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Not tourism, but tout-ism

india Updated: Nov 13, 2009 12:40 IST
Namya Sinha
Namya Sinha
Hindustan Times
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The scene in actor Aamir Khan's Atithi Devo Bhava Campaign that shows touts harassing foreign tourists is a common sight. Even as the Capital prepares to receive foreigners for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, there are those who fear that Delhi is still not a very comfortable city for them.

Marina Bang from South Africa, who lives in the posh Jor Bagh, says, "I feel Delhi is much safer than my native land. There are, of course, places where you should never be alone." The sense of security is missing in quite a few of the international travellers HT City spoke to.

Aline from Switzerland who came to Delhi a month ago, says, "I don't feel 100 per cent safe in the city. You can't roam around in the night. The auto drivers really need to stop over-charging us! I always pay a lot more while travelling all by myself, but I've noticed that it doesn't happen when I'm with an Indian friend."

Irith, an Israeli who visited India last month, says in an email, "All' well except the stares you get if you wear a sleeveless top! But maybe even Indian women are stared at."Irith, however, did not face many problems. "The cops were very helpful whenever we approached them for assistance."

While the blogspace is filled with glories of Delhi's beauty, a lot has also been written about the behaviour of the people. In a blog called In and Out of Delhi, blogger Aubrey Groves writes about how she hates coming to Delhi because "of the hassle of a wide variety of touts out to try and s****w as many dollars as they can. Shooing them away quickly puts one in a negative mood."

Another blogger, Kieron Clark writes about her experience in Connaught Place, the Capital's touristy district. "We were besieged by auto-rickshaw drivers who took a keen interest in where we were going. "Ah, CP. Down that way," they said, pointing to the direction we were coming from. Then followed a chase lasting several kilometres in which a succession of touts followed and misdirected us, trying to talk us into going to one or another 'official' tourist bureau." These are exactly the kind of grievances Delhi can't play host to if it aims to make the Commonweath Games an affair to remember.