Five Times Dmitry’s Sunglasses Made Indian Men Swoon
Dmitry bought a pair of knock-off Ray Ban sunglasses while we were traveling in Thailand. Actually, he bought 5 pairs and I started to think he was turning into a hoarder. But one of those pairs – the glasses in question – are plain, black wayfarers whose only distinguishing feature is the matte black frame.
Dmitry says they are remarkably comfortable and his favorite pair of sunglasses ever. But I didn’t pay them much attention until we got to India – when suddenly it seemed like everyone was paying attention.
The first incident was funny, weird, but mostly unremarkable. The second incident felt like a set-up. By the third incident, I swore I would write a blog post when we reached five. So here it is: Five times Indian men swooned over Dmitry’s sunglasses.
1. Thanjavore: “Give him your sunglasses.”
We arrived at our hotel in the temple-town of Thanjavore after a long sweaty ride through dusty streets, and folded up as a group of about 10 guys looked on – all of whom seemed to work for the hotel and none of whom offered to help with our bags. They did, however, follow us inside to surround us and begin chatting with the man behind the desk. As we were waiting for this conversation to end so that we could begin the interminable paperwork that accompanies the check-in process, the man behind the desk turned to Dmitry, and said “Give him your sunglasses,” gesturing to his current interlocutor. The instruction was so matter-of-fact, it almost seemed as though this was a required part of the check-in process. Dmitry complied, and we were finally allowed to check in.
2. Kochi: “I’ll keep it for you.”
Our waiter at a restaurant in Kochi was quite a character – a young man who kept asking if we liked “reggae” and then making a smoking-a-joint gesture with his thumb and forefinger. (In answer, no and no.) He took Dmitry’s sunglasses off the table, tried them on, asked how he looked, then put them into his pocket, “I’ll keep it for you.” After Dmitry got the glasses back, the waiter spent the rest of the evening spinning a menu on his finger and staring blankly into space. Pretty sure he was a HUGE reggae fan.
3. Thattekad: “Give to me!”
A man on a white scooter pulled up alongside us as we were riding and began speaking and gesturing to Dmitry. At first Dmitry could not understand what he was saying, until the man pointed to his face, then to Dmitry: “Sunglasses! Glasses! Give to me!” Dmitry declined, and the man rode on.
4. Ooty Train: A sneaky selfie grab.
We made many stops on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, and at most of them the passengers disembarked for endless rounds of photos. One group had been scoping Dmitry out for a while, sidling up and trying to get him into their selfie frame. Dmitry dodged successfully for the first few stops, but was eventually taken by surprise and surrounded. As they moved Dmitry into the camera frame, one of the crew grabbed the sunglasses from Dmitry’s shirt and donned them for the photo.
5. Mysore: The Norwegian Maneuver.
During a brief stop at a liquor shop in Mysore, a customer (or hanger-on, it’s never clear) grabbed Dmitry’s glasses off the counter and put them on. As he asked Dmitry, “Where from?” Dmitry replied, “They’re not real.” The man said, “Norway?”
Each one of encounters is random and harmless on its own, but the aggregate was striking. By theway, I also have Thailand-bought knock-off Ray bans and no one has ever tried to take, wear, or grab mine.