A Memory To Add Smile | A Bihari in London

We don’t get to choose our parents, our date or place of birth, but henceforth there’s always a choice and we make decisions weighing the pros and cons in our favor. A lot of us have to make harsh decisions depending on the situation. And many of us would have made some very difficult choices when it comes to the way we earn our livelihood. Not all of us are privileged enough to be born into wealthy families and big cities and may a times we have to come out of our comfort zone just to get things by. While some of us forget our roots when we climb the ladder of success, there are others who never forget they are and where they come from and actually take pride in it. I am sharing a conversation that took place that helped me understand a lot of things, kind of an eye opener, leaving me with a a sense of pride and helping me realise the importance of being human, a human with a heart!

A Cafe, Wardour Street, London.

It was a foggy day when I visited London in December 2015, I had been to London earlier, but this tour was a kind of memory which will stay with me forever, and might just give you one more reason to smile.

I had a meeting scheduled at 12:00 pm. I came out of my Hotel at around 10 and was in mood to enjoy a brisk walk in the chilly weather. I was en route the subway at Tottenham Court Road Station, but I felt a pang of hunger and wanted to try some Vegetarian food. I asked someone if I could get some good Vegan food at affordable rates. The gentleman suggested me Bunnychow cafe which was at a distance of barely 10 mins from the station on the Old Compton Street.

I reached the place and it was a quiet joint. I ordered a veg Breakfast and a Fresh Berry Yogurt Pot. It cost me around 7 Pounds. I was disappointed with my meal. It had Beetroot mix, Salsa beans, Pickled Onion and Fried Eggs. I asked them for a good vegetarian meal and all I got was disappointment. One of the waiters, who I guess was and Indian/Pakistani, turned to me and said, “Yahan daal bhaat thode milega sir, yahan yahi sab milta hai.” I burst into laughter and said “Saala yahi to kodhaag hai ji”. It was his turn to be surprised now listening to a similar accent, a Bihari accent! .

I asked him about his roots. He replied very calmly, “Sir jahan roji-roti dikh jaye, wahi to hum Bihari sab ka ghar ho jata hai, aur jab inlog se jaada kama lete hai aur ee log ka fayda kar dete hai to yahi sab hamko bhaga deta hai”

I asked him why was he in London and why was he not speaking in the local Brit accent like the other Indians do,

He said “Sir mera ghar Hilsa me tha, ee nalanda district me padta hai, ham hotel management kiye the dilli ja ke, fir ek hotel me kaam kiye, fir ek offer aaya aur ham yahan aa gaye, yahan mota paisa milta hai, kharcha ke baad bhi ghar bhejne k liye paisa bacha lete hai, English bhi bol lete hai sir, naya-naya me khoob British aur American accent bolne ka kosis karte the, ab thak gaye hai sir, ab man karta hai apna boli bole, yahan ab man ekdum nahi lagta hai, jab se yahan aay hai ghar bhi nhi gaye hai, Indians dikhta hai to main-tum nhi karte hai apna Bihari boli hi bolte hai wo log ko aay na aay Bihari bolne magar wo log khub hasta hai, acha feedback milta hai isse sir aur yahan repo banta hai”

Later he told me about many places in London where I could get healthy vegetarian food at affordable rates, I offered him a tip but he denied saying, “Ghar ke aadmi hai sir, mera bas chalta to bill bhi nahi lete”

I bid an emotional goodbye to him, and walked to my destination, thinking and reflecting on my Bihari Identity, which I had almost forgotten in my days abroad.

The story was shared by Amit Sinha over email to us.

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