Saturday 8.30 pm. Grado, Italy.
We were for dinner at a very rustic kind of restaurant but very classy in itself, very much typically the old European style, along with a beautiful sun setting its way over the bay at the back drop. The dinner was being organized by Mr. L.M and his wife, at whose house I was staying for the weekend. I was their guest for that day so extra care was being taken.
Before leaving for the dinner I over heard Sylvia and Martha saying something about somebody called Mrs. English and then giggling, but then I was too busy dressing up for the dinner that I didn’t pay much attention to their conversation.
Ok, enough of scene setting…so here I was with Mr. L.M and his wife at the restaurant waiting for their other friend couples to come over. Mr. L.M knows english quite well but is a bit slow as has to recollect words and his wife hardly knows a few words. Within few minutes the first couple had arrived(say Mr & Mrs. First). Now that I am writing this after nearly 3 weeks of the actual day, I don’t really recollect much about the Mr. First (its strange how some people go completely unnoticed, in another few days I might totally forget him) but yes Mrs. First looked to be a very sober and gentle lady, seeing whom you get an elderly kind of respect. But even they just knew a bit of English, so till then hardly any conversation had taken place for me. And thus I started wishing that Sylvia and Martha had come along.
Then in short time came the other couple (I would have named them Mr. & Mrs. Second, but I would specially like to name Mrs. Second as Mrs. English). Mrs. English, an English school teacher, must be in her late 50s. After the initial formal introduction, I was so happy and relieved that finally there is someone to talk to and she seemed very interesting to me (and she did turn out to be very interesting).
The conversation started pretty well, but within few minutes it was clear that here I am with someone who is going to go on and on and on….but still it was nice, after all at last there was someone to hear too. And I also realized that here I was with a very pretentious lady, her pretentiousness was all because she knew English and the other 2 ladies didn’t know it. Though she was showing contempt for the British, but she her self was trying to present herself like this sophisticated English lady. A lady whose speeches contained more of Oh My God, Oh My Gosh, Oh dear, Oh it is so Hot,…and with all the other set of Ohhhs (also please imagine the artificial facial expressions along with these exclamations).
Our discussions revolved more around India and Europe. She had visited India sometime back, and her impression about the country was that, she was completely shocked and had been completely confused with the religions and rituals. Which for me is completely true when you think in terms of a non Indian, but again as this was Mrs. English I was feeling that she was over exaggerating. But any ways…we talked about the Pope, christainity, her experience at the Cambridge University, the youth these days in Italy and Italian men. It was from her that I got to know that Italian men are suppose to be the best lovers in world, she was surprised that I hadn’t heard abt it before...how do I tell her that I am such a dumb head when it comes to information regarding these things. She hung over this topic for long, god knows where was she trying to lead :).
But anyways she helped me with the menu, though with a very fake care. I had a tough time with the spaghetti, it was too very slipper...but what food it was, its taste is still lingering in my mouth. And then came the fried fish, and there started Mrs. English with her lessons of how to eat a fish. As previously she had seen me being cautious on what non veg food would be there on my plate, she thought this girl has never had a fish. But little did she know that she was teaching a Bengali to eat a fish, but any ways she was trying to be caring and so I let her continue.
With her non stop talks, she made other 5 people completely out of scene. But she was some character that I think I will never forget in my life. We might never meet again, but she indeed made the evening very interesting and energetic. She left giving me some interesting information of Europe and also the one that I mentioned above ;). She showed me the Italian (or may be the European...I have no idea) sign for the F**k word, and that was the funniest part of the evening...I think she was over drunk by then, and on this her husband (and also the others)started losing their patience, I guess he and so did others knew this lady well. And thanks to her insistence, for the first time I tasted wine :).
Later that night at the disc, where I was to join Sylvia and Martha:
Sylvia: "So how did you find Mrs. Englsih"
Me: "She was nice....it was good that she knew english"
Martha: "That’s it..."
Me: "yea...she was a bit over dramatic"
Silence for a few seconds....and then 3 of us bursted out into laughter :) :) :))