Friday, September 24, 2010
In this article, I am going to describe to you, two personalities I met in France. In a way, both the personalities, particularly the second one was strange to me that I thought that I can share with you. I hope that you would like it. :)
Few weeks back I was traveling in a train in France. I was sitting in a window seat. After few minutes a person came and sat in the seat beside mine. He wanted a pen to fill some form, so the conversation started. He asked about my profession, science, research, astrophysics etc. I kept on explaining to him what research I do, not bothering much about whether he would understand what I am explaining.. [:) as usual]. He seemed very impressed and interested by it. He was working in some Insurance company. After some time he asked my nationality!! Then he told me that many Europeans go to India, and when they come back, they get transformed. Particularly, he explained the differences between Indians and Europeans in the sense of living alone. He said, "we Europeans like to live alone, and we want to live alone most of the times, but in India and China, people live so much together...". He expressed his ideas on Indian culture, togetherness, spirituality, etc etc. He asked me some questions like what I feel about Europe?
Well, for this question I answered in Europe whether you go to France or Switzerland or Italy, life style is so common. Its all the same. People have reached a saturation in the sense of uniformity. But India is so diverse from place to place, town to town.. Its a mixture everywhere.
By his expressions it was clear that he likes India. As everyone does I invited him to visit India once. But for me it was strange, he said he has a kind of phobia to travel in plane. Each
minute on the flight he would be feeling he would die!!! It is impossible for him to travel in plane unless he takes some medicine during the flight. He said he could do that for short flights, but its impossible to travel for 8-9 hours with medicine and come to India. I was confused. But why? Do people love themselves so much that they cannot imagine dying? Are people so weak that they cannot train their mind to be brave? If they like to live alone and hardly have any responsibilities, or attachments why one should have a fear of dying? Is it that they are attached only to themselves?? I really do not know!!! He was a gentleman, with a good job, why he has such a phobia I could not resolve. I suggested him (free) to train his mind that its just an illusion. I told him that by training the mind, nothing is impossible to achieve. He said he would try it... Then he offered me a cup of cappuccino.. When I hesitated, he asked me "Is it an offense to offer a cup of cappuccino?" I said certainly no and accepted. Then he let me study some research papers I had with me...:)
While I was Speculated by the "why" s, he got down and another person took the seat beside me. This guy was an young boy, who would have completed schooling. His English was horrible and very very hard to understand what he speaks...and I do not know French so much that I can form a sentence and communicate. But I had to know if the train was late by half an hour or so. I asked him in English. He showed his ticket, and with lot of difficulty he understood what I asked and again with lot of difficulty he was successful in making me understand that train is on time. Both of us were destined to get down at Nice ville. Now both of us had realized that it was very very difficult to communicate with each other. So I did not talk after that. But he had a problem. He was new to Nice and he wanted to take a boat to a nearby island from Nice PORT. He asked me do I know where is the PORT in Nice. To my surprise, the only place in Nice, I could guide anyone was Nice PORT. Because I stayed in Observatory situated on a hill called Mount Gros. Every weekend I come to down town Riquier for shopping and PORT was 5-10 min walk from there. All other places I visited were with some host who know the place well, and I never bothered to know the city in detail. Had he asked any other place I would say clearly no I can't guide. But I was so happy and surprised that me, an alien in an unknown country, who hardly explored any place to know the city well, can guide a person of the same country!! He asked me about a place which was the only place I knew!! He could have asked other french speaking people in train, as it was so difficult for me to communicate with him. But no, he was not interested to ask anyone else. Well, I guided him that he has to get down in Nice ville, take another train to Riquier and its just 5 to 10 min walk from there. But I was not sure that his boat starts from that PORT. I asked him if he is sure about it. He said he does not know where the boat starts. I said to myself, extremely careless. But I wanted to help him and make sure he takes the correct boat. He has internet on his cell but hardly knew what to search. I said to myself, un-educated!! I tried in several ways, looking at his boat tickets, search the boat names etc etc. Unfortunately GOOGLE showed only picture of his boat but did not tell from where it starts. To be sure, I asked him (forced him) to ask anyone else on the train who know french if they know where his boat starts. It was funny but he did whatever I told, but did only if I tell. He knows how to do things, he would do it perfectly, but he does not do it unless he is forced to do it...(like the character in Forrest gump??!!)... In this case, I forced him to do all these efforts...Finally we got down in Nice ville. In spite of advising him thousand times that he has to go to main entry, buy a ticket and
then come back to the particular platform to go to Riquier, he was about to go directly to the platform where the train to Riquier arrives. Again I went to him, told (thousand+1) th time what he should do. As I had to go to the same place, I asked him to come with me. Then we went to buy tickets. It costs only an euro from Nice Ville to riquier, but I did not have change. Unlike India shop keepers do not give change and so I had to stand in queue where one buys long distance train tickets to get 1 euro change. But then this guy came to me and gave his ticket to me. Then he bought a new one for himself. Again, strange because he could have bought a new one to me, instead of giving his ticket to me. Again I felt care less!! This time he forced me to take 1 euro as I was not willing to take. I owe him 1 euro now!! :)
In train to Riquier, he made sure that 1st stop is the one where we have to get down. Meanwhile he told me that he left studying just after school and now he is going to the island just to enjoy... He asked me how can I speak English.. I said it is a language taught in schools in India.. Then he said "For me too, but I can't speak..."!!! I just laughed.. Finally we reached Riquier. I showed him the direction to PORT and told him he HAS to walk fast as he did not have much time. I made sure he asks some french speaking people to know the exact route to the PORT and said bye to him again thinking BUT WHY???.