Sunday, November 04, 2007

The People I Meet : Iowan

Last night something refreshing and funny happened to me.
I was feeling a bit lonely the whole day and I had to keep going at my literature review so I was positively grumpy.
It was one of those days when you have had your full share of fun and the 'Karmic Gods' want you to suffer as you toil at your desk. I studied half heartedly and came home to find my roomie Riju all doe-eyed waiting for me so that I could accompany her to her jog. Riju has recently been bitten by the fitness bug. Initially I thought I inspired her but then I realized that her inspiration had more to do with her new capri pants and workout tshirt.
I walked and she ran because I had had an overdose of swimming at the University. She got tired and we went to the end of river walk indulging ourselves in empty, unwanted conversations. :)
We sat down near the pontoons for a while and just as we were about to get up, a small, silver haired man popped from the darkness on the right.
He greeted," Hello there ladies!! Are you from the land of Raj Kapoor?"
It was Saturday night and he had a bottle of wine in his hand so we gave the usual we-are-reluctant-to-talk-to-you-because-we-were-told-not-to-talk-to-strangers-especially-on-saturday-nights reaction. Then he said that he lived on a boat which was anchored in the river and he was just clearing the garbage and that he never drinks alcohol! :) Talk about reading minds!!
We said that we came from the land of Raj Kapoor and to make up for our initial stiffness we asked him to grab a seat.
His name is Iowan and he is from Romania. He lives on a boat and sails to Sydney when he feels like it. He is a primary school teacher and knows nine languages.
He told us about the time when Russia split up. When he was a kid, and being brought up in a land that embraced communism as a religion, he saw unspeakable poverty. In that kind of poverty, as a teenager he used to walk all the way in snow to the cinema and watch "Awara" :). He said he watched Awara twenty times. Then he went on to talk about Shree 420 and Mother India. He sang 'Mera joota hain Japani' in a sweet European accent.
He thinks Rajesh Khanna is one of the most handsome actors he has ever seen and he was equally smitten by Dev Anand!
I was wondering at my luck to have met him and his ability to be so warm and happy at the same time.
He talked about the time he travelled to Cambodia and the genocide.

He told us about his sailing. About when he is sailing long distances sometimes fish jump on to his boat on their own. :)
He told us about his friend who sailed from Brazil to India. When he reached India, he was so worn by the wind and bad weather that he could hardly recognize himself.
We asked him if we could see him often but he was to leave. He said he will be going away on an island.
I don't remember how long we talked but it kind of turned the day around for me.
Sometimes you wonder why you meet some people at a certain time in your life.
Maybe it is just to shake you off the feeling of being very important. :)


शिरीष said...

What a strange experience at a strange time with a strange man!

I liked your "we-are-reluctant-to-talk-to-you-
-nights reaction"

What a way to express! It just give out the feeling you had at that time.
Thereafter making up for the initial stiffness by asking him to grab a seat was also superb.

Sai you are a very very very very very very good story teller.

Keep it up!

sameer said...

well it felt like a narration of some bollywood scene.. ;) i'm sure this encounter wud have opened a few more doors for u,to discover the richness of life dat we've been gifted.enjoy my pretty friend :)