Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thirty minutes on the footpath

Posted by Varun | Thursday, April 16, 2009 | Category: , , , , | 48 comments

Before anyone starts showing concern, let me make it clear that I still have my job and this is just a one-off case where I got to spend some time on the footpaths of Chennai. I got this opportunity when I accompanied my sister to the American Embassy in Chennai. Visitors are not allowed inside the premises and are not supposed to even wait outside the gate. Since the embassy is in one of the most busiest roads of Chennai, the only place a person can wait for their dear ones is the footpath right next it. One gets to see all kinds of people there. Luckily for my sister, she had a cute and handsome American citizen to accompany her. The little fellow made sure my sister came out in thirty minutes. The cute lil fellow is my nephew.

These thirty minutes gave me a chance to sit there on the footpath and observe. Observe people who were all vying for that all important American stamp on their passports. This also prompted to me to put my guessing cap on and to start forming opinions and frame conclusions.

I usually come to conclusions soon (most of them luckily turn out to be right) and that is what I did sitting there. I enjoyed guessing the reason behind people's visit to the embassy.

Here are few of those for you to enjoy;

1. A young girl being dropped off by concerned parents - She is probably trying to get a Visa to pursue higher studies. I came to this conclusion when I saw the worried look on her dad's face. A look that said, "Two million rupees for studies!, My daughter's gone mad"

2. An elderly couple being dropped off by their relatives - Couple's daughter or daughter-in-law is pregnant or has just given birth. They are going to USA to help their kids take care of their new born kids. This was easy. The couple looked happy and a little worried because they didn't want any problems during Visa stamping. They were checking their documents time and again.

3. A confident guy getting out of an autorickshaw and walking straight to the gate - Third attempt to get his Visa stamped. He knew which queue he had to join and where to get down from the autorickshaw.

4. A mid aged guy getting out of a chauffeur driven Toyota Corolla - A high-profile IT or a management guy. His company would have done all the paper work for him. He was there to give his biometric identifications and collect his visa.

5. Girl being dropped by parents and a whole bunch of relatives - Newly married and is probably trying to join her husband who's already in USA. Number of relatives, number of bangles and amount of jewellery she wore and no sign of her husband allowed me come to this conclusion.

6. Female looking like a beggar being dropped off by a decent looking guy - She is definintely going to be the next maid in Manhattan. I know I should not go by the looks but it was the shabby dress that made me think this way.

Would you have arrived at the same conclusions?

Apart from all these fun conclusions, there was one thing I noticed which was common to everyone who came there. Every person had a sparkle in their eyes. a sparkle of expectation, a sparkle of hope. A hope that things would only get better for them. I hope it does too.


Poetically translated: May all beings be fulfilled, may all beings be healed and whole, may all beings have their needs met, may all beings be protected from harm, may all beings be at peace, may all beings be free.

PS: Really sorry for not posting regularly.