It takes some free time and the right opportunity to try out something new. So, when Charles from the British Council presented an open invitation for anyone to join the Conversation Clubs that day, I thought, why not. I had already missed an important day at school, and instead of returning home and wallowing about it, I might as well stay back from my class at the Council, and attend this one. You know, check it out.
And to be very honest, I was expecting good conversation, classy people and a smooth system. That’s just what I associate with British Council, or in fact, anything British.
I should have been smarter. I was probably expecting a filtered group, those who could be expected to operate on the same wavelength. What i got… A hopelessly vivid version of the general Indian crowd. Fussy housewives, business men, boys that looked good only as long as they don’t speak and laid out the level of their confidence, despo gals, gamers… I am making it sound much worse than it was… But that’s just the after effects of a negative experience. Please only believe, that the crowd was NORMAL. The usual common man, and woman. With their normal lives, of faults and specialties, duties and responsibility, and the one goofy thing everyone has unique to them…
I’ll now try make it fair. I’m just let down. Maybe that has to do with the general feel of the whole day. So anyone affiliated with the British Council, I now hope, will be just as pleased/displeased with this article, as anybody else.
The club started on time, the facilitator was engaging and moved pretty swiftly between the many discussion groups, the topics and the prompts provided were pretty great.
My group was in fact much better than the usual scenario, as I was told. There was a woman from Ukraine who broke tradition of marrying from the locality, and is not settled in Africa, something she once dreamt about and left hopes for after seeing how far it was on, on a map. There was a boy who looked so confident I thought he was an easy talker. Turned out he could barely follow the convo, and was from a village. He has driven a tractor, and hopes to work at NASA, but after studying Physics for two or more years he thinks it isn’t his cup of tea, so now he wants to be a politician. Oh correction, he wants to be a CORRUPT politician. Cause that’s where the money is. Oh and he would never leave his family, a clause to all of his decisions.
There was a gamer boy. (Hey, please understand right away that I call anyone who isn’t cynical a boy, for as long as I can. Think that’s enough definition of who’s young and who’s not.) He has his loyalties with XBox and me being backed by some ardent Play Station fans in my family, I had to ask him Why Xbox? Just his choice. He also wants to go to Harvard Business School.
Two people in the club were from my class at the Council, we were trying out together. One is a lawyer, and one a reporter.
A girl was aiming for Oxford for English Literature, and in compelte generosity, should she ever ever ask anyone if that’s a good plan, the person should just say a clear decisive NO. The girl has all her basics wrong.. Nothing that can’t be corrected. But she also is high headed, thinks her rules of grammar are in fact the ones in line and she kept correcting everyone’s CORRECT English throughout. She’s just one of the people who hear of the big leagues and think cool, that’s my place. They don’t believe in earning it, they just see the big golden bell and wanna ring it. I have no sympathy for these kind of people, and sadly, am meeting more of these…
Another girl, was really who could keep the previous Oxford gal in line. God bless her soul. While I dealt with the girl by clearly showing my disinterest, she did by asking her questions and then engaging others, which was the right thing to do really. Her stories were all interesting, in fact, hers and the woman from Ukraine were all that made the talk any interesting.
She wanted to be a model, which I admitted instantly was what I was thinking of her. She had a battle with her parents about learning to drive. She wore goofy green specs. And she was willing to laugh, which I loved.
Looking at what I just typed, it does seem like the whole event was a pretty fun thing after all… But just because I was lucky doesn’t mean the chat was fun. We talked about Wishes.. how they had changed, would be fight for them, would we settle or would we keep trying to come true…
On a pretty topic like that even, the Indian effect seeped in. Pessimism. Indian society, in complete truth, is a very pessimistic place lately… people just don’t have hope, or the belief that good happens, and just as much as bad does…
There was bitching about the government and the ‘system’ in general. There was verdict passed that “nothing in life is possible if we don’t have money”. There was negativity, and cross talking, and though most of the times these were suppressed, they kept happening. As we started warming to each other, it declined a lot. But its doubtful if this wont just repeat if I try the ConClub again some time…
My first day at school was pretty bad too. But that perhaps is another tale. The Indian education system is a peculiar arrangement, that is difficult to blog about.. it’s something you have to accept, and blogging is about exploring, not accepting.
So my first day at two much looked forward to places has been pretty horrible, in plain terms… And though I necessarily have to go back to school, do I have enough patience to try the ConClub again? I hope so, otherwise, I am ending something on a pessimistic note myself. Bad idea.