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Of Giants and Infants…

August 6, 2014

6 months of working in Spain had several effects on my perception of the world. I had fine-tuned my eyes to such an extent that a face with Indian sub-continental features would show out in high contrast against the predominantly Caucasian European faces in an extremely crowded area. Having been used to hearing Spanish and Catalan during the whole stay, I could accurately pinpoint the location of a person speaking any language spoken in India within 50 metres. My hearing ‘radar’ was so finely honed that I was able to predict the state and probably the dialect of the language spoken with good accuracy. Looking at a fat man with North Indian Caucasoid features cursing the mobile phone signal reception, I could make out that he was from Punjab from his accent, and that it was possibly the state (?) in Pakistan based on the choice of words which he used. Looking at a fair looking man with rounded facial features, I could guess he was from undivided Bengal based on how he said “Ghar” as “Ghor”. We were slightly proud and thought of our homeland very often.

During the flight back to India, the transit was at the Doha airport. Before boarding the flight, the airport was flooded with Indians. Aunties in Sarees were a sudden surprise. About a thousand people speaking in all the familiar tongues seemed like a dream. My hearing had become so sharp that I could hear couples talking some 10 chairs away. I was literally submerged in sounds. A group of people talking in Spanish nearby was the last vestige of foreign-ness around me. I felt nervous with so much of Tamil and so less Spanish around me. Mentally my ears pained me.

When we boarded the connection flight to Chennai, the whole place was filled with so much noise that I could hear bits and pieces of conversations in Tamil and Hindi. The flight safety instructions in Arabic were the only reminders of our presence in a foreign land. While my friend occupied the window seat, I occupied the aisle seat. When the flight took off, I decided to occupy myself with a Tamil movie I wanted to see a year ago. I noticed that two sharply dressed formally looking gentlemen sat to my right. My ultrasensitive hearing picked up their conversation before I placed the headphones over my ears. They spoke of world affairs…Israel and Palestine…China and India…Obama and Osama… Intellectual conversations, but I decided to watch my movie. When the movie ended after more than a couple of hours, the men were still deep in conversation…Hinduism and Caste system in India…3D printing and Apple devices…IT sector and jobs…After two meals and a siesta in between them, I could still overhear some of their conversations. I decided to stay zipped over my comments to ask them to carry on with softer voices. When the flight landed, the overhead LED indicators glowed instructing us to keep our seatbelts on. That’s when Mr. Intelligently-looking-Know-it-all stood up from my right.

“They ask us Economy passengers to sit down while they make the Business class passengers get off the plane. I say! Who follows these rules!?” said the man.

“So true, sir! So true!” replied his sycophant standing up as well.

It was 3.15 am. The man opened his bag, wore a blazer, smiled and walked away towards the exit gate to stand and wait for 15 minutes while the LED still glowed overhead telling us to keep the seatbelts on. My friend and I waited till the plane almost emptied itself of its passengers and stood up to see the whole flight littered with plastic covers. The flight attendant didn’t care. The men who travelled didn’t care. We were back. Rules were now plain guidelines. Laws were minor setbacks with loopholes. We were back in the world with many Intellectual giants but Moral infants…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 12, 2014 7:38 pm

    Nice way to show our “proper” behavior!!!!

  2. MURDER permalink
    September 17, 2014 10:04 pm

    People try to board a bus before the people inside could get down. And then they start speaking world affairs after boarding the bus.

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