Though , I didn’t have much cultural shock in my last Europe visit as the life I live here in India is nothing different than Europe except that I live with my parents and can’t(actually don’t ) kiss my wife in their presence.
I was in Mestre , Venice and came down from from hotel room to the footpath just in front of the hotel entrance to smoke.As I had opted for Non-Smoking room , so had to rush down stairs.
There was heavy rain outside and people were standing under the roof of bus stop which was also just in front of the Hotel.Adjacent to Hotel was a big supermarket and people were walking past behind and in front of me.
Suddenly a guy came , ( I am sure , he was local Italian ) and stopped just 4-5 feet away from and and we made eye contact.I was stone-faced.No expression ! He came forward.I ignored him.He came nearer , I was a little concerned.He came within the slapping-radius of my hand and then I could smell his breath and finally he broke the tension and silence and said “CIGARETTE” pointing towards the Marlboro pack in my hand. I gave him one.Then he asked for lighter.He looked happy ! I was happy too , thinking I now can ask for cigarette from stranger when I run out of supply.
We left Venice for Luzern , Switzerland.It was serene.I must say that Switzerland is not mentioned as ‘heaven’ without reason and thanked Yash Chopra for making Indians aware about it.I was happy in Luzern because here more people could understand English than Italy.
Switzerland was the only country in Europe where I could find some signboards in Hindi except at some Indian Restaurants.That was pleasant surprise.
We went to see Mount Titlis on Rotair , the first and only of its kind in world.There at the top of Mount titlis in -13 Degree at 10,000 feet , my urge to smoke got better of me.And I ran out out of cigarettes.I saw a man smoking and he was with his family which probably included his wife and an old lady , his mother-in-law ? Encouraged with the incidence which happened in Venice , I went up to him and asked ”Do you speak English” “Yeah Little” , He said. I asked , “Can I have a cigarette” and He simply refused saying “I only have two”
I was totally embarrassed and my better-half burst in a teasing laughter as she had advised against doing that. My Bad-Luck , I insisted and became a victim of cutural-difference of ‘Two countries’ or more precisely ‘Two Individuals’ within Europe.