This is a blog inspired by my friend who has all along encouraged me into honing my writing skills. I really thank him for pushing me to write blogs which reflect the different facets of human emotions..... this re-edited blog which has now been updated by me..... was actually written by me high lighting the qualities of the people and the country at large..... but when my senior friend went through the blog he said the writeup had got nothing to do with the topic on hand and gave me a new direction. This resultant blog has crystallised into description of a fictious platonic relation..... and it is as follows
Dedicated to the most beautiful girl that’s you Jenny…….. on the occasion of your birthday I have been scratching my head thinking about the two limitations I have on hand.
What is the best gift I can give a girl who has got everything going for her. The second question I have to address here is that even if I come across a good gift how will it reach you to-day as you are in a country which is thousands of Kilometers away, in-fact you are in a different time zone.
I start thinking and as there was no solution ready on hand I thought that probably if I resort to writing some solution may come through which usually works for me. I have started writing and as I find the tempo ….I observe a passing thought just zip across my consciousness, but being in an introspective mood …..I am alert enough to catch it before it leaves the battery limit of memory bank and what do I find riding on this…………..a beautiful idea ……..I get my answer to this dilemma. I realize….. ….yes this is it….. this is it!!
It has just dawned on me that if I dedicate a blog to Jenny it will be a good gift as I put my heart and soul into my writing…… the value of the gift will be invaluable to her (I hope )and more over it can be delivered to her by email in an instant. More than addressing the above two limitations it will remain in my blogsite for a long long time to come. So I hope you will understand why I am presenting a blog on the occa-sion of your birthday.
The trip to this Mega Chinese city was a revelation and it was an eye opener for me. Though my visit to the other cities was not very pleasant because of the communica-tion problem…….. nevertheless we visited some of the very big industries…….. it made me realize that here was a country which believed in doing things in its own way ….. on its own terms and still is one of the major players globally for fast mov-ing consumer goods, industrial machinery, consumables and you name it they manu-facture them in volumes…….
What really got my thoughts churning is that this school of thought that we nurture back home ….that learning English is a must if we have to deal internationally…..has gone for a toss because I can see here that if you have the skills, hardwork and the quality then language is no barrier for dealing in international market. More over each and every company in China employs a representative with English speaking skills…. The job of such a representative is to deal and fill in the gap or void to com-municate effectively with international clients. What the enterprising Chinese manage with a small percent of population who have learnt this alien language…… back home we have raised a generation who have a misconception and live with an air of false pride that they know this language English so well. There is nothing wrong in learning the nuances of a language …. After all every language has its own charm and beauty…….. when we have the skills to play with words to give a beautiful effect…. After all every language has its own beauty when written with an artistic inclination and a creative bent….. the results are there for all to see.
Now the point I have taken back home from this trip of mine is that we should learn or ape the west but not at the cost of our language, tradition and family values which have taken a beating back at home. But in China though I see that the dressing style has aggressively followed the west but the food habits, the hospitality, the view points are still very traditional and for me this is why they are successful.
They have adapted the superficial aspects but at the core of their being they still are traditional and follow a way of life which has been passed on to them from generation to generation…. I recollect something I learnt in chemistry about isotopes….. yes the present generation in China can be termed as isotopes of the previous generation where the present generation has changed only physically but at the core they still re-tain the same composition.
It is minuscule when I measure in terms of what I picked from a country which is re-ally amazing…. I mean nothing about China seems small…. Such a vast country where I travelled almost three hours by a Boeing 737-800 which is a long haul for a plane that size (can carry about 250 plus people) and still we do not cross the extremi-ties of this amazing country.
This mega city like Mumbai never seemed to sleep ….its nocturnal massage parlours various spas , restaurants and other entertainment industry which never seemed to tire catering to the people converging from all over the world on this industrial city.
I had my local contacts in place and they ensured that I was put up in a very decent hotel in an upscale suburb. This building also accommodated in its other wings, vari-ous commercial offices in its tall high rise structure. Incidentally the office of my lo-cal contacts also happened to be in the same building. Though I was very tired I made it a point to check the location of my local contact’s office so that I would not have the trouble locating the office the next morning.
The next morning as planned I headed for the office a wee bit early and reaching the ground floor from my room itself seemed a distance though it was being assessed by me vertically. Now the time lapse for the lift to reach the ground floor gave me the first opportunity to be receptive to the new surroundings which was totally oblivious to me only the previous evening probably because of the extensive travelling my mid-dle aged bones were subject to.
I noticed some advertisement for promotion being offered by a restaurant on the stainless steel wall of the elevator. There was an aroma filled in the air with so many passengers embarking and disembarking the lift …..the residue was definitely a good but it was a combination of various perfumes and one could not just pinpoint that yes this was the brand. The reason was ………..with so many people coming in from all walks of life and each had his own preference for the perfume or body spray they used. I was left thinking each of the person who came into the lift left back his aroma or imprint in the lift cubicle……… very similar to the way people who come into our life for a brief period but each of them leave behind an indelible impression or vice a versa some fail to create an impression at all.
These train of thoughts were disturbed by some picture that caught my eye…… it was a picture of a dish which looked okay till I focused my myopic vision on its contents ….. however this incorrect vision was indeed being corrected by a pair of glass-es…….so what ever I was seeing in the plate was not an illusion…… but it did not shock my fellow lift passengers….. nevertheless they were amazed at the kind of stu-pid expression I wore on my face at the sight of seeing the golden brown baby scorpi-ons used as the topping of a dish and it was obvious that the cook had taken care to see that the anatomical shape of the scorpions had not been disfigured and they had been arranged deliciously in radial pattern similar to the numbers on the periphery of a typical clock.
As I walked along the known path to the back of the building where the lift was being used by employees of mid sized companies . They were the 9 to 5 type of people and really did not want to leave an impression on any one…………. They were more con-cerned about the life they led and hence I realized that in this commercial office build-ing the people were more down to earth and were more worried about dealing with their own life and yes the strong aroma caused by the mix of various perfumes was missing….. as I reached the office I came face to face with the assistant of the local contact.
All along my visit to China I was amazed by how beautiful the women looked here because most of them were fit and had a skin tone which was of course yellow tend-ing towards what could be pink. ….. I realized …. This could be because of the kind of traditional food they consumed and also because most of them were physically ac-tive. Back home in India this kind of skimpy skirts and the short pants which they wore here would have attracted a lot of critical attention but here …… in fact it was as if…… yes what else better could they have worn ……. Now coming back to this morning visit to the office of my contact where I was welcomed by a stern looking Jenny Huang who had all the attributes of a Chinese girl but she was a little on the heavier side but never the less looked fit and fine like the girls in this country.
I saw her through the glass door of the office which was digitally locked. The office was actually only one room with an area of about 325 square feet and was partitioned with a thick dark wooden plyboard which in effect converted one end of the room
into a small cabin for the boss …… I do not want to go into the depth of his scope of business as I have a topic to be written and I have already written quite in detail.
I noticed that the ambience of the office was otherwise light in colour but the con-trasting dark wooden partition acted as a back drop against which and I saw the fresh radiant face of Jenny who looked immaculate yet stern and the rest of her being was camouflaged and merged with the dark background provided by the partition by virtue of the dark clothes she wore .
She slowly opened the door with an matter of fact look on her face yet I could sense that apprehension in her as she welcomed me into the confines of the air-conditioned office. Though she did not acknowledge me much but she certainly exhibited all the mandatory courtesy which was just enough ……
I also realized this whole exercise had an air of formality and was being done because it was just needed.……. I felt like fish out of water …….more over it was all the more embarrassing because I had never been treated with such disdain anywhere else be-cause of the goodwill, reputation and respect I had professionally. This was my first interaction with Jenny. And she definitely made me feel that another interaction with her was not necessary.
That afternoon I was to go to the market to look for some machinery which I knew were priced very competitively in China. I was told by my local contact that as Jenny knew the Chinese market like the back of her hand she would be responsible for ac-companying me to the market and show me the places where I could see some genu-ine machinery. My heart sank at the prospect of going out with her. I did not want to be at the taking end of her professionalism. Moreover what really got me irritated was during the ride to the market she preferred to sit next to an unknown taxi driver but not me.
I was at a stage where I really wanted to find reasons to dislike her…. For example I even got irritated at the way she would answer every phone with a “Why” Later on I learnt that more than half of China answered the phone in this manner.
The mission of enquiring and market survey of the machinery completed un-eventfully but it was not over yet …. As soon as we reached the office building she just jumped off the front seat of the taxi …. started walking away and in the same breath telling me to pay for the taxi … this got me really angry and all the irritation which had accumulated and pent up inside me came to the fore. I picked up the mo-bile phone with the same feeling as if I was getting a gun out and without any hesita-tion called her only to hear her say….. “why”….. I thought this was the limit ….. and instantly in a reaction that was more spontaneous than angry shouted back at her…. “Why not”. Hearing this she just disconnected the phone and came back still laugh-ing uncontrollably and asked me what did you say ………… what did u say??
I said “Why not”….. and seeing her laugh without the professional mask…. She looked so beautiful in the evening sunlight ….the sun was just setting in for the day totally oblivious to the cause and effect its waning sunlight had on me. I could for the first time see the natural smile on this innocent face. The breeze was just picking up its tempo while I wished her a good night realizing she had to go back home …… as she turned back walked away with her beautiful thick hair flowing in the gentle breeze I was left speechless ……is this the same girl……. who a while ago was the cause of all the irritation.
The next two days with Jenny were very memorable … we had to visit some more suppliers and on the way I told her that I needed to buy some smart phones. She told me if she had to take me to the mobile phone mall then….. I would first have to take permission of her boss….. without protesting I took her boss’s permission and then we reached the mall in a taxi with Jenny still preferring the drivers company. We se-lected the mobile phones but alas my credit card was not accepted in that country so we decided to come and collect the smart phone the next day…. Nevertheless we had dinner in a local restaurant with Jenny explaining to me her nature of work, and the importance of values in her life. I was pleasantly surprised by her assessment of the person she thought I was... she also gave me an insight into the difficulties she faced while working with some of the foreign clients with bad attitude, and how she stone-walled them …… I was really amazed!!
I realised for the first time that the reason for her professional mask was to keep the over-smart clients at bay and prevent them from taking advantage of her. I appreciat-ed and also told her that how much she had irritated me the previous day. The day ended with a promise to take me around to see the places of significance the next day……I hired a taxi and this time around she thought that maybe I was a safer bet as compared to the driver of the taxi and sat next to me with a smile……… I dropped her to the metro ………as we were just about to leave I called her back and handed over the soft copy of my blogs which had been published online. She carried it home with a smile nevertheless I reminded her to bring my flash drive back containing the blogs the next morning.
This was to be my last day in the city. I got a call in the morning ….. I saw her name flash across the display of my blackberry, without hesitation and with a smile on my face….. I took the call even though it was still early and with a mischievous tint in my eyes … I asked her whether she had forgotten to carry the flash drive which con-tained the blogs or still worse lost the flash drive.
She told me in a very excited child like voice …… man you are too good… your writ-ing is good. This sentence brought a smile to my face because here was a girl who took my words seriously and after reaching home took the trouble of copying the file in her system, took out a print out and read it through the night…..
She further told me ……I have to meet someone special in the evening…. So I cant take you around town tonight … my date with you is cancelled. I tried to make her see that I was leaving the next afternoon and since the following day was a Sunday I could not even meet her…… then in all probability this was maybe the last I time I am talking to you. I was really feeling bad and also felt a tug at my heart that I had just got such a good friend in Jenny and I could not even thank her enough for giving me such good company.
I had no other option but to resign to the fact she was just another good person I met in the journey called life…… just as I was introspecting philosophically….. I heard a buzz on my blackberry with the name of jenny flashing on the display and I answered playfully “Why” and the answer from the other end was “why not”……… so I said why not meet me tonight …… to which she answered “Why NoT” but I don’t want to meet the engineer…… I want to meet the writer… the sound of her muffled laugh brought her wonder ful smiling face in front of my eyes….. I want to hear the writer read for me ….. I agreed.
The evening was special because both of us started understanding the person we were…… after I had read the last blog to her she did not wait for me ……she walked away without saying a good bye ……. I was left with a feeling of emptiness trying to follow her through the crowd as she mingled with the crowd ….. some times disap-pearing in the crowd only to reappear again….. I wanted to phone her again only to hear that ever so familiar “why” but I….. decided against it ….. after all she had to go….. the following morning I had to also go …..
The time finally came to leave but somewhere in the corner of my conscious Jenny was still there…….. but what ever feelings …. I was here for professional reasons and I had to go…… as I checked out of my hotel I could not believe my eyes I saw Jenny waiting outside in the sunlight which paled against the warmth her smile brought in my heart….. I jokingly asked her asked her have you taken your boss’s permission to come and wish me good bye……. She asked me “Why” with a smile and hugged me ………..and whispered in my ear “why not”.
With love: From Blogger Jags.