The other day I was climbing up the stairs in my office building. I have been doing that quite often these days. I do not know if it is due to a sense of insecurity of growing old that I have to prove to myself, everyday, that I am still capable and healthy; or is it just to challenge myself, my fitness level. Whatever the case may be, that being the least of my concerns here, there I was climbing lost in my own thoughts and hoping, with every straining breath I took in, that my floor would arrive sooner than later. I found this guy from the cleaning department, one among the many that work on the many floors, along my way up. As I got closer to him, I could see a sense of uneasiness in his face and to probably save a period of embarrassment he blurts out ‘Good Morning sir’.
I kept climbing return his salutation, but the thought was already sown in my mind. Would he have said the same thing had it been a not-so-light-skinned person? If not for a European, that’d be stretching it a bit far, he definitely would have mistaken me for an Arab. And seeing me all dressed up, must have thought I was some important person.
I always pass for a north Indian to those who know me I’m from India. And to those whose knowledge of my origin just spans the doorway of the sub-continent think I am from Pakistan.