And you start to feel like you have to judge people to determine if they’re a threat, which doesn’t feel good. Thanks for these awesome tips!

    • Teja says:

      It is! And India was the first country when it dawned on me, I can’t do it that way. I can’t do high vigilance *all* the time. Usually it’s perfectly doable. It’s too exhausting, in India. And even if I succeed, I don’t like the person that I become. So I must learn a different way to deal with it.

  2. Anjali W says:

    I enjoyed reading your experiences of encountering scams in India. I had too fallen into few when I used to go on solo travels. Getting into private taxis with high rates to commute to to nearby places had happened with me every time. You have made done a great job in creating awareness about scams and how should one deal with them.

    • Teja says:

      Ugh, I hate getting scammed. But yes, at some point you have to decide if maybe it’s better for *you* to learn to let stuff go, even if it feels (or is) unfair.

  3. Miss Filatelista says:

    Oh I know these scams well! After 6 months in India I figured out how to work the system but sometimes the haggling and defending myself brought out my ugly. It’s so tiring to fight the scams all the time, but I’d do it all over again to be in India.

    • Teja says:

      I salute you for lasting 6 months! I think it’s the scarcity of peace and quiet that gets to me the most, to be honest. I was shocked by how quickly my serenity depleted, because the noise really was essentially ceaseless.

  4. Chirasree says:

    Glad I came across this post and loved reading your words. Being an Indian, I could relate to this post almost instantly. Your closing thoughts made me emotional – ” The ones who managed to yield despite the hazards, discovered the experiences that could only be unlocked by letting go of fear. And once you get that connection – with yourself, with other souls – it’s a real game changer. ” True. You understood this country. It is chaotic yet cosmic.

    • Teja says:

      Thank you. I’m happy to know that I’ve at least captured the essence, even though I can’t possibly truly know a place in a mere 10 days.

  5. Lauren says:

    Ok, this is WONDERFUL. As informative and honest as you are about scams, I love the perspective and the ability to take a step back to recognize that we can’t paint a brush over everyone in the country. India is on the top of my list for a long trip, scams and all: it’s just a matter of being prepared! Thanks for this, and glad to hear you had a wonderful trip :)

    • Teja says:

      You’re absolutely welcome! Definitely, the key is to be prepared, and then to be compassionate with yourself for failing to do so completely – because no one really can prepare for India completely, I think. I mean, half of my plans were swept away the minute I landed in Varanasi and discovered that English was not as widely spoken as I was led to believe, and that I couldn’t get a SIM card… You gotta accept India as she is, and start making some Indian friends!

  6. What a great post. Your last bit about the two halves of India speaks to a bigger difference amongst travelers. Beautifully said. Coming from the States I often make a similar comparison – of those tourists who “travel” to sit on an all inclusive resort in Cancun and call it Mexico. But, to each her own I suppose :)

    • Teja says:

      Ah well, sometimes all you want is just a pleasant holiday. That’s fine, but that’s very rarely the country itself – it’s just what the country believes you like, and what they think would give you a good time.

  7. Katie says:

    Beautiful post and great point. Our experiences in places are shaped by our approach. We see what we expect to see and if we can lose our expectations, we can see the place for all it is…good and bad.

    • Teja says:

      That’s right, both good and bad. Then you can know if you loved a place or not, because if you see only good, that’s not love, it’s just infatuation.

  8. Savannah says:

    What a great approach to being scammed! I’ve fallen for a few transportation-based scams in my day… The first one made me furious but then I slowly took on a new attitude. I always remind myself that most of the time what is pennies to me could be a big difference to them.

    • Teja says:

      I have a short temper, so I expect that I would recurringly get furious in future, depending on my zen level at the time! :p But hopefully I would remember to let it go quickly and not carry it on and on and on.

  9. Kayla says:

    Beautifully written article and great insight about the travelers who love/dislike India! I have not been but it does sound like an intense place to travel. I’ll read this over again before I go!

    • Teja says:

      The densely populated parts really are quite intense, especially if you do it by backpacking, or otherwise budget travelling. But India actually has many regions, and many parts of it are actually quite chill, even isolated. It’s huge, and has so much diversity. I’ve only been to two states, and they are so different.

  10. Jean says:

    Knowledge is power. Especially when traevelling. Love this informative posts. And the police warning sign did me a good laugh :)

  11. Monique says:

    This is such a beautiful and human article. Thank you for reminding me of the human-ness of travel and that we need to travel with empathy and looking for the human connections along the way. I’m going to send this to all my friends thinking of travelling to India.

    • Teja says:

      I’m so glad! I didn’t know how the article would end up when I started writing it, they were thoughts without words. But I quite like it – it’s one of my favourite pieces on my blog. I hope it is true to the India travel experience, and that it helps others to travel better.