Avoid skin show in the City?

History repeats itself. One more advisory has been issued against the infamous ‘rape culture’ of Delhi-NCR. The Manila-based Asian Development Bank, which is slated to have a large annual meeting in Greater Noida soon, has warned its foreign invitees against baring legs or wearing short dresses ‘as it could hurt Indian sensibilities and lead to sexual harassment.’ It further says, “Avoid public display of affection such as cuddling, kissing or even holding hands.” ADB is expecting over 4000 delegates from 67 countries.

As Delhiites, we may feel insulted over such statements but surprisingly foreigners living in Delhi are not perturbed. They are not even offended at diktats curtailing their freedom of clothing and rather accept it as ‘When in Rome live like Romans.’ Metrolife found out thus.

Yuriko Lochan, a Japanese artist who has been residing in Delhi for 25 years, says, “I am hardly surprised at such an advisory. With incidents like the December 16 gang rape and cases even thereafter, India, sadly, has become notorious for disrespecting and violating its women. Everyone is worried, especially those who are planning to come to India for tours or work.”

“If someone comes here in their personal capacity, then they just have to look out for themselves. However, if it’s an organisation like ADB, it is obvious that they would caution their guests beforehand of such incidents and culture here. Forewarned is forearmed.”

Virginia Pitts, a Mexican chef with a newly opened restaurant in Delhi says, “When I came to Delhi August last year, I was very comfortable going out in my shorts, especially due to the hot and humid weather here. But once I noticed the women here dressing up much more conservatively and the men being in a habit of staring and remarking, I switched to pyjama-kurtis. Frankly speaking, it is much more comfortable to be not stared at than necessarily being in clothes of my choice.”
Jack Leenaars, who conducts the famous Delhi By Cycle Tours in Old Delhi expresses, “We issue a similar advisory to our guests coming on the cycle tours. Old Delhi is even more reserved and if you show skin here, someone may just point it out. It is better to be safe than sorry.”

“Generally, we tell the women guests to not wear any flimsy shirts, shorts or short skirts. We tell them to be fully covered. Mostly, we have full compliance without any complaints from our guests. In case they have an objection, we just tell them ‘come at your own risk.’”

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