Questions questions everywhere I go. I'm sick to death of answering the same questions a million times. That’s one big disadvantage of living in a strange land. People around you are curious, and every new face you meet, every new friend you make means you have to answer questions 1-10 all over again. Strangers are no different. Go out shopping, go for medical checkups, go to the bank, go to any dashed place and the most asked question is “Where are you from?”
Sometimes I’d deliberately misunderstand and would tell the name of the locality where I live, and the look of perplexity on the other person’s face is priceless, a pure Kodak moment. Other commonly answered questions are -
-Is that in Nepal/China/?
-Why have you come here?
-What language do you speak?
-Is it similar to Chinese/Japanese/any Southeast Asian language?
-Say something in your language.
-What kind of food do you eat?
-What currency do you use?
-How do you like this place?
-How many brothers and sisters do you have?
-What is your father? (Yes they ask this and many times I’ve been tempted to answer “A man.”)
I don’t blame the local people for being curious. It’s human nature. If tomorrow I meet someone from say, Bora Bora, I’d probably ask the same questions, maybe even more. But answering the same questions every other day, questions from people as diverse as auto drivers to shopkeepers to colleagues to strangers on the street could get on your nerves a bit, I tell you.
Sometimes I’d get so fed up, so sick of saying the same things for the millionth time that I’d think to myself “Maybe I should just pack my bags and go home, to the place where everyone looks and speaks like me and nobody cares if I have fifty siblings or if my father is a ditch digger or asks me if I like living at home.”
But oh, the irony! I’ve been living away from home for too long, and every vacation, every Christmas, every trip home, with every familiar face I see, with every old acquaintance I meet, more questions come in my way.
-Oh, are you home? (No I'm still in Bora Bora, I am just materializing here and in a few seconds will dematerialize and you will see me no more).
-When did you arrive?
-When are you leaving again?
(Every single person invariably asks these two questions, and I’m tired of answering. Next time you see me out there don’t ask me these two. Sometimes I’d think I might just as well pin some notice, some tag on my chest that said – I arrived on so-and-so date and will leave again on so-and-so date, thank you very much)
-Where are you working now?
-How much is your salary (c’mon people have some sense)
-We thought you might have gotten married to one of them locals..ha ha ha…(I don’t know if this qualifies as a question but every second person said it to me)
-Is it hot out there?
-How many Mizos live there?
-My neighbour’s husband’s cousin’s daughter also studies there, do you know her? (No I don’t)
-Are you still living there? Are you never coming back? (I don’t know)
I know I'm just being grumpy and difficult, and you might want to ask me these questions, depending on which category you fall in, but well, like I’ve said, there’s just so much irritation a woman can endure.