The metamorphosis of the Missionary School-educated, English bugger continues...
There was a time when we were taught that we have to wish our teachers wherever we saw them, be it the corridors in school or the famous stinky Maach Bajar near the Burnpur Railway Station. There were instances the the fear or awe of a teacher made me forget the time of the day and blabber a poorly articulated "Good Morning" standing under a street light at seven in the evening.
But that was a long time back, by the time I reached college I had perfected the art of wishing anyone who looked like a professor and at times I was even lucky enough to get replies from some of them. I can still remember hearing a faint "Good Morning" from Dr. M Ganesh everytime I met him in the dark corridors of Faculty Division III... But again, these incidents belong to a fast fading past. I am still in the process of getting into my present life.
When I stepped into my present role of an officer in a Nationalised company where every bit of official communication has to happen in Hindi as well as English, the futility of my Proficiency in the Art of Good Morning slowly dawned upon me. Except the handful of people at office who still accept english as a mean of official communication, its really difficult not to feel a bit disillusioned about the fact that the first eighteen years of my life were spent off in learning a foreign custom! All you have to say here to get noticed and nodded at is Namaste, whether its a workman, an officer, a stranger or even the Big Boss.
The sweeper who wipes the floor says "Saab Namaste"and the casual labourer who usually fills my jug from the cooler says, "Namashkar Sir" with the Sir trailing off into silence as if the utterance of one english word scathes his soul.
I guess I am just getting absorbed into the Indian Customs of which I was never a part, and its about time I did.