I am not a foreigner in India and I am very much Indian citizen, that too by birth and my ancestors have been in India long before Indian gained independence in 1947. I look more ‘Asian’ than ‘Indian’ and most probably, that is the reason I have been experiencing fleecing here in India in almost every city I have traveled to.
But recently, I hosted a traveler from Philippines, Kenneth, who had shared his experience of fleecing in India which I found to be similar to my experience as well as reaction. Here is what he has to say about fleecing in India as he faced as a foreigner.
I’m sitting in a general class train and this man in front of me asked how’s my experience of Khajuraho… and so I gladly told him…

Khajuraho is a small town with small population but a really great place! I love how peaceful it is and learned a lot from why it is popular of. I have met amazing people as well but I’m so shocked that these villagers who deals with tourist and foreigners has become even worse than in the cities. A lot of small things have happened but I just let it pass because this is a touristy place after all but this day was like okay what the hell is wrong with these people?

I was leaving the village and several (more than 10) tuktuks asked me for a price from 100 to 1000 rupees just to take me from the lakeside to the railway. Around 10-15kms I think? Was willing to go for the 100 because I’m running late already but I saw a shared tuktuk so I took that. I was speaking to them in broken Hindi but enough for conversations like this. I asked the driver how much, I understood him in Hindi and he showed a hand sign 5 like saying 50 because he can’t speak in English. Then it became 100 when I asked him to type the price in my calculator just to be really sure. So I asked why? Then I asked each passenger how much are they paying and these ladies and gentlemen said different prices while laughing at me. Then one local who speaks in English came and I asked him to translate this to them…

“Is this Khajuraho and Indian culture to cheat and laugh at guests of this village and this bcountry?”

They all stopped and eventually told me okay just 20 rupees.

Then when I arrived at the railway station, these guys and other tuktuk drivers were asking me to just give all the one hundred rupees because none of them has change and the driver was a poor man. They speak in English so I said…

“You know karma? You do good and good things happen to you. You do bad and bad things happen to you. It doesn’t matter if you’re poor or rich. God helps the poor who doesn’t cheat.”

Then they gave me my change. Surprise! Wew. Then I saw the other passenger just paid 10 but I just let it pass because everyone and everything was already overwhelming me.

Going back to the man in front of me… he laughed as well so I said… “It’s not funny because when I come back to my country and when I share my story about Khajuraho people do you think it’s good?” He put his earplugs again.

A lot of people have been telling me that these people are uneducated and all so I should just understand but I don’t think education, religion and even the government has something to do with being a “human”. They’re proud that their civilization has been running for million/billions of years already but how come these people still act this way as if they still haven’t developed consciousness of a billion year old civilization? They know how to drive, know how to use mobile phones, know how to choose a nice sarees but why still like this?

Lastly, the Couchsurfing for business here is very disappointing. They strike your emotions and worse charge you in the end before you leave. It didn’t happen to me but the people who sent me messages/offered to host me have these similar references and even my very own host attested to these kind of CS people.

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