Two weeks back we were coming back to California after a trip from Ohio.My grandma was with us too and since she suffers from breathing problems we had asked for a wheel chair at the airport. As we landed after the long flight at LAX airport we sat at the entrance until the wheelchair arrived.When it finally did ,the person pushing the wheel chair looked like he was somewhere from the subcontinent.I was guessing South India.Anyways he had my grandma settled into the wheelchair and we walked to the elevator. I was waiting for the elevator with my back against the wall at the side of the elevator door looking here and there absentmindedly when the elevator door opened and a man pushing a wheel chair came out of it, I had n't really noticed him but as he passed in front of me, he looked at me with a big wide smile, bowed his head slightly and said 'assalam alaikum' ( thats a greeting muslims use when they meet each other, it means may God's peace be on you ) with such energy that it startled me ,he was a brown skinned guy, and seemed to be Pakistani by his accent. I smiled back and said 'walaikum salam' with much pleasure to have met a Pakistani guy. After that brief exchange of greetings he went his way and I entered the elevator.
I realised that he must have noticed that my grandma was wearing a shalwar kameez (the traditional Pakistani dress) and my looks must have confirmed my Pakistani roots to him. Even though I did'nt know him nor do I expect to meet him again but the pleasure I felt in meeting him was amazing.It made me realise how good it feels to meet someone with the same background at a foreign place..
Well that was n't it.A little while after we entered the elevator the man who was pushing my grandmas wheelchair asked me what language I spoke.
'Urdu', I replied (Pakistan's national language).
" You are from Pakistan ?" he asked back.
" Yeah " was my short reply..
" I'm from Sri Lanka" he said with a smile
"Oh " and then I smiled back not knowing what to say any further.
After a brief silence he continued " Do you know your cricket team is in our country these days,there's a cricket match between your team and our team today "
" Oh really ? I didn't know that"
" You don't like cricket ?" he asked with an astonished look on his face ,and I dont blame him, every person in the subcontinent usually likes cricket.
"No,actually I wasn't able to follow cricket while all this travelling" I replied a little embarassed
The elevator bell rang just then and we had to step out breaking the conversation.We walked to the waiting area and he had my grandma settled onto the waiting area chairs, more helpingly and courteously than I could have expected. As he began to walk away with his wheelchair. I said a little good bye and " Best of luck for the match" He walked away with a big smile.
I still don't know who won that match !!