Friday, 4 March 2011

[in the style of the Batman theme] da na na na na na na na - Hat Man! ...

In my last post I briefly mentioned a chance meeting with an elderly man who wore a hat ... on a plane ... who sang songs in public.  I also mentioned that the Raipur leg was my nominal contribution to the organisation of the trip.  The first day went well ... largely because Ricky Thaper organised it ... not me.  
Day 2 proves more of a challenge.  There is nothing arranged. In desperation to please my restless colleagues, I phone Hat Man on Day 1.  He is in “a meeting” and says he’ll phone me back ... he doesn’t ... I berate myself for thinking he might.  Next day ... a lie in, a relaxed breakfast, we get to 11.30 and no one has complained directly about doing nothing but there is an undeniable air of frustration.  We try to take a rickshaw to a Walmart to see what an Indian supermarket looks like.  The non-English speaking rickshaw driver reckons I must have meant the centre of town and takes a punt, leaving us lost in a busy street ... nowhere near a Walmart.  
Just as all hope of not wandering around aimlessly is at an end ... Hat-Man phones.  He has been to our hotel with his brother - head of the agricultural department of Chattisgarh.  His brother has had to leave for a “meeting” but we head for his office. Raipur is a big city ... we are the only westerners ... as we start the goose chase, people stare, smile and wave.  We enjoy our adventure ... at least, I do.  I smile and wave and even do the “thumbs up” more than is technically cool, as we walk.  
After asking at least five times for directions we get to the office.  Hat Man is actually called Mr Poorit and he is high up in a renewable energy company (Tony likes renewables so he is pleased).  Mr Poorit is a character.  A former colonel in the Indian army, a veteran of three wars he possesses a personal wisdom that comes from a very full life.  I love old men like Mr Poorit. He is excentric, mischievous and warm ... what I want to be when I’m old. I feel we click and have an odd bromance for 20 whole minutes.

Tony, me and Mr Poorit ... in the final of the "Funniest Face" competition.
Above Tony's head there is a picture.  It says "... for everything you gain; you lose something else; it is about your outlook towards it; you can either regret ... or rejoice".  Deep! 

He tells us that Indians are misers, they are real business men and ... in a Borat type moment - they are “like the Jew”.  Britishers are nice but they are not financially as bright as Indians.  Mahatma Gandhi was a good guy but his policy of non-violence was wrong. If someone hits you, you hit them back harder.  I loved it ... not because I agreed with everything but just because his opinions were definite and devoid of malice (though I suppose hitting people isn't that nice).
We finish by singing a Doris Day song in the middle of a busy office... “Que Sera, Sera, ...Whatever will be, will be ... The future's not ours, to see ... Que Sera, Sera ...”  Given my midlife crisis and my palm reading that shows I have no life line from now on ... I consider this appropriate.  We shake hands, knowing we got on well, but knowing we will never see each other again.  I am emotional about our farewell, which I wasn’t expecting.  Goodbye Mr Poorit ... the honour was all mine.


Rona Amiss said...

'Not financially bright as the indians' sort of sum's up the Raipur leg of the trip!

Anonymous said...

Always good to have a mentor.
I sincerely hope you bought one of those hats and will be wearing it while singing Que Sera Sera during your presentation at the Nuff Conference in November!! I can't wait to see it.
Either that, or bring Mr Poorit to the conference in person as a sort of personal guru.