Actor Richard Gere has long been immensely popular in India. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's his spiritualism, or maybe it's just his rugged good looks. Strangely, whenever I have gone to India, I have been asked repeatedly by Indians if anybody ever told me I looked like Richard Gere. My answer: Only Indians. (Frankly, I don't see the similarity, even when I'm not wearing a beard) But it's clear that Indians think I look like Gere. When I was in Hyderabad last December and walking along a street, a car made a screeching U-turn and pulled up to the curb next to me. The young female driver smiled bashfully and asked, "Are you …” I finished her question: “Richard Gere? Sadly, no.”
Well, given Gere's recent run-in with Indian culture mores, I’m glad I’m not him, for once. And I think I'll avoid traveling in India for the time being. It doesn't pay--even for the fun of it--to be this guy's doppelganger any more.