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food / travel

Another Gandhi? Retired French Garbage Man Turns Heads In India



TOULOUSE – Three months ago, Jeannot Marciniak, a 70-year-old retired garbage collector from this city in southwest France, packed his bags for India, a country he'd long dreamed of discovering, reports Le Figaro.

While sitting on a bench in Pondicherry, in southern India, a man came up to him with a camera. “He showed me a thousand-rupee note with an image of Gandhi,” says Marciniak. “I realized that I looked a lot like him and that he wanted to take a photo of me, so I said yes.”

Thousand-rupee note. Photo Pdpics

Marciniak, a bald man with little round glasses and a moustache, is a dead ringer for Mahatma Gandhi, the non-violent activist who led India to independence from the British Commonwealth in 1947.

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The real Gandhi. Photo Wikipedia

Newspapers, tv stations came calling, and Marciniak became an overnight sensation in India, writes Toulouse newspaper, La Depeche du Midi. The retired garbage man couldn’t walk in the street without someone showing him a thousand-rupee notes and saying “Same Gandhi” or “Ghandi, picture, picture!”

Marciniak readily adopted his new persona, losing six kilos and swapping his T-shirt and shorts for the traditional Indian dothi tunic and a walking stick.

Back in Toulouse after three months in India, Marciniak says he’s planning to go back for another visit. “I’ll go to Bollywood. I hope to make a couple of bucks,” he says. “I’ve worked hard all my life, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t try my luck.”

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