I belong to a hamlet called 'Konthai' which is in South Tamil Nadu, India. Twenty years back I was there as an unemployed graduate hunting for a job. Among the competitive examination the one conducted by the Staff Selection Commission for the non-gazetted posts was popular as it was the only mass civilian recruitment by the Central Government. Even petty shops one can find the application form. So as a annual ritual, I used to appear for the examination but never bothered about the results.
One day to my surprise, I got a letter from Defence Ministry with a posting in Delhi (Capital of India). The moment I saw the letter, I felt that as if I were on the top of the world. My joy knew no bounds. Without knowing my handicaps ( I was knowing either Hindi or spoken English), I decided to accept the offer. All my relatives and friends expressed their apprehension about my ability to manage in Delhi due to its erratic weather condition as well as language problem. But the very though of 'getting a job' made me to push aside all the other things to the back seat.
The day when I boarded Grant Trunk Express at Madras Central Station, almost all my relatives and friends wee there to see me off as if I were going for a 'bon voyage'. I also became nervous after seeing the hub of activities that were going there at the Central Station as it was my first visit to that place.
After arriving at Delhi, when I went through its wide roads, beautiful lawns, parks, sprawling bungalows, high rise buildings, I though that I am really luckn enough to get a job in a beautiful city. Next day when I went to join my office, I got a first jolt and exposed to the stark reality. First time I felt that I landed in a totally alien land and considered myself as a 'foreigner'.
I was completely startled to see such a situation where everyone was talking in Hindi, cracking jokes in Hindi, exchanging greetings in Hindi. When they were talking about me I was not knowing whether they were appreciating me or abusing me. Somehow, I managed to join my duty by signing the required forms that were given to me. From that moment onwards I started working as a 'Robot' doing my work without communicating to anybody.
After having seen my trouble, my colleagues started speaking to me in English. Even office peons after having seen my agony tried their best to convey their feelings to me in a broken English. So in office I had managed somehow to pull on, but outside I still struggled a lot to manage without Hindi.
Once I told my friend that I am finding it difficult to board DTC bus, as the conductor asks too many questions which I don't understand. To reduce my problem little bit, my friend advised me that whenever you board a DTC bus ask the conductor a ticket by tendering the exact coins. So the conductor would give the ticket and would not ask any questions. According to his advice, when I boarded a DTC bus asked the conductor a ticket by tendering the exact fare. But to my shock, the conductor asked me 'Kahan Jana Hai? Since I was not prepared for the question I started blinking. But fortunately one of my fellow passenger who happened to be a Tamilian came to my rescue and saved me from embarrassment.
After so many years of service, having exposed to Delhi's climate, life style & language when I walk back the memory land ? I really feel the difference me.
Today, almost 2000 kms away from my home district in South Tamil Nadu - I really feel at home.