Monday, May 1, 2017

Second Cultural Shock!

Cultural shocks are always entertaining to discuss. During my second month in Germany, I have planned a trip to Rome. In Munich airport, while I was standing to check in my baggage, I came across a beautiful girl who resembles that of a model from the fashion world. I glanced at her intermittently and smiled within myself. Suddenly, her eyeballs grabbed my attention and she also responded with a smile. My joy knew no bounds and I could feel my heart flying high with new born wings. I started praying God to place me next to her seat in the flight.

But, God has no heart. She was placed many rows behind me in the plane. God is not to be blamed completely either because I have an exceptional track record when it comes to such scenarios. Whenever I take a train, the whole compartment is full of men and elders. Taking a flight will ensure the same in the rows around me. I used to comfort myself thinking that I am destiny's child. Throughout my journey to Rome, I cursed God and myself for my bad luck. When we reached Rome, I waited for her at baggage carousel in the pretext of picking my baggage. She came and stood at a distance waiting to pick her suitcase. To everyone's surprise, the flight officials announced that our luggage is coming by the next flight and we have to wait for an hour at the baggage carousel. I felt that an unexpected twist in this story is created by God to give me a chance.

God has a beautiful heart and he bestows opportunities to the right people! Now, it is my turn to grab this opportunity. Without wasting my time, I gathered the courage and slowly moved towards her to introduce myself. When I lifted my head, I was taken by a big surprise. I saw another equally beautiful girl beside her and both of them compete fiercely with each other for the best model in a fashion show. Oh my God! How did I miss the second girl? Attempting to judge between those two girls, I was puzzled to conclude whom I should talk to. It has become the decision of my life at that point. After a brief thought, I decided to go with my first crush and walked towards her. I could see the twinkle in her eyes as I approached towards her. I thought that she is unable to forget my first smile. As I increased the pace of my footsteps both the beautiful girls hugged and started kissing each other. This glance gave me a big jolt and my mouth and eyes were wide open without my knowledge. The new born wings of my flying heart were chopped off mercilessly. I told myself "How can they do this? Both are very beautiful, yet..."

God is cruel! Unable to come out of the shock, I still moved towards them. As I got a closer view of them, I reduced the pace of my footsteps and slowly moved past them. As I took ten steps beyond the girls, I heard a conversation and stopped by. A guy spoke to the second guy "Both the girls are extremely beautiful and can get any guy on this earth. How on earth can they do this? They are really mad." On hearing this, my lips moved wide with a slight smile. I felt that he spoke my mind. The second guy answered "Shut up! It is their choice. You do not have any right to comment on their private life." His response reverberated through my ears and I came to terms with this fact that each person has the right to make his/her own decision. Who am I to intrude into their private life or personal decisions?

Since then, I preferred not to discuss or create opinions about others' personal lives. This experience helped me stop gossip about others and respect each individual with varied diversity.

Monday, March 20, 2017

I regret ...

Imagine a helpless man fighting against a ferocious bull in a closed ring (arena). Yes, you heard it right!

‘Spanish Bull Fight’! Every time I hear these words, I get goosebumps. I am always amazed at the skill of a man challenging an arrogant bull that can kill him anytime. I never saw any video of a bull fight and always wanted to visit the bullring.

    Spring announced the arrival of bullfights paving my way to Spain. Valencia, a beautiful city in Eastern Spain, greeted me warmly with crowded streets and hustling crowds. Valencia is decorated with beautiful and exotic structures at every street to celebrate Las Fallas, a popular festival in Spain. Valencians are dressed in traditional Spanish outfits, outside the stadium named ‘Plaza de Toros de Valencia’, excited me to enjoy the bull fight. The bullring, with hundreds of spectators, reminded me of the Roman Colosseum brought to life.

    A few guys dressed in dazzling costumes, with bright colors, came to the middle of the bull ring. Those guys are called matadors who possess exceptional skills to fight with bulls. The spectators are yet to settle down in their seats and the noise ruled the stadium. A whistle blew to signal the start of the fight. A momentary silence followed the whistle sound with bated breaths of spectators waiting for the bull. All matadors ran outside the ring and only one matador remained in the middle of the ring. A hefty 1800-pound (800kg) ferocious bull entered the arena running towards the lonely matador. The bellowing bull with loud noise stopped in front of the matador who was holding a red cloth. The bull saw the red cloth, got agitated and started kicking the ground with its feet. It aimed the horns towards the matador and jumped towards him pulling all its weight at once. The matador escaped the bulls’ horns and showed the red cloth again to the bull. The matador repeatedly deceived the bull and escaped from its horns. The thought of human triumph against the mighty bull gave a sudden rush of blood to my head.

    All of a sudden, the stadium was reverberated with a loud cry of the bull. I realized that the matador inserted a sharp spike into the bull’s flesh and it cried in pain. Matador held his hands high with victory sign and got soaked in a resounding applause from the crowd. The bull was in pain and ready to take vengeance and jumped towards the matador again. The bull missed him and he inserted another sharp spike into its flesh. I expected the bull to lift the matador with its horns and throw him to 30 feet outside the ring. But, I was puzzled and could not understand why the bull was unable to combat. I took a close look at the fight again for a few more minutes. Then, I was shocked to realize that the bull is trying to hit the moving cloth and not the matador standing in front of it. The bull could have killed the matador but the innocent creature stood in front of him waiting for the execution. As the supposed fight came to an end, the matador inserted a sword in the bull’s head and it tumbled and died in a flash without any noise. But, the bull’s cry recoiled in my ears and passed the pain to my heart. The dead bull’s corpse was dragged outside the arena and the view was piteous.

    Another heavy bull entered the ring and met the same fate. Without my knowledge, tears popped around my eyeballs at the sight of the pseudo fight. Bigger and stronger bulls are expected to enter the ring for execution but I could not sit there anymore and left the bullring with regret. Even though humans try to kill those bulls, those bulls endure the pain, pardon humans and show the so called humanity to humans. I agree that evading the bulls’ horns is no fun for matadors. But, is it fair? Is it fun? Give a thought! I request everyone to skip a bull fight and protest the gruesome display of humans killing animals for fun. Besides, I even started preferring vegetarian or vegan diet since then.