People in this country are so friendly, it took me a while to get used to it. I come from Chennai where people are not particularly that friendly. I mean, I never had the experience of walking to my local grocery store (Ayyanar Stores) and have the boy who works there ask me how I’m doing today. I would just go and be like one Maggi packet please . I then pay him the money and leave. But here it’s hard. I have to always think of response to the question “Hey how you guys doing?”. Initially I would just smile and walk away but later I realized the pressure of having something to say in response to that question which seems to be the first thing every store clerk wants to ask. Do I tell them the truth that I’m not doing that great or do I just say oh I’m doing good, how are you and have a conversation that both of us really don’t want to be in? After a while I seemed to have found a response that can’t be deemed as curt or lengthy. I just say fine, thanks and give them a dazzling smile. I thought I worked that out just fine and was out of the danger zone. But then the cashiers at the department store started saying “Have a good night, guys!” when we left. I was stumped. What do I do now? Smile, nod or say “You too”? I settled for smile and nod. I didn’t want to hold up the line.

In Chennai the only person with whom I had to actually converse with outside my immediate circle was the auto man with his permanent request of “meter ku malle anju roova“. Of course I had to say no I cannot part with my anju roova you thief and then we would engage in a little not so friendly banter that would end with me just giving him the anju roova to make him shut up.

I miss the good old days when I could just leave the house without having someone ask me how I’m doing and me having to evaluate my feelings of the day. Some days I don’t want to know how I’m doing, perky Starbucks girl, so please just give me my hazelnut hot chocolate and let me get on with my day.

And no whipped cream, thank you very much.


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