The man popped up a foot from my nose and started talking to me while walking backwards.
“Sir, Dal Lake, Nigeen Lake, Jhelum River, shikara ride, only 40 Euroes.”
“Pandrah rupyaa.” (Fifteen rupees)
Then he turned and fled.
I looked at Vinod, who i was walking with. He was laughing away. I joined in.
There is infinite joy in being mistaken for a foreigner in the country i was born. There is also frustration, when i am asked to pay in Dollars to enter monuments — that is another story. Being mistaken for a foreigner is being given a cheat-code for the system.
Maybe it was the beret. Maybe it was the orange Netherlands jersey. Maybe it was the Crocs. Or, maybe, it was the hair. Probably the hair.
One Euro was 80 Rupees at that time. “Kyaa?” was an instinctive response, a reaction really. I was not prepared.
He too, was not prepared. The “Pandrah Rupyaa” attested to that. A drop of 3,185 Rupees in the blink of an eye.
A Dal moment, for sure.