Simbly Bored

It's me that's bored enough to blog. The posts are interesting enough.

Shakespeare in the US August 8, 2008

Filed under: Life,Little Things,The Way I Am — The Goddess @ 9:14 am

So, after the rant, I’ve finally overcome inertia and decided to talk about today. I was completely bored after working on a group presentation (I know, I sound B-Schoolish and pseud already) and I decided to take a walk around the College Mall area. There were a few used books stores that were already closed. And a few places for brides to be and weddings (always a big business anywhere in the world) and drive thru starbucks (the concept still amazes me… lining up in cars for coffee?) and I finally reached Barnes and Noble (or is it Barn and Nobles? no no Barnes and Noble seems about right)

The smell of fresh books and coffee in the background (the latter arising from the adjoining cafe) is the most soothing in the world. I wandered around the place savouring the look of all the different books. So many more hardcovers than we see in India… Books on art, history, religion (Hinduism for Dummies, anyone?) and all the classics beautifully hard-bound and lined up.

At the end however, I felt like picking up a copy of Othello with annotations and explanations in the margin. I carefully carried my treasure to the check out counter ($6.44 feels like a fortune to me right now. Something we’ll get to later). The guy at the counter was very sweet when I handed him a 10$ bill. But a sudden fit of inspiration struck and I said, I think I have the 44 cents! And I poured out the change I have been collecting all this while into my hand. But then I realized that I still can’t tell the coins apart. So (my ego still being intact) I sheepishly put the money back into my wallet and said, “I’m not used to these coins yet. I’m sorry”. The guy at the counter was extremely sweet about it. He got me to pull out my change again and carefully picked out the coins from my hand telling me how much each one was as he did… “this is 25 cents and this is a dime and do you have a nickel? Ah there it is!” It was very nice. I asked him, “So, a nickel is 5 cents?” I knew that already (from reading too much american fiction), but felt like asking him for some reason… He replied in the true american fashion, “A’han”. And I said, “You always get to learn something at the bookstore!” and we both smiled at that. He wished me a good night and I wished him back and stepped out of the store smiling. It was thanks to Shakespeare that I finally managed to pull those coins out of my purse.

We, as human beings, connect to each other in such simple ways. A smile, a greeting, a small effort to help, small moments of identification that we are all the same no matter how hard we try to think otherwise… For some reason, I don’t feel so out of place in this country anymore as I once thought I would. Over the last few weeks, I’ve had people help me in so many different little ways. Giving me directions, smiling on the street, holding open the door, making small talk, actually escorting me to my room in the building, teaching me how to feed a dollar bill in the bus and countless other little things…

This post is dedicated to my home for the next few years. A place that evokes mixed emotions. A place that makes me feel warm sometimes and lonely at others. But never do I feel like I am not welcome here. It’s still amazes me how most Americans just accept you as one of their own without pausing to ask if you really belong. That is a quest on which we all embark on alone… Do we really belong here? Only time will tell…


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