I am not usually the kind of person who ‘eavesdrops’ on other people or pry into their personal affairs . Well , that is , unless , you are sitting or standing ,for that matter , so close in proximity to my location that my auditory cortex finds it humanly impossible to ignore such high decibel levels …..and… I give in…( okk…I eavesdrop ,or the word ‘overhear’ ,will perhaps, better describe such an event ! )
Travelling to other countries , provides one of the best opportunities to ..ummm..well….‘overhear‘ conversations , you are obviously not expected to be a part of !
I have had the good fortune to do both !
On one, of the many metro rail journeys , we undertook ,while on our sightseeing tour in Paris , many years ago , I happened to be seated next to an elderly woman. ( I couldn’t discern much as to the country she belonged to ,though my hunch is that she was probably an American ..) As I sat there , the only Indian ,(apart from my husband who was standing somewhere far behind ), I tried to observe the diverse cultures represented inside that single compartment ,of the train ……..I was amazed …
It was only then, that my eyes focussed on another lady standing, next to the one sitting besides me..They looked a lot alike , except that this lady seemed a little more cheerful in disposition and of course , several years younger to the former …In any case , to me they looked like sisters…
As the train glided through the tracks , all of a sudden , a loud chattering reached my ears…It was this younger woman conversing…..
It took me another few seconds to realize that the lady was pointing in my direction …and still more , to conclude that ‘I was the topic of discussion !!!’ I pricked up my ears ……
The lady, had apparently misjudged my grasp over the ‘English’ language , for she made no attempts to lower her volume ,or try to speak in hushed tones ……….( obviously confident of my incompetence ! )
Here is what she said ( her voice loud and clear ! ) : ”I thought I was the one ,who wore big earrings…Somebody to your left is wearing even bigger ones !!!” She told , her friend( or sister ), with a mocking smile !
Listening to her conversation, my immediate urge was to touch my earring , to try and sort of measure it (to see if it was actually bigger than hers !!! ) , but on second thoughts I refrained from doing so…….
I wanted to save our lady some embarrassment , just in case she were to realize that not only did I understand English , but could speak in it too…….So , I kept my hands down , and pretended to look in the other direction , as though I didn’t comprehend a word that she had uttered ……..and let her have her ‘fun’ moment !!!
But my heart was still fluttering like a trapped bird , as I smiled to myself , at the thought of having managed to arouse such interest , in the mind of a complete stranger , in a completely strange land !!!