Seeking authenticity has long been a preoccupation for travelers. Those that consider themselves travelers (rather than tourists), want to capture what is ‘real’ even though a foreign culture can never truly be understood by an outsider. An authentic experience then might be one in which a culture remains opaque and incoherent. In this case, my recent two-week jaunt across India was a very authentic experience.

Before arriving in India my cultural context conjured colonial rule, a scantily clad Gandhi, exotic spices, cows and self-seeking journeys of discovery. I knew of the caste system that…