Friday, September 6, 2013

Friends Forever....

“Salaam Namaste, 68 William Street, London” this is the address of the restaurant based in the heart of London's Bloomsbury where Ramanuj’s life got changed in few hours.  It was Christmas eve and Ramanuj was alone in Company's Guest House. First time in his life he was away from his home during this time of the year. His company sent him to UK on an urgent basis. Usually he used to take 10 days off during this time of the year and spent time with his family at Mangalore. But this big opportunity came at wrong time which he can’t afford to lose hence decided to be away from his family this year. 

Though it is holiday time at UK but this particular client somehow want to get his issue resolved during this time only. Ramanuj arrived 5 days back here and his job was almost done, he was supposed to leave UK after three days. He was happy that his task is over a bit early and client and his manager are quite happy with his performance and he can spend few days with his family now.

He decided to celebrate this professional success of him alone and got ready to go to a contemporary Indian restaurant offering a superb range of dishes from across the subcontinent known as “Salaam Namaste” which was suggested by some of the colleagues back home who had visited this place earlier. But there was one more thing they have told him about the local issues during night time. Some of his colleagues had very bad experience of being harassed by local boys of London especially during night time and if you are alone it is going to be a nightmare. They somehow hate outsiders especially who are working in their country. But the love of Ramanuj for Indian cuisine motivated him to take that risk. He took a taxi and reached the restaurant.

It was pretty crowded with fellow countrymen. He felt quite relaxed seeing the people similar to him, talking in Punjabi & Hing-lish. Manager of the restaurant asked him to wait for some time as none of the table was available. He agreed and sat in the lounge area. After half an hour Manager came and informed him that one table is vacant but he has to share the same with one more gentleman. Ramanuj wants to finish his dinner ASAP so he agreed to share the table. Manager escorted him to the table where already one man aged mid 40’s was sitting. Ramanuj saw him, he was quite fare and a well built man.

That man saw Ramanuj and greeted him “Salaam, I am Zahid from Lahore, Pakistan”. 
Ramanuj was surprised to hear that in place of Hi or Hello. He also thought to greet him in Indian way.

Ramanuj: “Namaste. I am Ramanuj from Mangalore, India”

Zahid: “So you stay here or came here for some work”.

Ramanuj: “I came here for some official work. Will be going back to India after three days. What about you?”

Zahid: “I stay here. In fact I am the third generation of my family here at UK. You can say that I am almost a local man of this place. Since my family right now is in Pakistan for a marriage, I have to take care of something important here, so I stayed back. Next Year I will certainly go, it has been long since I visited Lahore”

Ramanuj though belongs to Gen-next but he is also pre occupied with his understanding of people from the neighbor country like most of us. Moreover Zahid being the local man also raised doubts in his mind. Suddenly Ramanuj stopped talking to Zahid.  Zahid asked if everything OK. Ramanuj didn’t reply properly and went straight to Manager and asked if he can get any other table. Manager informed that there is no other table available. Ramanuj than asked Manager to get his order packed, he can carry the parcel and can have dinner alone in his apartment. “Its better to eat alone than with someone who belongs to the country who is creating problem for my country”, Ramanuj thought and felt proud as if he did some great thing for his country.

He got his parcel soon and rushed outside the restaurant to look for a taxi. It was a bit late and effort of 15 minutes look out of Taxi was in vain. Someone told him that if he walks up to the Traffic Signal he can get Taxi there. Traffic Signal was half kilometer away, he decided to walk rather than waiting there.

Suddenly a group of local boys on bikes stopped him. One of them snatched the parcel form his hand and thrown away. Another one holds his court collar and asked “Where are you from, India or Pakistan?” Stories told by his colleagues flashed in his mind. He was frightened and was sweating like anything. He gathered some courage and spoke” I am from India”. One who snatched his parcel suddenly hit him on his leg “How dare you walking alone in the night in our place. You guys have taken our job & place. You are not more than cheap labor for us. So be like a paid servant, do not dare to be like one of us”. Suddenly one who had held him with the collar asked one more boy to take the spray paint out. “Let’s paint him black, this is the color he belongs to” he told and everyone laughed.

“Don’t even dare to think about that, I am warning you”, a familiar voice came from behind.

It was Zahid. They saw him and one who had hold the collar moved back. In no time everyone disappeared from there. Ramanuj was surprised.

“Why they fled away, it seems you are also one of them. May be you have more power than them. Now you will harass me with your people.” Ramanuj told.

“Yes I definitely have more power than them. But this power has been given from the Government to me. I am Inspector with Metropolitan police.  I stayed back in holidays just to take care of people like you.” Zahid replied.

“You must be hungry let’s get back to Salaam Namaste and then I will drop you to your place” Zahid told and helped Ramanuj to get to the restaurant. Ramanuj was speechless and happy. He made a new friend in London. After dinner Zahid dropped Ramanuj at his company's guest house.

Zahid: “Its good to meet you. Meet me when you come next time to London. Namaste and good buy for the time being.”

Ramanuj: “Sure, will do. Salaam & good buy for the time being “

Till now they are good friends.

PS: This story is based on real incident happened in 2012 with one of my friend.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Kalpana...its inspired from a real incident :)

  2. Interesting read..sometimes the best of friendships are born from the worst of circumstances :)

  3. Wow post for sure! Loved reading it.

  4. am late...but nonetheless least are a natural....loved it :)

  5. Thanks baby...your words like you means everything to me :)