Friday, October 28, 2005

A Halloween Fable

A friend of mine narrated this incident to me last week and I must confess that I have not heard a gem of a story like this for a while. I wanted to share this with you as it must live through the generations. If ever your kids or grand-kids ask you about the virtues of Indian graduate students in the US, give this example. This outlines the compassion, intelligence, thoughtfulness and awareness like none other. I am but a poor raconteur, so bear with my attempt at doing it justice (it has been spiced up beyond recognition).

It was a windy evening in windy Chicago. Firmly ensconced in his sofa, Kkrish sipped his Diet Coke watching a rerun of the 70’s show. He had the two most critical aspects of his existence close to his hands. The TV remote and a bag of chips. Munching between bursts of laughter, he seemed to be at peace with the fact that he had access to his TV when all of his room-mates had not yet come home. Suckers, he thought. Slogging away at their Food Services jobs and assignments and research assistantships. Three months into the US, he had failed to get any funding or job of any sort. He wasn’t too bothered. It will all fall in place one day, he thought, cracking up at another “burn” by Ashton Kutcher.

A commercial. His eyes wandered to the calendar of Laxmi Jewelers that one of his room-mates’ mother had lovingly given. 31st October, he mumbled. He made a mental note to pay his apartment rent and credit card bills. There was a knock on the door. He got up, distributing the chip crumbs resting on his paunch evenly on the floor. He looked through the keyhole but saw no one. Strange, he thought. Hesitantly, he opened the door. Standing in front with a stupid gloating smile was a small girl of seven. Weirdly dressed, he thought. A crown on her head, a shiny pink frock and a wand with a star at the end. Wow, she is dressed like a fairy Godmother from Rapunzel. Or was it Jack and the Beanstalk? He wasn’t sure. He made another mental note to go and google it up. Back to order, he thought. He morphed his forehead to reveal a questioning look. The girl said, “Trick or treat” and held a bowl upto him. Perplexed, he looked at it. Full of chocolates. How nice, he thought. He smiled, and reached inside the apartment to place the remote. His hand freed, he did the one right thing that came to his mind. Sweet kid. I must not break her heart. After all, the day comes only once a year, he thought. What a fine country. The kids here celebrate the day just like we did in India. And people say the worst things possible about this place. He bent down and gave her the best smile he had. His hand outstretched, he took a chocolate from the bowl and said, “Happy Birthday”

16 comments:

Niranjan said...

Personal skeletons-in-the-closet notwithstanding, this really had me in splits.

sd said...

Good one :-) I have a few "just come to US" stories as well... may be that would may a good post!

OMG said...

Cant blame the guy one bit! LOL I guess I would have done pretty much the same thing, had it not been for Small Wonder!

the cowlick said...

You're a funny story-teller! Came here from gawd-knows-where.. nice post!

Ragini said...

hahahahahahah....really. Thats a gem of a story !

sd said...

Happy Diwali!

RS said...

That's one halloween story I have not heard before :)) Happy Halloween and a Happy Diwali to you.

Avinash said...

Too funny. I think we shud start a project to compile 'New in the US' stories. I have a couple to contribute. Maybe they can be pulished as a book. :-)

aparna said...

lol

okay i cant imagine someone doing this... this is straight out of a bollywood flick! :D

Geetanjali said...

ROTFLMAO! This was good :-D

Sanity Starved said...

Poor kid!

A Very Happy Diwali!

koikahi said...

Parth,
I started to read your blog today for the first time and got hooked on. I think I may have spent the whole day catching up.

great job.
PS: I created my own blog account and not sure what to do next.

Parth said...

Nice to know that you guys enjoyed it. I saw a couple of suggestions of chronicling US related incidents that people saw. Please go ahead and do so. Maybe I'll start a tag where everyone should narrate one such story :-)

Koikahi: thanks for the compliments. Just post anything of interest to you on your blog and share it with people.

TTG said...

heh, good one! Cheered me up!

Sarita said...

Lol !!! I can even picture the expression on the poor girl's face :-D...

Nocturne said...

i've got one about a gujju uncle on the ttc.
he gets on and says, "union station, please" and the driver points at the collection box.
uncle says a little louder, "union station please."
the driver taps at the box again.

confused uncle, believe it or not, bends to the box and carefully enunciates, "UNION STATION PLEASE!"

oh God, i felt a pang for him, but everyone was laughing.