Vantage point

Monday, October 04, 2004

Close encounters of the dumb kind

This is a conversation that actually happened last week. It is not part of a Rajk short story.

It all started when a rickshaw drove up to me just as I was about to enter my office building in Bandra Kurla Complex. A guy in his late 20s was sitting in the back and the rickshawwallah was looking very hassled. This is how the conversation went -

Guy: Excuse me, could you tell me where the Bombay Stock Exchange in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) is?
Me: You mean National Stock Exchange.
Guy: No no, Bombay Stock Exchange....BSE.
Me: BSE is not in BKC. The National Stock Exchange is that building (pointing to the green NSE building).
Guy: Come on yaar, haven't you seen the BSE building on TV? That is not it. That building is green.
Me: I know what BSE looks like. BSE is about 10 km from here. In BKC, the only stock exchange is the NSE.
Guy: No, no, I want to go to the BSE in BKC.
Rickshawwallah: Saahab, maine aapko bola tha na, BKC mein national stock exchange hai.
Guy: Yaar, I have seen the building on TV.

Me and the rickshawwallah exchange pained glances. Then i make an attempt to clarify things.

Me: See, the BSE is at Fort, near Churchgate. The building you have seen on TV is there. In BKC, you only have the NSE. Its building is green.
Guy: OK...NSE means NIFTY, right?
Me: Yes, the NSE's index is called Nifty
Guy: But isn't the NIFTY in Delhi?
Me: What?
Guy: Yes, the NIFTY is in Delhi and the SENSEX is in Mumbai.
Me: No, no, both are in Mumbai.
Guy: Then there is BSE?
Me: Near Churchgate.
Guy: But BSE is in BKC.
Guy: Ok, Ok, no need to shout. So should I tell this auto-wallah to take me to BSE?
Me: He can't. You'll have to take a taxi.
Guy: What? Why?
Me: Because autos are not allowed to go there.
Guy: Ohhhh, so that's why he hasn;t taken me to BSE in BKC
Me: There is no BSE in BKC. BSE is at Fort. Auto-rickshaws are not allowed to go there. You can only take a taxi.

At this point the guy eyed me suspiciously, then said to the rickshawwallah "Let's ask someone else. This guy doesn't know what he is talking about."

We should all be allowed one murder.