Allan and I had just met four hours ago and he irritated me.
Not because he wasn’t pleasant. He was male.
I first noticed it when we walked back to his hotel. The old section of Udaipur has a main street that bursts with humans, rickshaws, cars and motorbikes constructed of various nuts, bolts or chromosomes. The street heaves, contracting endlessly to fit all these objects.
Offshoots from the main street become snaking one-way streets. It was down one of these streets when Allan was assaulted. With kindness.
A male shop worker slapped him affectionately on the back. Smiling broadly as he recounted how Allan bought them tea at a restaurant the other day.
Another hugged him almost tenderly, telling me that Allan spent an hour in his shop talking like old friends.
A few would idle in front of their stores, yelling a “hello” to him. The type of greeting bursting with camaraderie.
You would think the Maharaja himself was resurrected and here he was in the flesh.
What annoyed me was not Allan’s popularity, but his experiences.
How effortlessly he forged buddy connections in a short amount of time.
Most of my experiences were great, yet could not be rated as warm and fuzzy. Always the curious questions; sometimes a joke or two. When I was in a restaurant, usually one male acted as the spokesperson, while the rest hungrily gawked.
I mused about my latest one. A self-proclaimed neighbor who lived next to my guesthouse offered to drive me back one night. I had just arrived and was absolutely lost on how to get back, though had a vague idea. Vague ideas were not going to