I was 18 years old and traveling India alone the first time I got mugged.
Young and Naive
I was 18 and in the south of India. I had just checked into a hotel in Goa which is a coastal region of the country with beaches that stretch along the Arabian Sea. This was during the first leg of my six month trip around the world which started in India.
My father returned back to London and I was super nervous about being in India on my own. Afterall, I was young and really knew nothing about traveling alone. 😰
Blinded By Immersion
I only spent time with Indians who were on holiday from other parts of India, I went a month without speaking English, I’d have dreams in Hindi, and I would think and speak in Hindi before I spoke English. 🙊
I completely immersed myself in the experience of the country while I was there.
The Other Side
I met this guy when I was on a bus tour going through Goa, the irony is that it is considered to be this “hippy” place where people go to beaches and they might smoke weed and generally just laze around.
It was a party in this part of the city, whereas I was going to the “other side”. This “other side” consisted of beaches 🏖️ that were meant for the national tourist– it was more peaceful…less hippie.
It wasn’t exactly the type of experience I was looking for but that’s where I wound up via a tour I booked locally.
So This Guy…
So I met this guy on the bus 🚌. We quickly befriended each other because when you’re 18 and on your own you kind of cling to anyone who shows you any sort of level of kindness during the struggle of being alone. 🕺
Just Do It
I had come to the point where my tour of India was finished but this guy had booked an extended tour. After telling him that my time in India was essentially up, he said to me, “Hey man, why don’t you just crash in my room? I’ve got this gigantic double bed so you can stay there and continue the tour.”
I thought, fuck it, why not! Let me do that; I can see more of the country. 🤘
On This Fine Day…
The day came when I was going to book a bus so that I could head to Pune.
I momentarily left and I went over to the bus station and bought myself a ticket 🎫, headed back and I went to the room where the room door was locked: I thought he must have gone out. I waited a little while because my bus wasn’t due to leave until an hour or two later, wasn’t for far away.
Ten, fifteen minutes went by and he still hadn’t returned 🤔.
I asked the hotel staff if they knew when he would return, they said no.
I then explained to them the situation I currently found myself in, asking if they could give me access to the room. I simply thought he’d gone out for a while and may not return before my bus was due to leave.
I felt a little bit suspicious about it all, but hey, what are you gonna do?
I went into the room and there were two t-shirts 👕 lying on the bed.
Then I quickly realized that all of the guy’s stuff gone.
I looked at my stuff and didn’t really think much of it; it all seemed to be here.
So, I grabbed all of my items, started getting it all together and that’s when I noticed that money in my wallet was missing. A few hundred rupees– maybe 60-70 pounds was just gone.
I went downstairs and I asked the hotel about it, asked if they could check his details. Turns out, he’s gone. They looked up his phone number and called it, but the number was disconnected. The address he’d given them also didn’t exist. 🤢
In the Pit of My Stomach
I had this horrible sinking feeling.
I wanted to cry.
I’d been completely juked.
I felt the fall and I didn’t really have much time to process it because I knew I needed to get on my bus. So, I got down to the bus station where I’d bought the ticket, got on the bus, and was still very nervous 😬 because they shout out the names of the stops on the way and they only say it once. It was a bus for local people rather than for tourist busing.
I felt like the odd one out so I just kept my mouth shut.
I didn’t really know the route or anything because I didn’t have a phone, no G.P.S., no sense of direction.
I was scared to sleep in case I missed it.
Destroyer of Photographs, Keeper of Cameras
As I began to look through my stuff, to find things that would comfort me, I then realized that my camera, my camera and all the photos that went with it, was also missing. 📸 That was when my heart really sank. I realized that this had been the man’s cruel intention from the start. 💔
I remember him asking to look at my camera, to look through the photos. And he made a point to say that this looked like an expensive camera and I was honest and said it had only cost me a few hundred pounds.
Fool Me Once
Him taking the money and the camera from me and then disappearing, it was a huge lesson for me.✔️
Looking back it also taught and imparted on me some important lessons for an 18-year-old, and they still are.
It was a frightening and rather an emotional time.