Walking with Rama

Is that an earthquake?

“My chair is shaking. Is that an earthquake?” asked my friend.

My friend and I were having tea this Saturday morning at a café in Delhi.

My chair was shaking too, unusually long, for more than a minute. Very gently but not scary enough to run for cover. I felt weird. Actually surprised at how I felt the whole time. We looked at the attendants and they seemed curious and concerned too. A young bartender at the counter, who looked like someone from the north east or Nepal, seemed more excited about the unusual experience, than the rest of us.

We quickly googled and found that an earthquake had hit Nepal. My friend quietly asked the attendant if the young bartender was from Nepal. He nodded in affirmation and said that his family lived there. He then discreetly mentioned the news to the bartender.

Much to our surprise the bartender continued his work without batting an eyelid. He wasn’t curious to know more. He did not run to the telephone to call his family. He simply turned his back, perhaps to evade all our judging eyes.

Maybe he did not like to be identified as a migrant.

Maybe he needed more time to process what had happened.

Maybe he wanted to take a deep breath, alone.

Maybe he did not know what to do.