I'm Glad I'm Not Richard Gere

Steve Hamm

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.