It’s a question am asked often, so often that sometimes I feel I should include the answer to my middle name. This week it happened twice. Few days back a colleague (let’s call her ‘H’) comes to my desk and after the initial five minute chit-chat this is how the conversation went:
H: “…Are you French?”
Me: =) (this was my exact reaction)
After 4 precise seconds, “No I am not French”
H: “You don’t look like French but your accent and some of the pronunciation of words seems French.”
She has the look on her face as if she is trying to figure it all out and is thinking out loud. So I give her time as I was very intrigued as to where she was going.
H: “Have you ever lived in U.K.”?
Me: =) (by now you must have realized this is my standard answer) “No, not lived but I’ve visited many times”
After few more minutes she gives upon her guessing game by throwing her hands in the air.
H: “Where are you from?”
Me: =) “I thought you’d never ask. I am from India”
H: “Noooooooooooooo wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy” (she was nodding and she couldn’t stand at one place)
Me: Smiling cheek to cheek… “well, yes I am. Believe it or not! But I must confess that’s the first time am hearing this one, French!.”
H: “But….but you don’t look Indian, your English is so good. You name is not Indian either. What part of India do you come from?”
After giving her some details I could tell she was totally blown away by the conversation. She claimed that she has always been good at figuring out the nationalities/origins (being Swedish has something to do with this) but she failed miserably in this one. Nevertheless, one could tell that she was exhausted and soon after I saw her going for her coffee break.
It never fails to surprise me what people might guess to my origin. I have had all kinds of guesses…Persian, Brazilian, Spanish, Iranian, Mexican, and the list goes on. The most hilarious part is when an Indian doesn’t believe am an Indian. They give out the most outrageous and unbelievable expressions when they hear that I am from India.
One of these days I was having a conversation with a Greek and was telling him how I love Greek food when an Indian sitting close by jumped when I said … “I am from India” she couldn’t believe her ears and went ‘oh get outta hereee… shutuppp… ur not Indian..u don’t look Indian at all”. She said this without realizing that she claimed to have heard our conversation by reacting the way she did. Funny thing is she had spent the entire evening with me without having a clue as to what I am.
Whatever it might be: the name, the hair, the accent, the face that confuses people so much when it comes to my origin, but somehow it always makes an interesting conversation. =)