Tuesday, April 05, 2005

30. Say Yes

Fig. 30-1: The Famous Shot of the Famous Taj Mahal

We did our duty as tourists in this country, and it was thus that we found ourselves in Agra a couple of weeks ago, and while the Taj Mahal truly is beautiful (see Fig. 30-1), the constant flow of tourists seem to have spawned a strain of shop owners and rickshaw drivers that are thoroughly resistant to standard methods of refusal to their constant offers of good bargains that you are clearly not interested in.

In response to this stepping-up of their game, I determined that the internationally standard No refusal had been rendered useless, so in place of it, I started to reply with Yes to every single thing offered, as I continued walking straight ahead as if I had said No.

At first, nobody figured out how to respond to this new technique, though after doing this sucessfully for an entire day, some little kid delivered a bit of karma (in the form of a small rock) into my back as I walked away from him, after enthusiastically telling him that I wanted to look his selection of postcards, never once looking at him or breaking my stride as I walked past.

The thing is, I couldn't really get mad at him because that's exactly what my response to me would be if I were in his shoes. I just laughed and kept on walking, assuredly saying Yes to everything that everyone offered me the rest of the way back to our guesthouse.

Fig. 30-2: The North Indian Shopkeeper in His Natural Habitat


And thus, the legend of the "Wandering 'Yes' Man of Indian" was born. They will celebrate your eternal wisdom by stoning your mustachioed straw effigy each year. 

Posted by Arron

4/05/2005 10:23 AM  

I would be honored if that were the legacy that I left behind with the touts in tourist towns.

Though I'm sure the stoning would take place, you can also be sure that the ritual would have an added component, in which a ceremonial checking of the  Wandering "Yes" Man of India's pockets would be carried out, just in case they still hid any Rupees that might be extracted by way of coercive sales techniques—these people are professionals, after all.

Posted by NICK

4/07/2005 2:30 AM  



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