Ek choti si kahani...


“Oh my God, what’s this?” my domestic help let out a squeal as she entered the balcony to sweep it. The balcony was filled with all kinds of debris because my neighbors upstairs were renovating their house. “You tell them to clean up the place, I will only sweep it, am not throwing it out,” my domestic help said decisively. Being a Tamilian in Delhi is not a very easy thing, especially if Hindi isn’t exactly at your disposal, even if you had studied it with élan and even won a scholarship for scoring high marks! Well, I did all this in Tamil Nadu, where one emotion that unites ALL Tamilians irrespective of their class or caste is the raw hatred they feel towards Hindi! Incidentally, my accountant at one of my workplaces in Chennai refused to smile at me the moment he saw that I had studied Hindi in school! Boy, it is one of those things in life where you don’t have a choice! Mom and dad in their dreams of seeing their daughters in ‘comfortable’ central government jobs put us in Hindi sections despite the smirks from all and sundry!

Anyway, my help had decided that I must definitely talk to the neighbor, and I started composing my lines in chaste Hindi..aka..my text book Hindi. I decided that I must be my polite best even if the neighbor irritates me, which delhities do so well. Actually, am not exaggerating. If you are a single woman, a tamilian, dark, smart, and have a go-getter attitude with friends visiting you in cars, cycles, and autos, you have had it from the neighbors, even if you are living in a south Delhi apartment. Well, I don’t say that evry one in delhi is like this, but even sane, good people behave differently if you fit in the above description. Anyway, as I was rehearsing my lines near the sink, my eyes fell on the bathroom window! It was gone! Yes, the glass was completely smashed. The sight set me on fire, all my tamilian passion fueled the fires, a strange mix of tamilian pride and feministic anger surfaced and my chaste Hindi was in no time replaced with some choicest expletives from Tamil, Hindi and English. I rushed upstairs, taking two steps at a time and banged the door of the ‘over-smart’ North Indian neighbor. A 16-year-old guy opened the door and moved away to hold a doggie away from me. Of course, the doggie did mellow down the anger, but I was in no way prepared to face what happened next.

A middle-aged woman entered the room and greeted me with one of most beautiful smiles I have seen. I melted at the very sight and gasped for breath and words, forgetting all the rehearsed lines. I looked at the doggie for inspiration, he nodded. Taking that as some sort of divine intervention, I quietly explained to the neighbor about the broken glass and the debris on my balcony. She cheerfully said, “beta, aap nahi rehate ho nah, isiliye hum saaf nahi kar sake.” (Daughter, you are not here during the day dear, that why we are not able to clean it.) Then, I mumbled about the broken glass, which she accepted to fix soon, and then she enquired if I had had breakfast and that I must come to her place often and have food and even chat with her. I just looked at her wide eyed, smiled and hoping some of her cheer and love will rub off on me. I hadn’t understood till that moment the price of a smile…it is truly invaluable. It was such a beautiful start for my day, I continued to smile at every one and even wish people…a smile can make all the difference to you and people around, only if you choose to do it more often.

Keep smiling always…

with lots of smile....signing off...
ammukutty

Comments

Swati said…
Nice blog ..and nice post :)

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