41. Taking the Good with the Bad

Taking The Good With The Bad: Sloan wandered off for a bit to find the bathroom and take some photos on his own. I found myself a spot to sit down near the main steps to the Taj Mahal tomb. I was really happy sitting there, people watching, feeling like a kid with my feet hanging down too short to reach the ground. I had a really sweet moment with a Japanese teenager who asked me to take his photo and we both giggled as he tried to produce the least awkward forced pose possible. Soon though, I was surrounded by four Indian men who wanted their picture taken with a white woman. I knew better than to comply. This experience is all too common for women travelers in India and it’s best to set boundaries from the start but my guard was down and the need to please, be friendly, and not make a scene all trumped my better judgment.

Like a swarm of bees, they were around me. Big smiles, shaking hands, asking my name, telling me theirs. They asked if they could have one photo because I “looked very good with the beautiful Taj.” I said yes, laughed, and shook their hands. Those were my mistakes, all the rest were theirs. The whole thing happened so fast as one picture turned to four while each guy sat next to me alone and the guy in red took the photos. For the first picture he instructed me to move closer to his friend. I said no. Nobody budged. The next two guys were quick and kept their distance. The last photo was with the guy in red. He quickly sat down on my left and pushed his thighs tight against mine. I said NO, and moved away. Then I heard the click of the shutter. Next his right arm went up around my neck and he pulled me close. Again I said NO and threw my shoulder back to release his arm, he didn’t budge, and again I heard another click of the shutter. He then quickly took his left arm across his lap and squeezed my thigh. I pushed him away and shouted “STOP, that’s enough, we’re done.” Then there was one final click and all four of them scurried away laughing hysterically.

I sat for a moment totally saddened and humiliated but decided to think instead about those first sweet quiet moments Sloan and I shared that morning after the prayer calls woke us at 6 am and we went to the Taj and found the perfect quiet place to sit, shake off the sleepies, and watch the sun rise. After the sun had fully risen and the white marble turned pink in the light we decided to walk on and soak up the sights.


  1. rja72 says:


    Ugh. That’s, ‘scuse my french, f*ckin bullsh*t. Glad you are allright. Don’t feel humiliated. They should feel humiliated.

  2. amyispolish says:

    Thanks Ronnie. Sloan did scare them away when he came back and I told him what happened. Once they realized I was not alone and that the man I was with was now very pissed, they got out of there pretty quickly.