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We Are Like That Only

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by twinsmom, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. twinsmom

    twinsmom Silver IL'ite

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    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"><meta name="ProgId" content="Word.Document"><meta name="Generator" content="Microsoft Word 10"><meta name="Originator" content="Microsoft Word 10"><link rel="File-List" href="file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5Ckarthik%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_filelist.xml"><o:smarttagtype namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" name="State"></o:smarttagtype><o:smarttagtype namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" name="place"></o:smarttagtype><o:smarttagtype namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" name="country-region"></o:smarttagtype><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if !mso]><object classid="clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D" id=ieooui></object> <style> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </style> <![endif]--><style> <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";} </style> <![endif]--> A month back, Uncle G was visiting with us. Uncle G is Appa’s ( late FIL) brother, who has settled down in the <st1:country-region><st1:place>US</st1:place></st1:country-region>. He had flown down on hearing about his elder brother’s demise. He is the same uncle whom I have referred to in my ‘Kick-starting on Self Motivation’ blog. Yes, the one who derisively hooted with laughter when I claimed to cover 3 laps of the park in 45 minutes; he did 7 rounds in an hour.
    Uncle G has settled down in the <st1:country-region><st1:place>US</st1:place></st1:country-region> and I don’t think he will ever return to <st1:country-region><st1:place>India</st1:place></st1:country-region> except on brief visits. His family is there, they have all become American citizens and Indian roots are slowly being snipped off. In fact, though there are still a few helixes and coils of ‘Indian-ness’ (politically, he is a staunch conservative) in his DNA, it is pure ‘American-ness’ that courses freely through his blood.
    While we were talking about the people who frequent the park, he remarked that people in BDVT are so unfriendly… they do not smile at strangers, they do not greet ‘fellow –walkers’… why they hardly recognize the regulars or acknowledge their presence.
    “ Why can’t they smile at one another or greet a person whom they have seen frequenting the park’s pathway, every day?” he asked. Back home (<st1:state><st1:place>Virginia</st1:place></st1:state>) perfect strangers smile at you and greet you with a cheery ‘Good Morning’ or ‘Good Evening’ as you meet them on the way.
    He had a point there. Folks at Bhadravathi can hardly be termed overly friendly. Their way of saying Good Morning is, “ Coffee Aayitha?” or Thindi Aayithaa? Or OOtta Aayitha? ( Have you had coffee? Have you had breakfast/ Have you had lunch?)
    I have noticed this too. Very few people smile at you when you smile at them. Even ladies look at you with a suspicious stare when you smile at them. In my 2 months of morning walks only 3 or 4 people acknowledge my existence. One, an old gentleman, Appa’s (Late FIL) acquaintance, another, a student of S. Aunty (S Aunty teaches music ), and then a lady who thought I was some officer in some govt. office or private institution who asked me to get her a job as an ayah…( whose smiles are waning after not getting the right response from me!) That was about all. And to think the park teems with 2 to 3 dozens of the denizens of Bhadravathi.
    It is not that bonhomie and camaraderie are extinct hereabouts. There are coteries and twosomes who exchange gossip and debate issues even as they pant and palpitate their way around the park’s worn path. But I guess it as difficult to enter their fold as it is to get a membership in the country club.
    Somehow, Uncle G’s words mad me feel that I live in the outbacks where civilization is yet to dawn and I decided to do my bit to bring about a sea-change. I am going to be the quintessential jovial walker who is going to flash friendly smiles at all those compatriots of the early hours, till it becomes second nature to everyone to smile at everyone else, I told myself.

    So the next morning, I fitted some billion dollar smiles ( like all those genial Americans in <st1:state><st1:place>Virginia</st1:place></st1:state> who smile at Uncle G) inside my cheeks and got ready to flash it at the unsuspecting multitudes in the park.

    First, I smiled at the short lady in pink sweater and red scarf who stared dourly at me. One billion wasted. Next I smiled at two gentlemen who were walking towards me very busily talking about somebody in some office…who ignored my beaming face - another billion dollar smile wasted.
    There was that tall gentleman with the Vodafone pooch that stakes his claim of every tree by peeing religiously at their stumps… Since I would have to crane my neck up skywards to smile at the guy, I smiled at the pooch instead… (Perfect logic, for when you smile at a baby, the mother will smile back at you…) but I need not have wasted another of my precious smiles. The man ignored me and pooch the snootily hoisted its hind leg and went about its business. I hurried along.
    A man and his wife were hurtling towards me… I smiled at them and the man smiled back, but as soon as I passed them, I heard her hiss, “Who is she? Do you know her?” I suppose they were still arguing about me by the time I passed them the next time, because he looked the other way.
    Then came a tallish gentleman…around my age. I was, by now toting just a million dollar smile, having lost millions in futile investments earlier. So at eye contact, I gave a half a million dollar smile and got one big smile in return. Aaaaah! Welcome Civilization! I thought. Then I realized that it takes patience to cut through the tough veneer of people. Like Robert Bruce, I had to try, try, try again, if at first I didn’t succeed. During my third lap, (817mx3) I saw the same gentleman approach me. Before I could radiate my countenance with a smile he flashed a set of 32 at me and murmured something… “Good morning to you too,” I muttered as an after thought after he had passed by. One friendly soul, I thought.
    During my last lap ( 817m x4) , I saw the guy walk towards me and I was poised to smile at him again… when…
    HE WINKED AT ME! THEN FOLLOWED A LASCIVIOUS SMILE AND ANOTHER WINK!
    I quickly swallowed the leftover millions of dollars worth smiles. “Idiot!” I muttered to myself.
    So much for my attempts at being friendly! Did I get across some wrong message to him?
    Did I actually see what I saw? Did he actually wink? And that smile… it was definitely not the kind of friendly smile I expected… How do I know? Come on… a woman knows… And this woman certainly doesn’t like such business.

    Now, I whenever I see the man approach me ( I walk in the clockwise direction and he in the anticlockwise), I stare stonily ahead…carefully wiping any trace of smile from my face.
    I am just like all the other residents of BDVT now, minding my own business as I walk briskly, not even smiling at the cows and dogs who loll about, watching the mad humans go round and round, huffing and puffing.

    Next time Uncle G asks me why we don’t walk an’ talk… or smile or greet one another, I”ll tell him, “ We are like that only!”
     
  2. Jpatma

    Jpatma Silver IL'ite

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    Enjoyed immensely your post with your mastery over language.
    Your closing was superb "we are like thatonly". Somethings from west cannot be implimented sometimes at some places.
    All my western friends never talk abt my increasing girth while my friends in India keep saying " Aare u have goneso fat" . So now adays i tell them fbefore hand i have gone very fat. My western friends keeps asking me why are you all so impolite.
    I think i will tell them we are like that only.
    Jaya
     
  3. Sriniketan

    Sriniketan IL Hall of Fame

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    Rightly said Twinsmom.
    Any good change face these kind of obstacles which would make the 'changer' change to his/her 'previous face'..what to do, we are like that only..:)

    Billion dollar smile...I liked that expression..
    You are a billionaire indeed, with your billion dollar humour, making us smile through your posts..:thumbsup

    sriniketan
     
  4. BeeAmma

    BeeAmma Silver IL'ite

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    Hi Twinsmom,
    Given the state of the economy and unemployment rate in the US, people have become less friendlier over the past year at least in my location in US. I think it a function of the general mood. People were friendlier in more prosperous times.
     
  5. knot2share

    knot2share Gold IL'ite

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    Hi Twinsmom

    Enjoyed this write up. What to do, all genuine intentions are misinterpreted isn't it......But your billions have not gone waste even a bit. Those people who ignored your smile, will soon follow suit. Also you have made us all smile here with your post. Just ignoremadi that colourful character.

    Even here, like your Uncle G says, strangers we cross on roads during walks smile at you and wish you saying "G'day / Hows it going? / Good Morning / Hello "..... It is such a nice feeling. There is a bounce in our walking as soon as somebody says that to us and we reply back.
     
  6. Mindian

    Mindian IL Hall of Fame

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    hi twinsmom,

    hahaha nice write up...i too have experienced the same in namma bengaluru...depending on the time of the day it would be coffe aayudutha or tiffin aayudutha....and i used to answer with a smile..i too have an automatic smile for ppl i meet during my walks or in the lifts..sometimes it is reciprocated sometimes its not..anyways fine with me,:)
     
  7. sowmyasridhar

    sowmyasridhar Senior IL'ite

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    You make me run to my dictionary atleast once :)...

    Good write up. Enjoyed it....Even in metro cities smiling and greeting a male and female gives a different meaning..In rural areas we need not say at all.....
     
  8. twinsmom

    twinsmom Silver IL'ite

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    Hi Jaya,

    I know.... I know.... Indians just don't think when they remark about your appearance and illness and such sensitive topics. Just imagine, someone comes visiting after a long time, and has to face " Ayyo! What happened? You have gone down so much... Are you okay or is something wrong with you?"
    Many people are insensitive to such issues....
    SIGH! We ARE like that only!
     
  9. twinsmom

    twinsmom Silver IL'ite

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    Hi Sriniketan,

    Sigh! My billion dollar smiles get dividends here in IL.... Thank God, in the cyberspace, we are not like that only!:thumbsup
     
  10. twinsmom

    twinsmom Silver IL'ite

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    Hello Bee Amma,

    How sad! I suppose, the recession has brought about nothing worth smiling about... but at least smiles can be comforting too... Each to his own...eh?
     

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