Chennai Travel Blog› entry 4 of 7 › view all entries
My biggest concern going to India was to make sure I would blend in. I wanted to make myself look as much like a local as I could. The main reason was so that I didn't get hoodwinked by anyone targeting tourists. I figured if I looked like a local, shopkeepers would give me the "local" price as opposed to the "tourist" price (a discrepancy I later found doesn't really exist). My final reason was that if I were to ever become a secret agent, I would need to be able to blend in like that (snap).
I trained hard prior to departure. I would only communicate with my parents in Tamil. If they spoke English to me, I would ignore them until they used Tamil. In turn, they were supposed to ignore me unless I spoke in Tamil. I figured this would rapidly develop my linguistic abilities. Unfortunately, we all kept forgetting about the "game" and my language skills got nowhere.
There is a Tamil channel called SUNTV which airs in Tamil Nadu, but you can get in the U.S. via satellite. My parents spend all of their waking hours sitting in front of the TV just watching this. It's full of tamil dramas, talent shows, and cheezy commercials of kids with high-pitched voices singing the joys of certain products. I carefully took notes on the types of clothing they wore on the tv shows and commercials. But these notes turned out worthless when my sis explained to me that none of the commercials resembled real-life. (WHAT TV is not REAL??! Blasphemy!!!). So all I could really do was make sure I did not pack any tshirts that had any of my college logos on them which was incredibly difficult as tshirts make up like 80% of my wardrobe. (Last count was about 32 tshirts I had gotten from my college- UMIAMI gives away t-shirts like candy).