VARKALA, KERALA, INDIA—“If we are going to live together, our kitchen should not look like that,” said Tobi. The kitchen downstairs repelled him. What could we expect from a kitchen we borrowed for some hours from two hippie men? They played the guitar, one taught yoga upstairs, while the other prepared spicy lassi downstairs. Curls crowned their head. Both wore dhoti. Both forgot to water a family of sweet basil outside our room. Both took turns in puffing on a joint on some languid nights. Tobi and the two even thought of preparing bhang lassi.
Before traveling to India, I braced myself for the possible unpleasant encounters with misogyny and utter poverty I often heard from news. Some said, expect people to poo by the road. Yeah, we saw that. Even stepped onto one in Old Delhi. Expect to be tailed. Yes, we experienced that. Expect to be groped. Hmm, that I did not experience, but I experienced my boob being elbowed, my butt touched. Intentionally? I would not know. We expected and prepared for the worst. But surprise, surprise! There are actually many places in India that are women-friendly, places that make you feel comfortable […]