Are you Indian?

We were in the servo in Cairnlea yesterday, and my partner and I bought some groceries after refilling some petrol. At the counter, the male attendant – who looks Indian – scrutinised my partner rather closely and asked: “Are you Indian?”

Clearly annoyed, she quipped, “Why does it matter to you?”

“I’m curious. Where are you from?”

“I’m a local here. And it’s non of your business.”

My partner turned and walked away, leaving me to pay the groceries. I decided to answer the inquisitive bloke’s question.

“No she’s not Indian. And it really isn’t of your concern anyway.”

My partner is of Portuguese and Sri Lankan descent. Whenever she’s out she’s almost always asked by Indians – and Indians only – if she’s Indian. It happens whenever she’s in a cab (and Melburnians are well aware that a large proportions of cab drivers are from India), is served by an attendant in a servo or a convenience store, she’s always asked that question.

I can only guess why Indians ask her that. At best she looks more dark South American, and worse she looks like a Middle Eastern/South European mix. There’s barely a trace of Indian – feature wise – in her.

My guess is they’re looking out for prospective female Indians to either hang out with or date. Living in a foreign country is a rather lonely affair when you’re new in the country, so it’s only natural to be drawn towards people of the same race.

So my question is, why do Indian men always ask if my partner’s an Indian? Let me rephrase the question. Why are Indian men so curious to find out if an Indian-looking woman’s truly an Indian?

20 Comments so far

  1. Andrew (unregistered) on February 24th, 2008 @ 9:54 pm

    Do they really put it so bluntly as that? She should probably learn some bad Hindi words. Effective if said with a bad Hindi accent that makes it clear she isn’t Indian.


  2. suz (unregistered) on February 25th, 2008 @ 6:28 am

    I really don’t think they are up to anything bad honestly. People just like to connect with people of their own nationality. Also what is so wrong with being Indian?? If you were tourists and people said "are you from Autralia" would you be so outraged?


  3. Andrew Sayer (unregistered) on February 25th, 2008 @ 10:54 am

    Dude, it sounds like you are freak out whenever another guy hits on your gf. Just chill, take it as a compliment. Besides, she wouldn’t cheat on you. Would she. Or *would* she? Hmmm?


  4. James. (unregistered) on February 25th, 2008 @ 1:19 pm

    Indians seem to have this problem all the time. They think anybody with a bit of a dark complexion is from India.

    I guess its thier way of trying to break the ice. Perhaps not necessarily trying to ask your partner out on a date..

    But I agree, Indian men are curios looking and look at girls curiosly. BEWARE !!!

    The next this happens to you, just tell the guy to mind his manners.


  5. Tanu (unregistered) on February 27th, 2008 @ 11:35 am

    I’m an Indian girl. I get asked that a lot. Of course, being Indian its easier for me to just answer yes.

    I don’t think they mean any harm. Most use it as a conversation starter and are used by people who are really new to the country with few friends or bearings.

    Having said that, I’ve had a lot of Australians ask me if I’m Sri Lankan and Sri Lankans ask me if I"m Sri Lankan when I was there. Why am I not pissed off?

    Alright so being mistaken for an Indian is not exactly a compliment. it would be so much cooler if your girlfriend were mistaken for a South American isn’t it? (Try travelling in america. That will change btw. I was there). We are clearly aware of this. so maybe both of you should just learn to smile and say a polite No. That stops most of these conversations. They are really not interested in you as a person ;)

    That’s my .02 cents.


  6. adrock2xander (unregistered) on February 27th, 2008 @ 12:04 pm

    Me thinks it borders on sexual harrassment. I know how Indian men in India are like. They grope women. They stare at women like they’re some kind of deviant sex freaks. In Singapore, where there’re heaps of Indian workers, those ‘fresh out of India’ workers stare at women like there’s no tomorrow. I know Indian lady friends who wouldn’t dare travel out of their house in India alone due to fears of being groped. I just wonder why Indian men are so lecherous and are so keen on Indian women.


  7. adrock2xander (unregistered) on February 27th, 2008 @ 12:26 pm

    "my girl friend is South American looking, part- Sri Lankan, part-Portuguese, part-Italian, part- arab looking, not indian looking, no aboroginal traits whatsoever, far from nigga looking, fully white inside, shades of brown on the outside..wtf you talking about?????? It seems to me that you’ve got one helluva complex. what a bad childhood it must have been. I pity you. I’m sure you were born here and you went to a school full of anglo kids. Ah, it’s a pity. Were they really ruthless to you Adro xyzwhatever?


  8. tanu (unregistered) on February 27th, 2008 @ 12:37 pm

    I feel compelled to respond.
    Firstly, your comment (I’m not going to argue how relevant or not it is here) on travelling in India as a woman. Yes it is a bit of a struggle. It is a fact.

    Secondly, Indians staring. As a person who has lived and travelled widely in Austrlia, I can say with some confidence that Indians do not hold a monopoly on that. Ask any ethnic minority and they will be quick to point that out.

    I would also like to point out that similar acts by men in Spain and Italy (to name just two countries) are looked at far more benignly by most.

    Hmm.. wonder why?

    That’s all folks.


  9. adrock2xander (unregistered) on February 27th, 2008 @ 1:43 pm

    Ahhh yes, more adrock2xander hate posts. Moron who posted at 12:26pm Feb 27 definitely isn’t me. At least I’ve got the decency to post my email address. Moron who hides behind his computer and acts like he’s got a 2 inch dick and makes up for his deficiencies by getting all superior on the Internet.

    I’ve got all your emails ya know. You, and every other moron who dislikes my posts.

    :O


  10. adrock2xander (unregistered) on February 27th, 2008 @ 1:49 pm

    Tanu:

    Great insight there. Yes Spanish and Italian men love to stare too. But you get the sense that they’re really just ogling. And they whistle and make cat calls as well. It can get rather unsettling at times but all you’ve to do is walk away. But I think that’s part of the culture.

    Indian men, on the other hand, stare like they’ve never seen a woman in their lives. They’ll turn and keep looking, look away and turn back again. All this done in complete robot-like silence. Sure you can walk away but you get the sense that you’ve just been mentally raped.

    Over one billion Indian men on planet Earth. I know the upper class Indians and modernised Indians don’t do it, but the lower castes do. That’s a lot of staring.


  11. tanu (unregistered) on February 27th, 2008 @ 4:23 pm

    "I know the upper class Indians and modernised Indians don’t do it, but the lower castes do.."

    That is just so wrong in so many ways but then we would be opening a whole new and a very large can of worms. So while I have a lot to say on that, I will be content with just stating my disagreement on this view.


  12. adrock2xander (unregistered) on February 27th, 2008 @ 4:50 pm

    Tell me Tanu. If you don’t mind that is. I really want to know. The question can only be answered by an Indian. By opening another can of worms you’re educating not just me but the readers as well. Perhaps you’ll be able to answer the question. This is how comments are meant to be used, by throwing opinions back and forth while generating an interesting read. Not random insults by low lifers who pretend to be me et al.


  13. sur (unregistered) on February 27th, 2008 @ 9:18 pm

    hey, yo! who’s got a two incher? i thought you had a half incher and that’s why you’d take on a new immigrant in a servo. shame on you. I mean i can’t believe that you confronted a guy working in a servo because he asked your girl friend where she was from? your complex is oozing, it’s stinking. get it fixed. well, maybe it’s too late. Probably you should go jump. I’m sure you are the biggest moron ever to have lived. Trying to act like a red neck, are we? your pettiness is coming through very clearly. Who else would confront a servo employee? wake up! Imagine, you reacted to a silly thing on behalf of your chick. What a saviour!!!! Adro hater? woooooo!!! lol! you have high hopes sister!


  14. Indian2dacore (unregistered) on February 27th, 2008 @ 9:21 pm

    hey, yo! who’s got a two incher? i thought you had a half incher and that’s why you’d take on a new immigrant in a servo. shame on you. I mean i can’t believe that you confronted a guy working in a servo because he asked your girl friend where she was from? your complex is oozing, it’s stinking. get it fixed. well, maybe it’s too late. Probably you should go jump. I’m sure you are the biggest moron ever to have lived. Trying to act like a red neck, are we? your pettiness is coming through very clearly. Who else would confront a servo employee? wake up! Imagine, you reacted to a silly thing on behalf of your chick. What a saviour!!!! Adro hater? woooooo!!! lol! you have high hopes sister!


  15. colin (unregistered) on February 27th, 2008 @ 9:23 pm

    eh, i’m a dark-skinned malaysian MAN, and even i get asked by folk "are you indian?", to which i casually respond to with a "no". sometimes the conversation stops there, sometimes it continues.

    funnily enough, its not only those of indian origin that ask me this question. and i’ve not noticed that only men ask it (women ask me the same question).

    bottom-line: i think its just an ice breaker.

    or maybe, they just love seeing another indian abroad? who knows

    maybe i should try asking everyone i notice, "are you malaysian, ah?" oh wait, i could probably recognise one a mile away ;)


  16. adrock2xander (unregistered) on February 27th, 2008 @ 9:36 pm

    Indian2dacore: My partner and I were paying for our groceries together at the counter. She walked off, leaving me alone with him. No confrontation needed.

    Colin: Hey mate. Haven’t seen you in awhile :O


  17. Indian2dacore (unregistered) on February 27th, 2008 @ 9:36 pm

    damn!! you asian????? I thought you were some italian, greek, arab stuff…

    "People root for me ‘coz I am refreshingly different from most Asians, but at the same time, I’m singled out as a bad egg ‘coz…I’m Asian. Hahaha, okay that was a bad joke." Controversial, loud, rude and obnoxious, no topic is too taboo for adrock2xander."

    didn’t know that. I feel sorry for you. But my guess was so right!!! I knew you were a dumb shit born and bred here, scarred by anglo racism. You ooze of stupidity. No, band aids cannot help you. Sorry! Go back to Asia and understand your roots, understand your background and come back to australia as a more responsible human. That’s the only solution for your ignorance and stupidity. Or do community service in Melbourne.Ah!! for you, why don;t you serve a day or two in a servo. Bro, let me ask you something. Give me an honest answer? How did you get a sri lankan looking chick? Never knew there were dumb varities among them too.


  18. adrock2xander (unregistered) on February 29th, 2008 @ 6:04 pm

    How is be being an Asian has anything to do with the material I write?

    And no, you’re wrong. I wasn’t even born here. I’ve only been here for four years. Spent 25 years in Asian thanks.

    Don’t bring my partner into this.

    Btw, this comment of yours was left pending. Which means, I also have your email (among others). You’ve been spamming. I allowed it to go up, so people can see what a childish buffoon you are.

    Please, have some decency. Keep your dick in your pants and don’t get other people’s partners involved.


  19. Yash (unregistered) on March 1st, 2008 @ 3:59 pm

    Hmm, staring? Well I have had that problem when I was dating my ex back in India. Unfortunately, while it seems bad – yes, the ‘lower class’ would indulge in it. i aint biased, I was born and brought up there but by lower class, I mean not so well to do. We indians do belv in being the biggest hypocrites possible. Attitude towards sex and population growth proves that.

    having said that most indians in the arab countries who have gone there are doing menial tasks, its amazing for them to see the kind of liberties accorded to females since they have never even been to indian cities. they are the harmless sort though, at best a bit of eve teasing which according to them is they way to break the ice.

    as for asking ‘are u indian’ is bcz of another attitude problem. it happens especially when one of the partners (dating / married) is indian and the other is caucasian / chinese etc. most indians find it unbelievable that partners could get together from different races. this i can tell from personal experience of the last few years.

    Oh and btw, try going to china / HK if you are a non chinese but have a chinese partner. its even worse. ppl are so curious, wouldnt belv that i cant talk mandarin but have a chinese gf.

    but i take it that they find it hard to belv rather than them being rude.


  20. adrock2xander (unregistered) on March 1st, 2008 @ 5:43 pm

    Hi Yash. Again nice to see you contributing to the blog, not adding to the ‘I AM A DICKHEAD’ list :O

    Yes, as a Singaporean Chinese myself – which answers India2dacore’s ignorance about me being an Aussie Asian who’s never been to Asia – I have lots of stares and old-fashioned mindsets about my partner. They’d ask why I’m going out with an ‘Indian’. In Singapore anyone’s who’s not Chinese and is either a Malay or someone from the Indian sub-continent is of lower class while anyone from Europe (white skin) is of higher class.

    Such stupidity does exist even in Asia. But nobody asks if my partner’s ‘Indian’ though. They just instantly assume.



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