It had been quite a long time I stepped out of the house and met a few new people. Today, I decided to go to the railway station to book tickets for the toy train from Coimbatore to Ooty. I have tried going there many a times, but luck never favoured me. Either the tickets are full or like today, another fated day, the trains were cancelled due to landslides.
As I entered the railway station and was standing in the queue filling up my forms, I saw a foreigner eagerly looking at me. She then approached me asking how to book tickets. Where do you want to go I asked her? Chennai, she said. I tried to pull out a form and give her and told her which trains go and at what time.
I realised that my curiosity to communicate with new people still hasn't died. It grows everyday when I randomly start talking to people. The attitude is still the same. I am happy about it. I saw her smiling at me. I smiled back and decided to strike a conversation. Where are you from, I asked. From Spain, Canary islands, to be precise. Wow, and you have come here to travel. Yes, she said. She told me she travelled to Goa and many other places. She was just back after a 10-day blissful vacation in Ooty. I was thrilled and was asking about her stories. She was having a lovely time in India. I gave her suggestions on where to go. I am planning to go to Hampi, she said. Oh please do and remember stay there for couple of days atleast. Its an awesome place. She was so engrossed talking she did not realise her turn had come. She could not get any tickets and I gave her some options on how to reach Chennai. She also told me that the toy train to Ooty wasn't working. I was a little disappointed.
Then she started asking me about what I do and she thought I had a more exciting life. Not really, it is just ok. I love travelling and I take off when I feel like, I said. What do you do, I asked. Well, I am a chemistry teacher. Wow, was my reaction. Oh, nothing great she replied. It is not as exciting as your life. I merely smiled.
I like what you are wearing, so elegant, she told me. I was in a pista green and lemon yellow salwar, quite a soothing color for this horrid summer. She asked me, "why people do not prefer to wear their own Indian clothing in India and why are they copying the west?" I gave a hearty laugh. Here was a woman who had come all the way from Europe, she sensed that Indian clothing is indeed amazing and she loved it. I just thought, yeah right. Tell me about it. In the scorching summer with mercury at 45 degrees, I see women in Chennai wearing figure hugging jeans. Wonder how they could do that? Damn, its summer, and I sweat and how could these people in the name of fashion and westernisation wear clothes which are uncomfortable?
Sometimes, it does strike my mind. People can wear what they want, of course, its their freedom, but why make yourself uncomfortable just to show your modernity.
It was time for me to head back and I said bye to my new friend. I tapped her, Hey, didn't ask your name? Susanna, she said. And you? Sharada. It was nice meeting you. It was a parting smile. Another interesting conversation!!