It’s hard to tell who’s a good person and who’s not. That’s why you just go with your guts. Just today I encountered a person who looked like he could be a good person – turned out he wasn’t. The astonishing part about the whole situation was the fact that I was able to keep such a straight face in my most terrifying experience in
. I was scared to death but somehow I kept my poker face on. [Gosh Kia, I never knew you were so witty and hard core.] India
Today I had only one class. I decided that I would go ‘exploring’ around the
Park Street area by myself to get to know the city better. Everyone else had class so no one was able to go with me. I discovered something extremely scary about Kolkata. So the story goes something like this:
I was walking on the street with my fire-red scarf around my neck. At an intersection a guy noticed that I didn’t look “Bengali” so he walked up to me.
Raj: Are you from
Raj: Where are you from?
. South Africa
Raj: Really? But you look Chinese?
Me: Yeah, I get that a lot.
Raj: Is your mom Chinese?
Raj: Where you going?
Me: Aw… just shopping around…
Raj: What are you looking for?
Me: Nothing in particular.
Raj: You mind me walking with you?
Me: No. I want to walk alone.
Raj: If you want me to, I can leave you alone. I respect your decision; I mean there’s no use following you if you want to be left alone. I can’t talk to you if you won’t talk to me.
Me: Ok. Thanks.
Raj: But how long have you been in Kolkata? I can show you around.
Me: No thanks, I’ve been here for 2 months and know my way around.
Raj: Really? How much longer are you here for?
Me: Until May.
Raj: Hey, you want to visit my shop? I sell postcards and travel stuff. Stop by and help me, please? It’s a family business.
Me: Naw, it’s okay.
Raj: Come on. Please? It’s close by.
Me: Ugh – sure??? (I said YES to shut him up).
Raj: Ok. So, what’s your name, sorry?
Raj: Nana? In Hindi that means ‘grandpa’
Me: That’s funny – (pause) – What’s your name?
Me: Oh? I see. There’s a lot of Raj’s here.
Raj: You’ve met other Raj’s?
Me: Yeah I have.
Raj: So, why are you in
Me: Studying. I’m a college student at St. Xavier’s.
Raj: Oh? Cool. What are you studying?
Me: Mass Communication.
So we walked and walked until he finally made a pivotal turn. He walked into a small alley way. I pondered a bit before walking after him. My guts told me: THIS IS NOT SAFE, KIA. DON’T TRUST THIS JERK. I halted. I took a few steps back. Then I said:
Me: Ah, forget it!!! (raised my voice) I’m going this way, ok. (Distrustful body language)
Raj: No, no, no… this is a short cut to my shop.
Me: No, I’m going this way. (Walking on the main road with a lot of people walking my direction, since I was on the right side of the sidewalk by this point)
Raj: That’s the long way – there’s too many people and it’s too crowded.
Me: I don’t care. I’m not going that way. (I pulled out and started backing away from the alley way)
Raj: Ok, we’ll take the long way then.
At this point he concluded that I’d figures out his malicious plan so he took out his cell phone and called someone. I was walking behind him and noticed that he’d become embarrassed. Among the wave of people walking on the street I shouted from behind him:
Me: Nice to meet you Raj, but I gotta go. Bye.
Raj: Bye (still on the phone)