The Indians that I know are completely mystified by my interest in their culture. No one seems to have a problem with it, though some have suggested (as previously mentioned) that I may be romanticizing it.
A collection of reactions:
I was running into a 7/11 because I needed to buy a pen to write a note for a person whose car I just hit. The Indian guy behind the counter was intrigued by my Om necklace and wanted to know if I knew what it was. Didn't have time to explain to him that I know exactly what it is.
During an Indian dance class my teacher started explaining the story of the dance, which is based on a story in mythology in which Shiva drinks an ocean of poison to protect the earth and his wife keeps him from swallowing it. It's a really famous story. My teacher was stunned that I knew it and couldn't seem to understand how it was possible that I did.
I used to work at a place where people take exams, such as the English as a Second Language exam. During a break in the exam I was chatting with an Indian girl. I asked where she was from and she said, "India." I asked where in India and she was skeptical that I would know the parts of India. She was from Gujurat and I surprised her by knowing exactly where that is. I told her I was trying to learn Hindi and she stared at me. Finally she said, "Why?"
That is pretty much the universal reaction. Why would I be interested? Why would I know these things? Why would I care? How could I know anything about their culture?
I don't know why. I wish people would stop asking that. I wish it would just be okay for me to follow my heart. Brings me back to the possibility that what I really need is probably to stop being so consumed with what other people think.