“If you took people seriously in this part of the world,” he says, “you would never leave home.” And it is true that everywhere dangers and difficulties are exaggerated by the local people, if only as a good excuse for extortion or malingering; one must go oneself to know the truth.

– Peter Matthiesson, The Snow Leopard

I read that one of the first weeks I arrived in India. That statement couldn’t be more true. So many times I’ve been told “it’s not safe.” Always by an Indian. It’s not mean; I do believe that the Indians I’ve met are generally concerned for my safety. But it’s disconcerting to be constantly told that what you’re about to do (maybe just a simple walk down the street to buy toothpaste) is dangerous and scary, you shouldn’t go alone. I’m glad I didn’t buy into it too much, or else I’d be hiding out somewhere…like the beach in Goa.

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