Life is like a long train journey. Many people board the train with us, many people drop. We remember some of them, some of them we don’t. Loads of incidents which seem so unforgettable are lost with time. Today I will talk about 2 different such small incidents that I remember.
Paris, 2007 July. After a day long trip to Montmartre, I was returning to my hotel. Hotel was at “place d’italie” and I had to change metro twice before arriving at the destination. I was damn tired – somehow dragging myself towards the metro. I just punched my card in the machine and realized that a big man has pounced on me from back side. He held me so strong that for one moment, I could not even move. He was vehemently pushing me through the entry door. I thought I am in hand of some hooligan who wants my money. I tried thinking how many Euros do I have, realized that all my 300 Euros were in my pocket. All that happened in a second or two. He left me and I turned to find a big man bowing in front of me and saying “Thank You”. I was first surprised, then angry, then anxious about if my money is intact. I started shouting at him – he was surprised for a moment and then started being apologetic. All that were just for entering the metro station without a ticket. He did not have a ticket, so wanted to use my ticket to enter with me. So, he did not have an option than entering that way. It worked, but I kept wondering why did he not jump over. It could have been much easier.
Smokey Mountain, USA, 2008. Me and 3 of my colleagues took a trip from New York to Smokey Mountain. It was a 2 days long guided bus tour. The bus was nice, so was the place. The only part that we disliked was the guide Sunny. Everytime he opens his mouth, speaks English for 1-2 mins and then at least 5-6 minutes in Chinese. The bus had a mix of Indian, British and Chinese people – so we understood that Chinese language was necessary, but wondered why it was so important to speak so long in Chinese while few sentences in English were enough. Initially, we ignored, but over a period of time, what started as mere irritation turned into rage. One of my colleagues understood the logic behind it – Sunny is Chinese, so he is more bothered about satisfying his Chinese tourists. Then onwards, we started feeling deprived about every place we saw. Sunny was narrating the entire history of a place in Chinese while we were left out to understand by ourselves. We were angry and finally decided that we would not give him the tips money and complain against him for being so partial. When we landed near Smokey Mountain, four of us expressed all our anger. Some of my colleagues even used few words which are otherwise good to start a physical battle. Sunny listened to us very carefully for 10 minutes without any protest. He finally said “I was speaking in 4 different languages – English and 3 dialects of Chinese. As people were from different parts of China, their languages are different. Not all of them understand Cantonese. But I did not say even a single word extra in any of the languages”:-0