Saturday, September 30, 2006

Whoz Te Neighbor?

When I’d said a goodbye to G’s palatial home and landed up at my place, I had no clue about who my neighbors are. My floor was quite desolate, and I saw barely 2 people on a daily basis. Mostly Asians, they were unable to understand my English. Someone said, “I no engliss”, to which I exclaimed, “Oh, I know engliss too”, to correct my “engliss” just in time. A lady kept repeating the same thing I asked, mimicking me. So when I looked for the restroom lights, using my hands to gesture, “restroom, no switch?”, she mimicked me and repeated the same.

I occasionally met my eccentric neighbors in the common kitchen, not knowing what to do but smile. They smiled back too, and boiled noddles and pasta with funny smells. They used their chopsticks with great finesse. Here, I could not even use the dandiya sticks well. I felt lonely, unable to make even basic conversation. That'show the first few weeks went. I went to the department, came home, and went to sleep. Sometimes, I slept for 12 hours straight. My jetlag never left me, it seemed. I hardly met any Indians at the department. The accent others had alienated me. And so did stories of my classmates who spent their weekends fishing and canoeing. The most interesting thing I had come to doing in the weekends in India was watching Ramayana and Mahabharata on television. Certainly not doing "maach dhorte jawa" and "nouko chalate jawa".

I came home one evening, so tired that I did not know whether to cook or go to bed hungry. I climb ed up the stairs unenthused, taking the door key out of my pockets. I opened the doors and froze. 

You?

You?

What are you doing here?

What are you doing here?

I live here.

Me too.

What?

Yeah.

Me in 417.

Me in 418.

Really?

Yeah.
Looks like the Thai guy I had met in the department was my neighbor now. A few days back, I was chomping on my rubbery sandwich at the department orientation. He sat next to me and told me how bland he found American food. I always saw him studying in the library, while I was all up and about, excitedly going around Seattle and taking pictures. Now, the same guy was chopping cabbage in my kitchen.

I could not be more glad to find a familiar face.

sunshine.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Pretty" neighbours, and then they talk of fallacies in logic and life :)

That guy is probably scared of you... he is trying to figure out by deep research what to do next time he sees you

Di said...

oye silver!! :) sorry 4 u about the bad food..i work in a sw company (who doesnt!!) and the indian food here itself gives me the jitters... :( but thankfully for now i get food from home!!

Nacissus said...

"So often, are you as a blazing torch with flames of burning rags falling about you flaming, you know not if flames bring freedom or death. Consuming all that you must cherish if ashes only will be left, and want Chaos and tempest Or will the ashes hold the glory of a starlike diamond The Morning Star of everlasting triumph."

Nacissus said...

This “eternal sunshine” is the opposite of a femme fatale: all clinging fidelity and frightened vulnerability.

tetracyclops said...

a serious loser.
sounds like the anne hathaway in Devil Wears Prada, when she gets a job she doesnt know anything about which supposedly was something millions of girls would die for.