Thursday, June 05, 2008

While we are at it... can I tell you one more??

This was about a year ago when I was on my way to Delhi from Mumbai. Was travelling alone, decided to fly. Was sitting at the airport, when a huge African man came and sat next to me.

For quite some time he was busy on his laptop. And I was busy reading the newspaper. Typically I am a person who is ery fond of interacting with people from differentcultures, especially foreigners. But this guy looked so formidable, I kept my distance. I had no previous experience in interacting with Africans.

Then suddenly this guy turned to look at me and said Hi. I greeted him back. And then, you guessed it right, the weird conversation started.

WG: Hello
Me: hi!
WG: I am xyz (it was a very very weird name, something I could not pronounce, and I dont remember now!)
Me: I am Aditi.
WG: So where r u going?
Me: Im off to Delhi.
WG: oh (with a disappointed look) im going to bangalore.
Me: ok..
WG: So what do you do?
Me: I am a student, just graduated from MBA school, about to start working.
WG: ok where did you study?
Me: In Ahmedabad.
WG: I go there for work. I am from xyz (i do not remember which country he was from in Africa..) I come to India frequently for work. Every month. We deal in tiles and cement work etc. There are many companies in Gujarat with whom we work.
Me: ok thats nice.
(For some reason he gave me the creeps, so I started to feel uncomfortable... trying to smile while looking out for another empty seat..)
WG:Hmmm.... So.. Aditi... are you married?
Me: (I was right! What a jerk!) What? N... no.. Im not... Uh... Why? (I was taken aback, a little embarassed and worried where the hell such a question come from?)
WG: Just like that (with a grin... a nasty grin at that!)...
So why dont you give me your number?
Me: Uh I dont have a mumbai number...
WG: then take down my number... why dont u give me a call when you are back? We should meet up....
(I just did not know what to do. I just took his no. And suddenly, thank god, they announced the departure of his flight!)
WG: Oh I have to go... Seeya Aditi!! (Wink and smile)
Me: (looking shocked! but happy to see him go) Bye!

Gosh! I felt so weird! I am sure that if that guy had tried to shake hands or somethin I would have shouted for security... that guy had me freaked out!!
I am not someone who usually has prejudices about how people from a certain culture behave. In fact I have usually seen foreigner tourists as warm and friendly, and much more open about chatting up all kinds of people without hangups.
But frankly this guy's behaviour... the look in his eyes and the tone of his voice, was definitely inappropriate. This experience will now make me think twice before I talk to a single foreigner guy again!

What? Is it like "Meet the creep" month or somethin??

Close to the experience I mentioned in the last post, I had a brush with another weirdo while travelling in Mumbai. (Mental note to self: Must check on my "weirdo attractor".)

I had been doing store visits on the central railway line in Mumbai. Finally ended a long day, travelling all the way from Malad to Thane. Was walking towards the platform, when one guy ( Middle aged, well dressed, with a briefcase in hand, well spoken) walking next to me asked me "Excuse me madam, do you know where XYZ college is?"
I nodded, "No, I have no clue." He added, "Oh, ok. What about college ABC?" I said, "I do not belong to this area. I dont know anything."

Weird Guy (WG): Oh ok. You see, I take interviews for campus recruitments, and I wanted to visit these colleges for the same.
Me: ok.
WG: Waise are you working or a student?
Me: I am working.
WG: ok. I thought you were a student, That's why I asked you. Where do you work?
Me: I work with Airtel.
WG: Ok. Are you an MBA??
ME: Yeah
WG: from where?
Me: from IIMA.
WG: oh that's great. Even I will be going to IIMCal for interviews.
Me: (with mock enthu) Great!
(Although the guy looks decent, his chipku behaviour is pissing me off. All this while I am trying to walk away as fast as possible, but the crowd around me does not let me lose this guy. He keeps up and continues).
WG: So how much experience do you have?
Me: 1 year with Airtel.
WG: And before that?
Me: Nothin substatial before it.
WG: By the way my name is so-n-so, I work for XYZ company. We are into blah blah blah...."
(I was not even listening to him, I dont remember what he said, I was not even looking at him. But you think that made him stop?)
WG: So what is your name?
Me: I am Aditi. (It just did not strike me to give a random name.)
WG: ok Aditi. So what did you do before MBA?
ME: I did Business Economics from Delhi University.
(By that time we had reached teh platform.)
WG: So you wanna sit and talk for a while?
(Now this is where I became very uncomfortable. I somehow managed to say...)
Me: No I am in a hurry to get back home, it's getting late. I've to go.
(Phew! there! Its over now! Go!)
WG: Where are you going?
Me: Im going to sion station. (Should I have lied?)
WG: Where do you live?
Me: Bandra. (I should have lied!!)
WG: Ok I live in santacruz. Seems like we are taking the same train. How about we sit together and discuss.
Me: (Exasperated, but still not aggressive/rude enough): I am sorry but I will be travelling by the ladies coach. So I am going that side now. Bye.
(Take that you creep... thank god you cannot follow me to the ladies compartment!!)
WG: (crestfallen) Ok, then let us meet at Sion station, we will catch up there for a few minutes and then we can leave.
Me: Sure. Bye.

And with that, without bothering to get a reply, or looking back, I turned and walked towards the ladies compartment area. I boarded the train, kept worrying about meeting up that guy at Sion station. Sure it was possible to lose him in all teh crowd... maybe I would be lucky to be able to miss bumping into him. But what if .... Forget it, I am never lucky!!

And so I got down at one station before Bandra. Sure it took me a little longer (and more money) to get back home, I was relieved I did not have to meet that guy again. I just did not have the courage to tell hime off. Not being able to be rude to someone like this, not being able to lie and ending up revealing real facts about myself... a big weakness I have to work upon.

Mental reminder to mind: Get rid of the Weirdo Attractor.. whatever it is!!