visiting ‘recommended’ artisans in a city, town, village?

should you even bother?

this is a situation i have been faced with often…

a couple of year ago, i visited the river nila project. set in kerala. this is the efforts of one person to make people respect and care for the river that runs through the north – the malabar region of kerala. over years, there has been much abuse in terms of overuse of the water and now, ‘stealing the sand’ from the drying beds of the river…

was invited to walk into local potter’s home and also a local dance troup’s performance space right in the middle of their village. and i had a big burning issue, they were well ‘touristed’. so expected rather large (lead by dollar expectations) rewards at the end and expected a gay abandon from us that indians maybe are not always capable of 😀

is it that i do not want to give as much?

or is it that i still demand the experience to be untouched and natural? not seemingly contrived and catered to tourists whims and fancies or sensibilities?

or is it that i don’t like this exotification of india? somehow not what i seem to want?

so while traveling with this new ‘off-beat’ tag, how does one ensure that the foreigner has not been there before us? as indians we are always the last to explore beyond are blinker driven lives? aren’t we?

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