So, where are you from?

So, where are you from?

Submitted by Editor on Sun, 2016-04-10 11:57 I was dreaming of the beach and beer when they woke me up. The bed bugs. The bus was rattling away through the night in tempo with the deafening music that emanated mercilessly from the speakers. The lady sitting behind me sensed my agony and gave me a smile. “Where are you from?” she asked. “Bangalore,” I replied. She went back to sleep and I got back to fighting the bugs. By the time I reached the destination after an eight-hour ride, my bottom was sore from bed bug bites and my hearing was affected considerably. I wished for fresh towels and my comfortable bed back home. But sometimes, the destination makes up for a toiling journey. I was in Gokarna. Ninety kilometres south of Goa, Gokarna lingers in a world of its own. The temple town of Karnataka has some of the finest beaches on the west coast and when my friend suggested a trip, I jumped at it. The virgin beaches, the cold beer and people watching – I loved the idea. We stopped short as we walked up to the hotel. The sea was breathtakingly beautiful and we decided we would retire in this part of the world. “Beautiful, no?” a voice behind me asked. “I am Sivakumar. I am a guide,” the man behind the voice continued. “Where are you from?” he asked. “Bangalore,” we replied. He gave us his card and promised he would show us around. We continued our walk. The handsome young man at the reception smiled as we were checking in. “From Bangalore? Nice place,” he said looking at our IDs. As soon as we freshened up, we lathered some sunscreen, threw on our bikinis and stepped on the sand. My friend decided that she wanted to get into the water and I settled for some coffee first. At the beach shack, I put my feet up, asked for a coffee and picked up a newspaper. “Messi fails to strike again,” screamed out the sports page. I was sad and started to read. My friendly friend was now walking back with a lady whose salwar kameez was sticking up the wrong places as she attempted to swim with her clothes on. “Nice weather. Where are you from?” the lady asked my friend. “Bangalore,” said my friend. Her eyebrows shot up in alarm. “Indian? But you are wearing…” she paused, looking at my friend’s bikini, making her feel exposed for the first time. Having lost all interest in my friend, the lady now turned to me and asked me, ‘So, where are you from?” I looked at my friend, my bikini and then at Messi and said, “Argentina.”