I so fuckin’ love this lady. She really is that lady in my head with all the right words. It reminds me of my latest trip. Trip to Rajasthan. I was on eating golgapas in the streets of Jodhpur, when this uncle starts chatting with us. We were photographers travelling, so he asked us to join them next day for a traditional local festival. He starts talking to me too. The first question is, “Beta shadi ho gayi apki?” (Are you married?). And me being single became the world’s saddest news for him. He looked at me with pity and he wished me that I would find my prince charming soon. He was so taken aback that, after 2 hours he finds me on the same street and blesses me again, “Is saal dekhna beta, apki shadi pakka ho jaegi” (You will for sure get married this year). Thanks for the forecast with a broadcast Stranger Uncle, I sighed with embarrassment. “Uncle ji, I don;t want to get married”, had I told this;I am certain he would have died instantly out of heart attack.
Date : 4th July,2013 Location : Karnataka Where are you from? : I am from Bihar Where in Bihar? : Bhagalpur, around 6hrs from Patna, overnight from Kolkata.
I was taught in school to answer this question as “I am from India” during the Kargil war in 1999. But that answer did extend to “I know you are an Indian, where in India? which state?” , with a smile curved around their face.
Date : 23th December,2009 Location : Vikramshila Express आपका नाम क्या है? : नंदिनी [ What is your name? : Nandini ] पूरा नाम : नंदिनी [ Full name? : Nandini ] ठीक है, पिता का नाम क्या है? :राम बहादुर साहू [ Ok, Father's name? : Ram Bahadur Sahu ] बहादुर, नेपाली? साहू, फिर शाह : साहू Bahadur,Nepali? Sahu or shah : Sahu
I wish I had replied to that typical uncle, “चाचा, तेली हू! आप मेरी जाति सही पूछ रहे थे, है न |” [ Uncle, I am a Teli. You were asking my caste. Weren’t you? ]
These boundaries, religion – caste – geography. I wish I was not so civilized, you know.
- I could swim freely like a fish and fish in the unbounded ocean and not be jailed.
- I could fly freely like that Great egret across the continents without having to cross a wall.
- I could be gallop as an antelope, all the land like it is mine , without having fought for it.
- I could build my nest wherever I wanted to without having the worries of this world.