Let us talk about Aziz—comes across as a ghost walking the nights alone on an empty dark street. But, do not go by that. He is an adorable 25-year-old from Congo—his land he is very sentimental about.
We (my two girlfriends and I) noticed Aziz first while we were at our guest house in Goa. He would mysteriously walk into the guest house, swaying from left to right and visa versa, put the key into socket of an electrical line outside his room, instead of the keyhole of the door. Then realizes cause he hears slight snickering from a far end. Somehow gets the hole right and opens the door, switches on the light and the rest is unknown. Now, this would happen every night. I shall come back to Aziz in a bit.
While this was happening, on the other end there was just loud banter. Two men bickering about India and a girl chuckling away. You could hear words like—religion, culture, tradition and ‘amazing’. Miguel (Spaniard), Jonathan (Briton) and Luna (Belgian) were complete strangers who met just two days before they became roommates and people who share the same interests—their inquisitiveness to know India.
Miguel and Jonathan, graduated from universities in their respective countries, met at an airport in Britain in August 2012 and instantly decided that they would travel the world together. They set out to their first destination—India.
Miguel is a man of style—drinks, wears and spends nothing below his standard. Jonathan is a man who follows his heart—lives like a Roman in Rome. In no time, the two men have become friends for life, brothers from two entirely different cultures.
When we met the two men, we almost thought they were in love with each other—like husband and wife. But, no hold your imaginations tight. They started with Delhi, they describe it as a mess. Disappointed that they encountered extortionists and muggers, they cut short their stay in the beautiful Indian capital and headed straight to Goa for ‘peace’, as they call it.
The first day in Goa, they meet this beautiful 18-year-old Belgian—Luna. She finished high school and decided that she wants to spend a few years doing good for people and she chose India.
Luna, might look naïve, but, don’t go by her looks. Now, Miguel and Jonathan noticed that Luna was to live alone in the middle of unknown Indians and they immediately decide to take her as their responsibility. Luna says, ‘these two boys did not want me to be alone in Goa…they think Indian men are more dangerous’.
So, M, J and L decide to share one room in the guest house. So, this is where it starts…and we meet these three strangers and Congo.
M, J and L had their routine while in Goa. Early morning swim in the beach, breakfast at an Italian restaurant and then read all through the day, not so interested in lunch, about India. And then in the night, take out their liquor bottles and share with each other the amazing facts they read about India.
During one of these conversations, they happen to meet Aziz, who has been in India longer than any of them—Five years. Aziz says, ‘hip hop stars make music exclusively for India, you know’. Have you noticed that even Florida makes music just for India.
We (two gfs and I) just sit, listen and watch these amazing people talk about our country with so much thought, which sometimes even we have not bothered about.
A snippet from one of their conversations, which went on for an entire night was about Indian mythology. They say, they want to believe in it, but, they are confused. ‘We never get it right. Why are there so many Gods and Goddesses? We understand the reincarnation, but, why so many?’
When this question was thrown at us, we all unanimously said, ‘well, we ourselves do not understand that. We do know all of it though’.
And then they talk about ‘marriage’. Jonathan who is intrigued by the fact that in India, arranged marriages are even today followed in every ritualistic way, says, ‘so, a girl and a guy meet for one day and the next day, they are husband and wife? Do you girls intend to do that too?’
You do not want to know what we said to that one. :)
What really amazed us is when M, J and L said,
‘we love Lord Shiv…that is what he is called right? He is the best of the gods in India.’
While, it is India, which holds these people together, it is also amazing that they think Indians are not organized. It is an opinion, yes, but, unanimous.
Aziz, we meet again, after all the ghost walks. He tells me, ‘hey, your Priyanka.’ And I say, No, I am Soumya. Then he says, ‘No, your Priyanka…’. I go, ‘Priyanka who?’ and he goes, ‘Priyanka Chopra’. Weirdo!!!
That is when we see Aziz smile, talk, dance, sing and play music, entertaining us Indians. While Aziz would play Florida, M and J would fight over a drink and Luna would giggle her way through all this, we just watched.
Meanwhile, Congo is also busy with his Iphone, texting someone intensely. He notices us obviously curiously staring at him. He goes, ‘you girls, come here. I shall tell ya. She is German. You might think she is beautiful and gorgeous. No. She is not. She is 6 foot tall, red headed, beautiful, yes, as a person, thin, nothing close to curvy. She is taller than I. But, we are in love.’
We say, ‘go on.’ He says, ‘well, we met like in the movies...I would always noticed her because her head would pop up above the others, cause man she is tall. We never spoke all through the four years we were in college. We just stared. Then she goes back to Germany and sends me a letter…can u imagine a letter? Then we talk and talk and talk and now I am going to Germany. I love her’.
Congo cries. Cries his heart out. Then tells us how much he misses home and his family has been a refugee for several decades. ‘I want to go back home.’
Then he goes, ‘oh do you know why I chose India to study? Because someone told me that it is cheaper here. and when I got here, I see that the colleges are like small schools back in Africa. But, we cannot afford to study there in Africa. We cannot.’
Aziz ended the night with one last fact: ‘People here think I am a drug-peddlar. I am no drug peddler. I am not a Nigerian. Anyhow, I have to live with it.’
While M and J planned to continue their trip across India, promising to come down South, Aziz said that he loves India and would spend a lot more time here. Luna definitely would be seen around in India, especially the South as she is teacher at a school for the disabled in Kundapur.
I really do not have to say much as all of this is self-explanatory. It was but a feeling we would never want to let go off.
A weird feeling that strangely became important…