For our last few nights in Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, we moved to a nice little hotel in the Laakar Bazaar district in order to be more central.
The hotel was decent enough and everyone who worked there was quite nice. But there was one employee who went above and beyond the call of duty.
He was kind of like a bellhop, but also worked in the restaurant and just kind of helped out with whatever needed to be done. As we were checking into our room he began to converse with us. "What country are you from?" "What are your names?" etc.
He was quite nice and so we indulged in some light conversation with him. At the end he wanted a selfie with us, which isn't unusual. We've taken millions at this point. But then he asked if he could meet us in the evening because he wanted to talk with us more in English.
We said okay, he left and we went on with our day. Sadly by the time we got home from touristing it was quite late and we honestly had forgotten to look for him (he was working anyway) and we went straight to our room.
The next day we saw him and there was a sad look on his face. Turns out he waited for us until midnight! We felt terrible.
We weren't actually able to meet with him until the last day. It was actually just me (Nate), who met with him. I agreed to talk with him in the restaurant and I brought my computer armed to show him some pictures of our trip and our blog etc.
As soon as I sat down the first thing he asked me was, "can you get me a visa for the UK?" I looked at him shocked and said I was from America. He then asked if I could get him one for the U.S. Sadly, I told him I couldn't for reasons obvious to anyone from there. I explained that the process was quite complicated and expensive and that I had no connections or authority.
After that we chatted a bit more and he insisted on giving me a gift which was quite sweet. I tried to refuse but he wouldn't have it. He also invited us to his village to stay with him and his family and said it would be "his greatest honor". At the very end he told me "we will be best friends and I will write you on Facebook every day". Well he's kept his promise.
I've received messages almost every day ranging from, "how are you?" to "where are you?" to "I love you", "I miss you" and "please come back to Shimla!". Marta and I were a bit worried and quite shocked that we might have an actual stalker.
But since talking with other Indian friends we think it's a combo of things. One is a "lost in translation", two is a cultural difference, and three, he's never been treated this way by a foreigner before. The hotel we stayed at was really a locals place where Indian tourists stay. I don't think many westerns have stayed there. And the fact that two exotic foreigners walked in, talked with him gave him probably far more respect than Indian tourists do, he couldn't help but wear his heart on his sleeve.
With that perspective in mind, we're still in touch and he think he is a great guy. His messages still "weird" me out a bit but I try to remember they are coming from a good place. And although we don't always get it, we have to say the people of India are some of the sweetest, most sincere people we have ever met.
... and that's my story and I'm sticking to it.