I was browsing through the TV channels inside the living room of a resort in Kerala. A foreigner walks into the room.
"Whats the score?", he asks. He is a tall man, with green eyes and a nose so sharp that would give Hrithik Roshan some serious complex! He is wearing an orange T-shirt with some sanskrit letters and strange sybolisms, and a rudrakshi maala that perfectly compliments his shirt.
"80 odd for 3", I remember the score I had seen before switching on some other channels. I switch back to the cricket channel.
"You like cricket?", he asks me.
"Yes, I love it. Like any other person in this country"
"India were out so early, must be disappointing"
"Not exactly, they did not play well this time, they did not deserve to go to the next level". Rahul Dravid would have been proud of my diplomatic answer!
"Where are you from?"
"I am working in Bangalore. I am basically from Mysore"
"Oh yeah? I had been to Bangalore last week. I know Mysore too, nice place". I was so glad I was talking to a person who was not interested in the real estate prices in Mysore.
"What do you do?"
"Software". He nods his head and I can see that very familiar 'I-guessed-so-by-the-stupid-look-on-you' expression on his face.
"Where are you from?"
"I am from Scotland basically". He takes very long pauses before speaking every phrase. I always thought that "umm", "hmm", "ahh", "well", "...." constituted fillers for thinking, but for him, it was spaces, tabs and new line characters! "Its a small country, just 6 million people, yeah. I am in India from the last 6 months. My girlfriend studies here in Kannur. Yeah, she is doing her Ayurvedic Panchakama". Panchakama?! Is this some hybrid curriculum introduced jointly by Shushrutha and Vatsyayana? No, for a moment I had forgotten that they dont pronounce 'r' very significantly. He just meant 'Panchakarma'!
"Scotland played in the last world cup right?"
"Yeah, but its not that popular over there. They like soccer more"
"Oh, then how come you are so interested in cricket?"
"I played a lot of games as a child. Soccer, tennis, badminton. And even cricket. I had a few English friends, thats how I started playing the game. Do you play?"
"I just play with friends. Nothing professionally. We usually play on streets. In front of our homes. We call it domestic cricket", I smile.
"I used to play club cricket. Nothing major though. My highest score was 89", he is slipping into nostalgic mode. "My biggest moment was when I had caught Gordon Greenidge. You know Greenidge? He used to play with Desmond Haynes. Yeah, I had caught him at point", he enacted the australian-way-of-catch.
"You fielded at point? You must have been a good fielder then", the expert analyst in me speaks.
"Yeah, I was athletic, I had a safe pair of hands too. I usually fielded at point, gully or cover. I was mainly a batsman, I could bowl some leg spin too"
My friend walks into the room and calls me. I get up.
"You are leaving?", the foreigner asks me.
"Yeah, we are going to the lake now. It was nice talking to you".
I come out and ten pairs of eyes stare at me.
"I think you had a big talk with your friend. Can we go to the lake now?"
"Yeah", I smile sheepishly.
Sometimes I just cannot resist talking to strangers!