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Rarely There

A collection of discourses - myriad, profound, uplifting...
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Wednesday, September 6, 2006

weird encounter

I was walking along the waterfront one evening as usual minding my own business focusing on the pathway and thinking about a particularly annoying task I was working on... and this elderly gent gradually fell in step with me and started walking along and talking. At first I thought to himself. Then, he was almost pushing me off the path so I looked up and realized he was talking to me!

I was unsure how to respond when he asked where i was from... i just said, 'mmm... from around here'... then, he went on to tell me he thought i was from india, and, he started talking about some Hare Krishna in NY who took his money promising a trip to india that never materialized because the head of that chapter (Sri-something-or-the-other-Ananda, aka guru) was sent to serve 25 yrs in prison as co-conspirator for some murder - well, he detailed it quite a bit - apparently, the guy charged with the murder of his wife confessed that he did it on this guru's advice because per that guru's interpretation of vedic literature death was the suitable punishment for his adultering wife! Not to worry, the guru was released in 12 yrs or so for good conduct.

Then, he started saying that he thought i was a "sweet girl" and asked what i was doing in the city and many rather awkward and personal questions i prefer not to answer; and finally, he wanted to give me a hug! so, i deftly dodged the hug with my folded hands positioned in a namaste while taking a giant step backward - thanks to my 10 yr bharatnatyam training.

Then, appearing a bit pained, he asked if he could buy me a cup of coffee or something!!!

That spooked the heck out of me - i was looking forward to a quiet walk and back!

I declined the offer politely and sprinted back to safety...

Then, it got me thinking:

why am i naturally wary of overtly friendly people?

am i so cocooned in my self-imposed bubble of privacy that any attempt by potentially decent and nice people to get me out of this shell scares me into retreating further within?

or, is it because my trusted instinct kicks in whenever a stranger tries to act 'abnormal'?

but then again, what is 'normal'?

I am OK with a nod, a smile, a "hi!" as i pass a stranger; furthermore, i am OK with talking about 'safe' topics like weather and cuteness of a baby nearby but, anything more personal sort of sends alarms screaming in my head... perhaps that's a good thing in the modern world?!



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