Nostalgia comes to all of us in various forms. A place visited, something you ate years back, a school reunion, a song. And then, something as cringe-worthy as hearing someone blow her nose.
When I set foot in France, the weather was just transitioning from autumn to winter. Could it be the climate change or could it just be that the French (or westerners to generalize) use a lot more tissues in their daily lives than Indians? Right from cleaning a food stain to wiping sweat to more intimate (t)issues that may not be worth detailing. All said, tissues are finding increased usage in India too – however, growing up (the 80’s generation and before) we have seen a lot more hankies, towels and water being used for all of the above mentioned!
So my initial reaction to hearing tram passengers in Strasbourg blow their nose vigorously for a good 2 minutes was one of horror. I mean, yes I know something is bothering you, nice pretty woman – but why be so loud and open about it? And before I knew, the elderly gentleman next to me was also blowing his nose. And another one. In a few days, horror gave way to amusement, and among other things, I self-entertained my daily commute by listening to different tones, rhythms & intensities.
Now comes the embarrassing part, but it becomes imperative that I am honest here. You know that saying “When in rome….” – well, a few weeks down the line and I was one of them. Painting a not-so-pretty rouge picture of my round nose like just every one of ’em. Blame it on the icy weather, I say!
Anyway that runny-nose phase has gone past. Two days ago, the newly-joined French intern at work blows her nose. Just like the way they all do. And I once did. And strangely enough, I stopped what I was doing, looked at her and smiled, a sense of déjà vu totally enveloping me.
Strange, this nostalgia.