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: 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.
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!