At the crack of dawn when Bengaluru slept, we packed our bags for a weekend in the B R Hills. Our early departure meant a stop for breakfast on our way on NH209 or the Kanakpura Road. We chanced upon a small inn with bare minimum options on the menu–a choice between iddli-sambhar(rice cakes with lentil soup) and aloo-puri(potato curry with deep fried pancakes). We made our choices and sat down with our steaming plates of fresh food. The aroma and the taste soon engulfed our senses of taste and smell.
We were broken from our spell of hot tasty food by a little boy, who seemed of foreign origin but completely at home in the tiny inn. He came in with the gusto of a hungry child and grabbed hold of his thali (steel plate) of aloo puri and placed himself on the only table where we sat and began enjoying his steaming breakfast. With confidence he grabbed himself a glass of water and began to order himself more puris in perfectly spoken Kannada. He amazed us by his boldness of dining all by himself without any adult supervision. What caught our attention was the fact that he seemed like a regular here and soon we got talking.
Little Hamish informed us that he was 10yrs old and from Poland. He has been in India for the last 8yrs with his parents. The young linguist said that he knew 5 languages which included Polish, Russian, English, Kannada and Hindi. I decided to test his skills in Hindi and found that he wasn’t just claiming his language skills; he was indeed fluent in his understanding and speech in Hindi. The bubbly boy told us that he was a regular to this joint and he immensely enjoyed his breakfast here every day. The chatterbox went on to say how he can take care of himself when his parents are at work and that his house key is with a friend when he is here dining. His school was much lenient with him now that he was in standard 5 and he could do as he pleased, he said!!
An enjoyable experience chatting with him while he taught us a lesson with his simple ways–one has to adapt and completely immerse oneself in the culture and language where you reside so that you not only gain the admiration and respect of the locals but enrich yourself and broaden your understanding of the innumerable cultures that exist all around you.