If you haven’t read it, please read part I.
We finally made our way to the college DN needed to be at, to take his exam. The driver parked the car a little ahead of the line of cars and got out. The passenger left as well. DN and I sat there while he took out his lunch. “I brought us some lunch,” he said. I was excited! 😀 He unfolded a newspaper over our laps, opened a container and handed me a spoon. “Is it okay if we eat from the same container?” he asked. “Of course.” I responded, smiling. I looked down at the container. Rice. I could see some spices and other goodies mixed in. He gestured at the food. “Oh…” I said, shyly, and scooped some rice with my spoon. I took a bite, but definitely spilled a little on myself. I giggled, frustrated with myself. ‘Great,‘ I thought. DN smiled and shook his head, “It’s okay.”
The rice was very good, and so full of flavor. This Indian food… I’ll never grow tired of it.
As we sat there together, eating, Yo Yo Honey Singh (a famous Indian R&B / HipHop singer) was playing in the background. In the midst of his Hindi lyrics, came the English lyrics: “You are very beautiful.” I cracked a smile, looking down at the food. DN saw me smiling. “He is right, you know,” he said. My smile grew bigger. “You are very beautiful.” When my blush faded, we continued eating. I asked, “Do either one of them speak English?” He shook his head and laughed. “No.” We both laughed. “Oh boy,” I said, feeling a little worried. He replied with, “Don’t worry. They can understand basic phrases like, ‘I am hungry’ and ‘food’.” I smiled. That’s nice. So I won’t starve. Even though I just ate. 😀 “It’s okay,” I said. “I don’t think there will be a problem. I can also pull out my Hindi book and use it to help me speak to them in Hindi.” We both laughed. “How long is your test?” I asked. “Three hours,” he replied. I wondered how I would be passing the time. “Don’t worry,” he assured me. “I will instruct them. I will tell them how to take care of you.”
We finished and he put the rest of the rice away. His cousin and the other man returned, taking their places in the front seats. DN gathered his papers from his backpack and got out of the car. He offered them food, but they declined. I could hear him giving them some sort of instructions, through the passenger window. DN turned to leave and our eyes met. I waved at him. “Good luck!” He smiled and went on his way. The driver started the car and off we went!
We were driving for about 5 minutes, the two men in the front talking amongst themselves, before DN’s cousin asked me: “Cold drinks?” I smiled. I thought it was definitely very cool that he could offer we get something cold to drink, most likely soda, in English. “Oh yes!” I replied, excited. We drove for a few more minutes, until we reached what looked like a restaurant area. Both of the men got out of the car. I was a bit confused, and didn’t know the protocol, so I stayed in the car. It was hot, and I realized the car was off. My window was automatic, so I wasn’t able to roll it down, or so I thought. I sat there, melting for a few minutes, before DN’s cousin opened my door, surprising me. He handed me a bag of chips, a Mountain Dew and some cups. “Cold drinks?” He said again, smiling. “Awesome, thank you.” I said, smiling. He opened the driver door, adjusted something, and then reached over and rolled my window down a bit. “Window roll,” he said. “Oh, good.” I said. He locked my door and pointed at DN’s door. “Lock…”
I reached over and locked it, and he shut my door. He leaned down to talk through the window. “Chicken? Mutton?” I was still full, but it was a nice thought. “No,” I said politely. “No thank you.”
DN’s cousin went back the restaurant area and I cracked open the Mountain Dew. WOW. I hadn’t had soda in such a long time! It was cold and very refreshing. The breeze from the window felt nice as well. I just kinda watched people walk by, sipping on Mountain Dew. I didn’t open the chips though. I was still full from lunch with DN. After a while, DN’s cousin and the passenger came back. They got in the car and offered me 7Up. I politely declined, and we drove around for a while, before making it back to the college.
They parked at the very back of the line of cars, and we sat in shade. Both of the men took naps. I had my window cracked, teaching myself to read Hindi. I switched back and forth between the Devanagari and the transliteration until I memorized the letters. I’d flip to another section of my Hindi book to challenge myself to read something unfamiliar. This went on for about an hour and a half. As I sat quietly, reading, students began to slowly exit the building. I didn’t bother looking up as they passed the car. The passenger nudged DN’s cousin, who woke up and asked me to roll my window up. I’m guessing this was to keep people from bothering me. Some boys did stop and stare. A man who was on the opposite side of the street stopped what he was doing to stare at me, quite possibly for an hour. I glanced up and shook my head, with a laugh. I went back to reading.
At one point, DN’s cousin woke up and called everyone in his phone. At least, that’s what it seemed like. I was listening, because I was tired of reading Hindi. I heard sprinkles of English. “American”, “drive”, “bro”, and he mentioned “Lucknow”. Only thirty minutes left. I plugged my headphones into my iPod and started listening to music. The driver looked at me, and started talking to the passenger about me. I heard the word “iPod”. I smiled to myself. I absolutely love it when people think I can’t understand… Especially when they use English words.
Students started pouring out, when I heard my phone ring. It was DN. He asked me where we were. I tried explaining, but when I realized I was failing, I handed the phone to DN’s cousin.
Soon, DN was back in the car and we were on our way.