Tuesday, January 6

Timeshift in a train

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The vacation is over. But there are a few memories that need to be preserved. As and when they occur to the brain. For now, we present:

Memory one - Paper Sudoku man

In a country where people were obsessed with PSP's, mobiles and all things electronic, it was surprising to find a fellow train passenger playing Sudoku using pen and paper. This man of Chinese origin had scribbled over almost every page in his notebook and was on the verge of setting some sort of record when a seat behind him was vacated. He moved in to sit next to another, much older Chinese gentleman who was without electronic device or game. And then came the moment that had me and wife laughing for the next half an hour. The older man asked manual-Sudoku guy, "What's the time in China?".

Just like that. Out of the blue.

He asked with such sincerity that any Indian would have been obliged to answer. "What's the time in China?", the words were repeated, this time with frenzied pantomiming. The man who was visibly shaken out of his gaming reverie simply blinked at the older man like tears were about to come pouring out. He gaped for five or ten seconds. After which he eked out, "I don't know." He could no longer continue the Sudoku solving.

The train stared at the two weird, laughing Indians.

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