The adorable foreigner

I had my share of interactions with the foreigners on a couple of occasions, those were not for such a long period or the tone of the interactions was more of a formal kind. The closest interaction for a longer duration of time was with one Israeli diplomat. We had met in some seminar and he was stuck up with his laptop. His presentation was scheduled up and his laptop failed to respond. Someone suggested him to take my help, I don’t know what exactly I did, but the laptop started, the desktop screen opened, with that his face brightened. He breathed a sigh of relief. The desktop wallpaper was of a beach of Goa, so I casually asked him whether he clicked that beautiful picture himself in Goa. The diplomat asked how I recognized the photo, I said, I belonged to that part of the world. The person instantly felt a strong connection with me, he said Goa is my second home, as his wife belonged there. He intently inquired many a thing about me, the place where I belonged etc. He gave his visiting card to me and promised to stay in touch. After that, we exchanged a few emails. Our busy lives ensured that the connect ended there.

Some days ago, I received an email from a P.hd scholar from the Netherlands. He was studying the effect of Self Help Groups and Women Empowerment activities in developing economies. He was one Mr.Robin.  He wanted to meet our team for the interactions. We invited him for the same. We agreed.

So, on that weekend a well built European came calling, what I liked about the western people was that they are not so very conscious about their mannerism. They don’t carry a mask with them, they are very expressive and very informal. We had some formal discussions with him, we gave him a presentation and he began his talks. Slowly we started opening up and began informal chats. He chatted on various topics and we proposed him to join us the very next day for the trip to  Pune, where we had some event.  Instantly, he said, “why not, sure”. We decided to assemble at the same place next day at 7 am.

The next day, the gentleman was there are at sharp 7 am. We assembled as per our sense of Indian Standard Time. Our trip started at around 8 am. And then as the journey began our talks began, we talked and shared quite a few stories and anecdotes. Robin now was an entirely different person, he was very jovial, he was around 28 years old, but, still maintained that impish looks in his mannerism. He was very talkative and had a very expressive face, one moment before he would make the sad face the other moment his face would brighten up. We are much more poker-faced in that respect.

He had a very good understanding of this big mix called India. He had been to this country seven times before and had traveled extensively. His inquisitive nature ensures that he is more well informed about quite a lot of things.  He is open to newer ideas and carries a very idealistic view of everything.

As the day progressed, we had thrown off the boundaries and inhibitions and were like close friends. He asked my colleagues’ many Marathi words. He wanted to know how to say “Are you mad?” in Marathi. My friend told him “veda ahes ka?”. The guy recited it and intermittently asked anybody “veda ahes ka?” It was a funny moment for us.

As the event began, Mr.Robin, the researcher started making mental notes, suddenly, he started clicking pictures. We gave him five minutes to speak.  The assembled crowd enjoyed the interaction. Later, he interacted with many participants and asked him many questions. The man was highly impressed by all this.

The day ended quickly and as we returned late in the evening. We were tired and worn out, but, the inquisitive Robin would not stop asking many a story. My friend suddenly asked him to tell a ghost story from his country. And, didn’t we really enjoy it? Mr.Robin was truly a genuine storyteller.

People do carry very wrong conceptions about foreigners, they look different, they behave differently, but, that is perhaps because they are less hypocrites than we are. They behave as they are, which we don’t do.

We will be in touch with Mr.Robin and will be relishing every bit of his stories in coming days as he will be in India for the next seven months or so.


What was that ???

I would urge reader of this article to post their take on what was that after all!!

Life was never as hectic as it has become, of late. It was my own creation, I keep reminding myself time and again. Weekends used to be so lazy and relaxed that sometimes I used to feel somewhat bored during weekends, with almost no work in hand. And now, weekends are even busier than weekdays.  

I had to visit Pune for a very important event last week. Some strange chain of events started taking place, looking back  I am now able to link it and find that it was not happenings in seclusion, but, rather a chain of events. I was feeling very drowsy and tired the entire week and given that I had to go to Pune on Saturday added to my pressure all the more. I had to do some urgent work on my laptop, some presentation I had to prepare and suddenly my laptop screen started playing tantrums. The laptop was working fine and was just 1 year old, that day all of a sudden the screen got distorted. Later it was discovered that the led screen had to be replaced. Somehow, using all my IT experience over the years, I managed to squeeze out the data from the laptop.  I thought it was one-off incident.  Then that very evening, when I was preparing for the visit I dropped my phone in the wash basin and it just won’t work. It was 11.00 pm in the evening and I was supposed to leave my house at 6.30 am the next morning. The phone contained all the contacts, messages, whatsaapp and other sources of communication, I had to call so many people the next day and this mess happened. Again, I had lost one more screen that very day. Somehow I manage to squeeze in the sim card on my other phone to connect with my friends.

I was half nervous the other morning, given the strange things that had happened. I worried about the event for which I was going to Pune. Thankfully, it went very well. That night I dreamt something unusual.  I vividly remember the dream even now. I saw all my relatives near a dead body, who was draped in white cloth and head covered. On the head, i could see blood stains which meant it was the accidental death. I woke up at around 2 am in the morning after that dream, badly shaken, I drank water and went off to bed. Strangely, again at around 5 am in the morning, I saw exactly the same dream. The same situation. I could not sleep after that.  One could surmise this as an act of a tired brain. What followed after that was even stranger. I received phone call early in the morning. The other side, my sister called me up and she was half crying. Very weirdly, she too had seen the same dream. But, she saw me dead in the dream, accidental death it was.  I was now shaken to find three identical dreams.

What was that after all? My friend suggested that I could have talked about something similar with my sister. But, we had not talked for about a month on any topic.  In the midst of all these things, out of nowhere, my left knee got severe pain, It went away after a couple of days, just as it came. suddenly.

The loss of things, followed by such dreams made me a little bit edgy. I consulted my friend, who gave an even more scary conclusion. My friend said that maybe the dream tried to forewarn you of something impending calamity, since, you could not see the dead person, a person very close to you saw the same dream with your face to forewarn you. Maybe, the loss of screens of mobile and laptop was an indicator of this impending calamity. As we in many parts of India believe that many times a broken glass indicates something bad. Maybe the positive energy ensured that I came out unscratched.

Whatever may be the reason behind these things, the sudden breaking of glasses of laptop and mobile, my sudden knee injury, the dreams all happened in such quick succession that one would always give alternate thinking a benefit of the doubt. Somehow, I survived to share this tale with all of you, my friends.