ANAMIKA

'(The Blog) With No Name', perhaps best described as a stream of notes and thoughts - 'remembered, recovered and (sometimes) invented'.

Monday, March 30, 2009

"You Look Worried!"

A hot late afternoon. I thought of visiting the 'Crossword' Bookshop. Having walked a few kilometers, I stopped at a 'Paan Parlour' and bought a soda. Tiredly gulping down the drink, I asked the shopkeeper: "How does one reach 'Mithakali Junction'?" (the bookshop is a few blocks from that crossing). He was halfway thru his answer when another customer suddenly interrupted and asked me: "How will you go there?"

"Paidal" I said.

"Just hang on till I finish this cigarette. Will drop you there on my bike" he offered.

Although not very keen on a pillion ride, I wait.

Between puffs he asks: "Where are you from?". I give the name of our neighborhood.

"No, where is your village?" he persists.

A: "South India, ... Kerala"

Q: "Oh Kerala! And what do you do?"

A: "I am a student... computers"

Q: "But you look my age, not the age to be studying!"

A: "Earlier, I used to work as an engineer..."

Q: "And NOW,... are you not searching for a new job?"

A: "Sort of... yes."

"Good. let us go!" He has finished the fag and starts up the bike. I get on. He expertly maneauvers the bike thru the crazy Amdavad traffic. A few minutes of silence between us...

Q: "Do you mind if I give you some local contacts. They will help you find a job, a software job"

A: "... Okay".

At this point, I spot Crossword and request him to stop. He neatly avoids an oncoming scooter with the comment "These Gujaratis are mad!" and puts me safely on the sidewalk. And he has some more questions.

Q: Got cellphone?

A: No.

Q: Got pen and paper?

A: No, I am afraid.

(He quickly takes a pen and a few scraps of paper from his pocket, tears off a bit from one of the sheets and gives it to me.)

Q: Okay, write! These are the names of people of your community. Kerala people. Meet them. Number one: Mister Amit Menon, note his number.... Mister Kurian, very good man, you know the type that goes to churches... note his number too. Then Mister Mohanan...

I faithfully write down the info. He takes the paper from me. Adds another number.
And says: "This is me. I am Nayan. I too am an outsider here like you. I am from Rajasthan."

Self: Thanks very much.

Nayan: And just one word of advice: don't drink soda water. It causes gas-trouble... But yes, do contact these gentlemen. They will help you, just say you are Nayanbhai's friend... Well, you may wonder why I am giving you all this information. Ask!

Self: Er... tell me.

Nayan: When I saw you ask the way, I knew you were an immigrant. And I could make out you are worried, ... worried about life in general. So, I thought why not help this guy? You know, I run a textile shop... I know nothing about your computers and stuff but I know Men - I employ 20 people - 10 Hindus, 10 Muslims - and know them all. And in some sense, I thought I know you!

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