As a part of my work I was moved from my very comforting Bangalore to very near by place – London. Everything about London was alien to me – be it traveling in underground or answering back a fast ‘good morning, how are you doing?’ wish from colleagues (I always wondered on why they clubbed a wish and a question together? So hard on us). However by far the most difficult about being in London was that at times had to understand some fast and pretty tough English accent thrown at my mind. It’s a tough challenge considering the speed at which my mind reacts.
I had this person – Mr.K (Not My project mate, From Australia, Tough Accent, Unpredictable) who used to sit in front of me. He was known in our (Boys from Bangalore) circle to be a person who has a very tough accent to follow. As I and Mr.K were not related by the project we work, we seldom spoke to each other. Also with his huge reputation of tough English and my inherent weakness, I avoided all possible ways of talking to him. However things were not easy and straight to me. I was always interested in photography and was planning to buy a canon 400D DSLR camera. So I used to ask series of questions on canon 400D (and best way to buy it) to Mr.B (My project mate, From Australia, Easy Accent, Travel Freak) as he had an SLR already. He either used to answer me cleanly or (on my bad day) used to pull Mr.K into conversation (As Mr.B and Mr.K were best buddies in office and had lots interests in common).
It was so tough for me to follow Mr.K that most of the times I used to plainly guess on what he is saying/said based on one or two words I happen to understand and react/reply based on that. On a very bad day he had to repeat himself without a ‘Pardon/Sorry’ from me (as I am not used to it or it may be because I would be too busy thinking on what he just said).I just wonder how he got to repeat his question just from my stare? – Call it wonderful non-verbal communication? Anyways, I am really sorry for him.
Even though our interactions were between few and far, they were challenging to say the least. Moreover they always left me with a scary thought that the worse is yet to come.
The Event 🙁
And unfortunately it came…
On that fateful day Mr.K had already there beside Mr.B for discussing something which I have not bothered to listen. As I remember, I had just got up from my seat for routine visit to men’s room. Clearly, I don’t know what happened next. Before I woke up from my slumber and realize anything Mr.K had already finished asking a question and looking at me for an answer . Unlike the previous times this time I could not catch even one word of the question (Don’t ask how I missed it. I swear! I have no clue). it may be because it was a one word question, or may be a moment which swallowed a series of moments without my notice (But Damn! how can this happen?).
Whatever may be my justifications for not getting (even a word of) the question thrown at me, now I had to answer the question which I had no clue about. Unfortunately, on that day Mr.K was in no mood to repeat his question just by seeing my blank face (or may be I did not pose with my blank face for long enough). Also my presence of mind had gone for a toss that day and I did not think of asking ‘I beg your Pardon/I am sorry’. Added to it, my ever reliable ally – My Instinct let me down and I just said – “Yes”.
Yes! I said Yes, without knowing the question (How can I do this? How can I just say Yes to an unknown question? I mean the question at that moment could have been anything, anything from ‘Did you delete that code?’ or ‘Did you date my GF?’ or something still worse). But before I realized these I had already said Yes, and it was too late. Only thing I could have done is to hope that they accept the answer and get on with their discussion (Ideally I would have liked them to go far way from me for a while).
Things did not end there as my luck touched a new low that day. Mr.B who was turning towards Mr.K turned towards me and asked (I guess) ‘Did you?’ (Or something similar to that which was again very short). Now that I have told ‘Yes’ and I felt I had to repeat my mistake with another stupid ‘Yes’ (Look at my dilemma. You May think I should have asked ‘Pardon/Sorry’ at least then? But I thought it was too late for that) and so I repeated again – ‘Yes’.
Unfortunately enough Mr.B was looking at my monitor, so I made a guess (an atrociously stupid one too) that he was asking something about the document displayed on my monitor (but how can this be? I mean this was the same question Mr.K asked and at that time Mr.K was no way near to my monitor). But as I had made that assumption I said (Scrolling down the document) ‘Yes, This is done by us’ or ‘Yes! We have completed it’ (Don’t remember much on what I said). Visibly frustrated Mr.B then asked the real question (for which I had said ‘Yes’), however this time with action, using both hands so that I really ‘get’ the question.
‘Did you buy the Camera?’ … And I said ‘Camera! No No Noooooo’
However by then It had turned out to be an epic embarrassment for me. Mr.K was no longer interested as he had come to know that I had just answered a question I never understood. I had only one option, the option that was not there, the option to be an Ostrich from a human being. An option of digging a hole and burying my head in that hole for a while. Alas! I could not.
In the end, I felt that after all the end was not as bad as it could have been. It could have been worse if question was something like ‘Who dated my wife yesterday? – You?’. But for once I realized that don’t answer to a question you have never listened/understood else you could be punished for deleting the code which you are not aware of or dating someone’s wife whom you have not met..