Ring my Bell
December 2, 2008
Last night as I was fighting the cold cosily wrapped in half a dozen layers of various sweaters/cardigans/shawls, my doorbell rang. Strange. Who would show up unannounced at 8pm ?
I opened the door and I saw a short, plump, Buddha-looking man in his thirties. He was dressed in flashy white-washed jeans and a bright polyester shirt. He was out of breath from climbing the four floors. I had never ever met him in my life. He was smiling from ear to ear.
“Yes?” I said.
“Hello. Ahem. Hello ! I have a fabric shop in the Raja Park. And so, ha ha, you live here only?”
I was ice cold.
“What do you want?”
What he probably wanted, I thought, was for me to let him in, exclaiming what a wonderful thing it must be to own a fabric shop in Raja Park, and let’s have a beer and cheer to that. Isn’t it how it happens in our movies? Some guy rings some girl’s bell because he is short of sugar and they end up making out on the sofa. Faced with weird male behaviour in India, try and look at it through the movie lense, you often get your answer.
I should probably have offered him a glass of water but as far as I knew, he was a random guy ringing my bell at night.
“So, ha ha, I hear, you have the job.”
“I don’t know, no no, I don’t know. Some job. With a hotel only.”
Maybe he didn’t want to be my pal after all, maybe he just thought I could get him a hotel contract.
“Ah, ok. You see, I have the shop in the Raja Park.”
By then I was no longer amused. This guy did look sweet and harmless, but what the hell did he want?
“Listen, I said, how did you get my address?”
“Oh, ha, it’s because only, I live in the next street, you know, number C-299, it is my house.”
“But how do you know I live here ?”
I live in an apartment building, so it is one thing to know in which house I live, but it is another thing to know on which floor, and at which door.
“It’s because I see you before.”
“You see me?”
I wasn’t making it easy for him, but he was just taking the mickey: so he saw me in the street and then what? Followed me here?
“Yes. So where are you from?”
Here we were. Getting cosy. Honestly, I thought it was hilarious. I felt sorry I was so mean to him but at the end of the day I was a single girl living alone in this city and I wasn’t going to get friendly with random guys ringing my bell at night.
“I’m from Zimbabwe.”
Yes I know, it is a pretty silly one, but I never tire of it.
But our little Buddha wasn’t going to be stopped so easily.
“And so you are studying here only?”
“Ah. Oh, so you are working?”
“I research and translate into html language the various occurrrences of moral harassment towards women in North India”.
And on his stunned silence I shut the door.
Am I horrible ?