Another peaceful day went by at office. Reaching MG Road by about 8 30 I knew that our plans of some pub-hopping weren't far fetched. 10 00 pm and it was time to go home. Hopped into an auto near the Cubbon Road - Kamaraj Road (erstwhile Cavalry Road) junction.
"Lavanya Theatre, guru!", I muttered, with a Kannada accent thrown in for good measure. The signal went fluroscent green. An insect's high-frequency flutter could be made out with vagueness, set against the green. His day had just begun! Mine was coming to an end!
At Lavanya theatre I got off the auto and ran through my wallet looking for the odd coin or two to pay off exactly. Three strangers walk in a goose-flight combination towards the auto. The two behind, seem to be waiting and following every move of the guy in front. Must be in his early 30s. Certainly well to-do. Paan in mouth and attitude on the sleeve.
His huge head, goes past my peering one, towards the auto-driver's face. "Kailaspal", he said. "Kalaspalya", I played in my mind. The auto-driver didn't as much as look up towards his potential customer. He nodded his head in semi-circles. It means a "No!". It doesn't mean ambiguity in Bangalore.
Big_head looks to cross the road. I yell out "Boss, go this way". Thumb stuck out like Moriarty, I wave staggeredly in a direction, hundred metres down which is an auto stand. Most autos from there go to the place Big_head wanted to. I know, because I've lived close by for about 22 years now. I don't expect a thank you. But I certainly didn't expect what came next. With nonchalance and a condescending look, he stares at me and utters "I know that!" and heads off in the opposite direction. He didn't know his bleeding kidneys from his bloody larynx, I bet. I hold a mild grudge against him.
By nature I think most folks and communities are xenophobic. It's only an intrinsic part of society, certainly not something that's bad. It exists everywhere. I only wish that when a person comes down or goes out to a different place, he still understands that people are nice and wouldn't mind helping. The least you can do, is to have the maturity to appreciate someone's gesture and recognize those who genuinely want to help, from those who are out there for a con job. It never hurts to be helped or help. When any of you guys go out to a different place, from your place of comfort, just remember to appreciate those who have already been there for ages. Don't complain about the bad infrastructure, food not to your liking or the lack of a social life. If you do that, even New York City or Amsterdam might sound like a place you'd pray your enemies would go to. After all, its a new place and gives you newer experiences, greater learnings, and makes you a traveller. Be a traveller, not a darn tourist. The difference is subtle, yet large. And only when you recognize and acknowledge it, will you have fun on your away trips.