Now…let me start with the clarifications. Someone, who calls himself “Tamizh Lover” left a comment on my post on music yesterday. Thanks for the vote of confidence, if you are reading this sir. But, I would like to clarify that I do read, write and speak Tamil as well as someone who has learnt it in school does. There is no question of learning it now. I did live in Chennai for all but 18 months of my life. It’s a little difficult to not learn Tamil in all this time.
Ok…now on to the next. A friend of mine posted a really nice article on her profile in Facebook. I am pasting it here because having to read it will mean having to sign up on Facebook and adding Julie as friend. In short, it’s easier this way.
Where crossing the streets is concerned, I could by now fall within the category that could be understood as semi-Parisian. Depending mostly on my mood, I either join a crowd of scurrying locals and pray that I will not end up a cripple, or wait good-naturedly on the curb with the other Germans (what? did I say Germans? I meant to say foreigners, of course) and take pride in the fact that I am contributing to saving the world from a spiteful, anarchic end. So far, all this is well. That is, all this WAS well, until a recent event, which fell upon me near the Boulevard Saint Germain, left me very much perplexed. I was walking down the street and I came to a crossing. And the red man was signaling a halt. And a steady flow of Parisians was nonetheless boldly advancing forward despite a rapidly approaching white mini-van. (Don’t panic, this is not the account of a horrible car accident full of blood and guts that will make you never want to jaywalk again – actually, whether you will or not, it may have quite the contrary effect.) Now then, since I was in a law-abiding mood that particular day, I quite naturally stopped on the curb, intending to delay my crossing until the appropriate colour signal rendered it feasible. In the meantime, the white mini-van definitely approached the crossing and, the flow of jaywalkers having not declined, had to stop to let them pass, despite the persistence of red at the other end of the zebra. And then, to my great astonishment, the hairy, greasy driver of the vehicle in question leaned out of the window and shouted at ME, angrily gesturing with his chubby arm:
“Bouge, la vache! Vas-y!”
I was so stunned I actually complied with the crude request, making an effort to cross quickly and glancing up at the lights on the way to confirm that they were still red. Sure as the the Sun, I am not colour-blind… but then again, Paris is a world of its own colours… Who knows, maybe one day some Parisian will force me ahead in a cue! Hoping is believing… “
What can I say about this? It is perfect. I mean…I can relate to it perfectly well. And that is saying something because I come from India where the only freaking way you can get to the other side of the road is by jaywalking. I landed in Paris, and was so thrilled that pedestrian crossings actually existed, that I started being a law-abiding resident. All this, only to discover a few days later that you cannot be Parisian if you wait patiently for the light to turn green. I still do, because it is so much easier to cross a road when you are supposed to. But, I do elicit strange, uncomprehending looks from passers-by, who almost expect you to stop them and ask them for directions in Chinese…ok, not Chinese, maybe Indian English. Sigh! What can I say? Paris is a crazy city, and Parisians…are impatient. So, Julie, I concur!