Airports, railways stations, bus stops are stations of life’s teachings. So many things can be learnt just by siting in a corner and watching people. Trust faith, adjustments all can be learnt on travels but yes, you do need to have an open mind.
‘Malayalee aano?’, a man asked me while I was waiting for boarding call. I could see that he needed to file a form. I got irritated. ‘No’, I said and moved away. I get very irritated by this question. In the Gulf every other person belongs to Kerala and Bahrain is often joked to be an extension of Kerala albeit separated by a sea. Many locals who have dealt with Keralites since decades now speak Malayalam, signboards are in Malayalam, caution notices on the road are in Malyalam and whenever I step into a shop because of my looks, I am asked, ‘Malayalee anno?’. I get irritated. Why can’t they learn to speak English or Hindi, I ask myself.
There is another cause of my anger. They flock with their own, if there are vacancies in the place they work, they fill them with their own. shopkeepers have special prices for their own, etc etc etc.
So I moved away. After some time I returned to find a boy of about 9 years, helping the man with the form, speaking Malayalam. He didn’t look Malayalee. After they finished, the boy took a stroll and I met him and asked, ‘You are not from Kerala, so how do you speak Malayalam?’
‘Who doesn’t know Malayalam in the Gulf’, he said with a smile,’ I am a Gujju by the way. He needed some help, I helped him, that’s all’, he said and walked away.
A fact put forth simply. And I stood there my head bowed down in shame.