Monday, July 30, 2012

A strange(r) encounter

So last Monday, Xena and I went to the airport to receive her papa who was coming back with the team after a cricket tournament in Papua New Guinea. Viv had no idea we were going to be there, and to make the surprise more fun, I dressed Xena up in similar clothes as mine - a long-sleeved pink top and a short denim skirt. 

We reached the airport a little early so we took a walk around the very beautiful (and my favourite amongst all airports) Changi airport. After we had done a few rounds and she had waved 'buh-bye!' to all the passengers, security staff and cleaners, we went up to see the kinetic rain display. Xena was totally fascinated.

And that's when this lady came up to talk to us.

 "Hey, that's a really nice bag!" She said. "Where did you get it?" It was a traditional handwoven bag given to me by Viv's aunt. "I got it as a gift. It's from India." I said. "Where in India?" Oh wow. "Umm.. Bangalore."

Xena soon got very bored of this conversation and started waving and saying "Buh-bye!" again. The girl (let's call her S) played with Xena for a while and then asked me if I was there to drop someone (I was on the departure level for a closer look at the kinetic rain). So I told her that I was there to receive my husband who was in the Singapore team etc. etc. We started talking about cricket and she told me that she too preferred T20.

Xena was craning her neck to look at the kinetic rain, so I took my phone out to take a picture of it. S offered to take a picture of Xena and me with the kinetic rain as the backdrop. My first thought? OMG this woman is gonna make a mad dash with my phone. I had just lost my phone at the airport a week before, so my anxiety regarding my new phone at the airport was somewhat understandable. So I told myself to not be silly, and gave her the phone to take the picture.

"Hey, you guys are dressed alike!" She said. I was sure the entire team, including the twelfth man, wouldn't notice that (men!) so it was nice to have someone notice it. I warmed up a little more to her.

After she took the picture, we talked a bit more and then parted ways. Before that, she said it was really nice to talk to me (and I felt the same about her too) and asked me if I had a contact number I could give her. Once again, alarms rang in my head but I suppressed them as unnecessary cynicism. We exchanged numbers and said goodbye.

I wondered if I'd ever see her again. I wondered if I had been a fool to give my number to a total stranger. But I also wondered if this was the start to a great friendship. My overactive imagination took me years down the lane when we, two very close friends, sat over tea and laughed about how they had first met. But then I also thought that maybe we would never contact each other. But then you never know, I told myself. It's true that because of Xena's antics, I do end up talking to complete strangers a lot more than before, but no one had asked me for my number before.

The next morning, S sent me a 'Good morning' SMS, telling me that it was nice to meet me. I was busy with Xena so I replied a few hours later. I didn't hear back from her. To be fair to her, my SMS didn't exactly have room to further the conversation. I just wished her good morning and told her it was nice to meet her too.

Last night, Viv, Xena and I were having dinner at Cafe Iguana when my phone rang. It was a friend.  During our conversation, I got a second call and it was S.  I decided to call her back later and continued the conversation with my friend. I called her back a few minutes later, pretty sure that she was going to ask me if I was at Cafe Iguana because she spotted someone who looked like me. Nope. She just said that she couldn't really hear me and she would call me the next day if it was ok. I told her it was ok and asked her what it was about, and she said she wanted to check something with me.

I hung up and started thinking. What could she want to check with me? If I could get that bag for her too? Wow, maybe she really liked the bag. Oh wait, what if she was an insurance agent looking for potential clients? Shut up, Sayesha, why so cynical? Maybe she wanted to catch up over coffee or something? Maybe we would become great friends in time and I would feel really stupid for doubting her intentions. But wait, maybe we would indeed become friends and then she would eventually ask me to lend her a large sum of money? Not necessarily, Sayesha. Not everyone has a hidden agenda. Some people are just genuinely friendly. Goodness, I was going mad. On one hand I felt incredibly stupid for giving her my number and on the other hand I felt that this could be one of those things that could take away our cynicism as humans and make us trust one another a little bit more than we do.

So today, as promised, she called. My phone was in the silent mode as Xena was sleeping, so I missed her call. I called her back as soon as I saw the missed call. She said she wanted to check something with me.

"I told you I have my own business, right?" She asked.

Warning bells. Ring ring ring!

"Err... No, you didn't."

"Oh. Ok. I am trying to have my own business and I'm looking for honest, good people as partners. I had a good feeling about you the other day, so I thought I'd check if you would be interested to invest and have some extra income?"

Silence. Many bells ringing in my head.

"Not at this point, sorry." I said, as firmly and politely as I could.

Thankfully, she didn't press at all. She just thanked me and hung up.

And me? I had this huge thought bubble. With everything and nothing inside.


Nandini said...

Awww. :( It's happened to me, too, what feels like a million times. Strangers in cafes coo over my babies and talk to me interestingly only to pop the "Have you heard of Jesus Christ" question eventually. I bump into friendly desis at electronics shops and have awesome conversations only to be asked to buy Amway shit later. I talk to women with kids while waiting in the bakery line and they invite me to their awesome moms' group.... at the local Jehovah's Witness church (not sure if that's what it's called).

About the only location immune to this stranger danger seems to be libraries. Met two moms there so far, both completely normal, and I'm getting to be very good friends with one of them after less than a year of knowing her. Regular playdates for my kids is just a side bonus compared to that since motherhood for me has been quite socially isolating! :)

Bubblegum.... said...

Too much friendly behavior makes me cynical too! Specially when alone in the country.

Arun said...

Ya, friendly strangers who wanted contact #s, etc., have **always** turned out to be Amway, in my experience.

humblog said...

I concur with Arun - Amyway/ quixstar/ pyramid scheme recruiters.

You cannot not be cynical. Not since pandora's box was opened.

Sanika Desai said...

Hey there, I recently stumbled upon you blog and loved it specially the SSSK series..very entertaining and unique. I too have a daughter(8 months old) just like yours and so love to read about xena :)

Keep the SSSK post coming! Cheers!

Yamini said...

If you'd just listen to my useless advice once, please go and listen to her plan. Don't invest if you don't like it. I had a similar experience and I ended being happier than ever before. Take this one chance, if you got time, and just listen to her once ;) ;)

Porkodi (பொற்கொடி) said...

:( Hugs! (I dont know why I feel sad, it sounds more like a weird funny situation than anything sad..) Still I think you are not cynical enough, to give your number.. may be, just give your email henceforth(!).. :)

previous post about the past: seriously offended and LOLing at the same time, thanks to Canara Bank!

Anonymous said...

I would never ever give my mobile number to a total stranger, however friendly they might seem. I'm totally cynical that way, more like paranoid. I hate people who approach others just for the franchise business and stuff like that. I'm sure she didn't call after that right?

Bivas said...

Amway...had happened twice...seriously one shouldn't be too friendly sometimes.

Sudeep said...

Happened to me too, met the guy at a mall and the conversation started how wives take a long time to shop and glad the mall offered seats for guys like us. A week later 'Have a finance business with investment opportunity' call, and I said bye till we meet again in the mall.

Will have to visit again for the kinetic rain display :)