Are you Al-Jazeera?

Ever since i started travelling in Seoul i have been asked by curious koreans as to which country i belong to. One would say that that is a fairly normal question. However, thats not what i am asked. The first time i was asked, “are you Arab?” This was on the subway. On another occasion i was asked if i was Afghan. Then again i while waiting for the subway i was asked if i was from Iran. Once i was in Busan on the Hyundai (pronounced Hey-yun-they) beach and bunch of college girls as they passed by said among themselves,”Taliban”.
The last weekend i was in Jeju hiking the Halla mountain. On way down, one guy asked me if i was Al-Jazeera. I thought that was it…i had to blog this. Its two years for me in Seoul now. And i am preparing to face some more questions.
Indians (from India) who are of fair complexion(like the north-indians) and sport a beard or dont shave often will be vulnerable to such questions. Be prepared.

Once a Pakistani, a newcomer to the Institute i work in, asked me if i was Indian. That was the first time anyone asked me the right question.  I asked him why he didn’t think me to be a Pakistani or an Afghan or Arab. He replied that i had to be a bit more fair to be asked that question!  Did he already know who i was and was it just his way of starting a conversation?

I will never know.

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