外文标题：A Taste of Chinese Hospitality…………Part 2
some of my friends were unhappy over my generalizing while speaking about the nature of the people and they were right. In every community there are rogues and there are saints. I bet even in the Khalifat of ISIL there will be some good hearted people. There were some people who felt pain of the slaves in America when it was illegal to give shelter to them and it was considered anti-social to help them. In his writings, Mark Twain brought out such feelings through the characters of children like Huckleberry fin in his novels. At one place- torn between the guilt of lying about hiding a “nigger” ( run away negro slave named Jim) and his love for him, he writes:
Point taken- there are good and bad people in every country and to say that all Chinese are good will be preposterous.
This story should start with my landing at Shanghai again, so let me start from there. On 19th January 2015, I landed once again at Shanghai airport. It wasn’t much different from my previous visits except that one ‘fan’ had chosen to meet me at the airport. Actually I don’t like to use this word ‘fan’. It gives a person a certain ego. I am told that now I have many admirers in China, who like my writing style and frank unbiased reporting of China and her people, but I do not think I can claim to have fans.
Whatever we may call them, fans or admirers, but they are there. There is one very popular social interactive website named QQ in China. It’s like Facebook. Some time back some of the Chinese who would read my blogs encouraged me to make an account on QQ. It was difficult though because even the international versions of Chinese website throw up to you the dialogue boxes with Chinese text sneering at you. Well, after many failed and given up attempts, I managed to get my QQ account and also formed a group called “Friends of Navneet”.
There are many Chinese in Shanghai who have come to know me and perhaps will like to meet me, but the flight was to land at 8:30 at night and since, the company that I had decided to work for this time, had arranged a pick up for driving me straight to Gaogang, my final destination, I didn’t want many people to know of my arrival. Expecting people to come and meet at the airport is rather expecting too much and moreover Shanghai’s last Metro train from Airport leaves at around 8:45 PM and therefore anyone who comes to see or receive someone at night, has to go back by taxi.
Most of my fans comprise of students or young people struggling in the initial years of their first jobs. They are hard of cash and short of time. It’s not my intention to put their enthusiasm to test. But Andrew had kept regular tab on me as in those days I was posting his blog series “ Exploring Yunnan” at Sulekha.com. Andrew, who is doing post-graduation in medical sciences, had packed up his bags for going home after finishing his residency job at Shanghai and he was leaving Shanghai for good. He has got an assignment in Australia and had to prepare for his IELTS exam. He was to leave on 18th and was very upset about not being able to meet me, but his date of departure got postponed to 22nd Jan and he expressed his desire to come and see me at the airport despite my resistance.
A young boy with close cropped typically Chinese haircut, he was there waiting for me. I recognized him, though I had never ever even seen his picture. I saw a glint in his eyes in seeing me and I called his name “Andrew” and he returned a smile. There was no effervescence of emotions and if any glee was there in his heart, it was well contained. We were to travel for nearly four hours by road and it was around 9:45 PM. An Electrical Supervisor who was to join with me and had landed at Shanghai in the evening and one Paint Supervisor who had come to see his wife off had been waiting for us (me and my wife) to land and it had been a long and tiring day for them, we decided to have a quick bite before starting out.
Most of the eating joints in the food corner had closed for the day. So, we had no choice but to settle for the one that was open. Andrew’s company proved to be a blessing in disguise as finicky Indians cannot just eat anything being sold in the Chinese eateries. Our paint supervisor Mr. Prashant happened to be a pure vegetarian. That is to say that he won’t even have the food picked by the tongs that have been used to pick some non-vegetarian product. So even though there was a remote chance of getting a purely vegetarian burger or a petty at the Chinese joint, getting such a ‘clean’ food item was nearly impossible. The conditions put forth by my wife were mild in comparison because, she just doesn’t have beef. On our own, it would have been difficult for us to tell it all to the service woman and in all probability we would have dropped the idea of eating anything. While she was readying our order, Prashant saw her using the same tong for making the burger for him that she had used for picking meat for making burgers for us. He told me to tell Andrew to convey to the girl what cardinal sin had she committed and why won’t he have the burger that she was making for him.
To a foreigner the complexity of Indian beliefs about what can be eaten and what can’t be eaten, may seem weird. It can be even harder to explain to them the complicated rituals and customs many of us follow in our daily lives. Thanks to Andrew that we could have some small meal. He then expressed his desire to accompany us to Taizhou and told us that he had already spoken to the driver of the van that had been sent by the shipyard to fetch us. We had our baggage with us and the vehicle just had enough place to accommodate us but Andrew seemed unperturbed with the small place in the dickey that was all that he could have and he was happy having it. He sat there coolly, chatting with other people in the forum and reporting to them about his impressions about us and myriad other matters they keep discussing.
We checked in a hotel on arrival and he stayed in the same hotel for two days with us and then he left for Nanjing where he wanted to meet other friends he had made on my chat forum.
Nice to have a fan like Andrew. I am sure you would have many the way you relate and interact with people, especially youngsters. Yes Vegetarians have always have this problems. Now will go to part 3
Cheers and regards
Andrew seems to be a real sweet person among st your fan following in China. Glad to know about it and felt good after reading this. Do post his pictures.
I can v well relate to Prashant. :-))
Yes, he is a very good person and so are almost all those who have met me because they like what I read or maybe they try to present their best to me because they like me. I will post his picture. He is very handsome 🙂 but where should I post it? They are shy of posting those themselves.