Sunday, 28 June 2015

Seatbelts fastened, tongues loosened.

The mime routine that airline attendants go through before take-off is the same in English and Spanish. That would have been the only observation I would have had from the 2 hour flight from Mexico City to Cancun if it weren't for Isidore. Every time I travel, be it to a new place or a familiar old place I always hope that a conversation is struck with a fellow traveler. I confess of multiple evenings spent in a coffee shop or bakery hoping that some one comes and shares the table and strikes up a conversation. Shy wouldn't be the first adjective that would be used to describe me by people in the know, but in this romantic yearning for twirling, spirited conversations I usually wish someone else takes the lead.

Isidore did. Isidore isn't even his name. In this most opportune moment, his actual name seems to  escape me. Where you from? leads to him mentioning that he had lived in India for 6 months. In Beer. My brain goes through the states and capitals and towns of India. I am thinking this must be some place in Rajasthan or Himachal. Luckily he mentions Buddhism and Bodh Gaya and Beer transforms to Bihar and my panic attack is nipped in the bud. I tell him I have never been there and I am from the south of India. 

He spent most of his time in "Beer" but did travel to Delhi and Agra. He found India very safe he says. I said that's nice to know as many find Delhi unsafe and the media loves to talk about the rapes and other forms of violence that women and tourists and citizens face in that part of the country. Isidore shrugs and says that's nonsense. He says his entire perspective of India and safety changed when he became aware that no one carries guns in India. "I can run away from a knife or a stick. I always have a chance when someone comes to me and threatens. I like 50:50 odds. In Mexico or the States, if someone comes up to me asking for money I have no choice but to hand over everything. They are most likely carrying a gun and they are either on drugs or alcohol and may even shoot you after you hand over everything. One can't run away from a bullet. Threaten me with a knife any day!"

29 years of living in India and that thought had never come to my mind.