It was my first time travel to Europe and more so to fashion and cultural hub, Paris. As usual a lot of my friends had given me a cautious warning about the thugs and petty thief prevalent in Paris, more so you are all alone there…
“Be careful about your passport and money”
Oh boy!! I was almost clutching and checking on my pockets for my passport and purse the moment I landed at CDG airport. Felt being foolish and stupid doing that… Anyway, the tape recorded had started playing and I was dancing to its tune. I found out about the metro and got in. The moment I sat down, it seemed everyone was waiting to snatch my little money and the passport. As the train chugged along, I was distracted by the beauty of the nature outside and i stopped playing the record. But with every stop, it would come back.. “Do you see that white guy looking like a thug?? That black guy, that asian.. oh boy!!”..
As the train stopped at “Gard du Nord”, I stepped out with my luggage and tried to talk to someone, who outright said, “No English” and I lost in French translation.. blinking.. Someone, spoke to the cops and made my way out of the station. As I stepped out, I felt I was back in India, with the litter and beggars stretched out. I held my luggage tighter after zipping up my jacket… I even avoided making an eye contact with any one, till I realised that my GPS was out and what worked was only the map that I had printed out with the route.. But, “Which is north and east, the paper could not move like a compass”.. Grr, Sid… take hold of yourself and ask!!” That seemed to have woken me up somewhere, and I started asking every passerby… after some five attempts one guy seemed to know english and he helped me… I literally started running through the deserted lanes… the words kept coming back again… “Your PASSPORT, your MONEY”… After running for close to 1 1/2 kms, I reached the nearby metro close to the hotel I was to check in. And that place was swarming with people who were trying to sell cigarettes to things that seemed inappropriate.. Couple of them approached and I ran as if I was on a mission of being invisible and not to be traced.
Well somehow I managed to reach my hotel and once in the room, took stock of what had happened and why?? That late evening I again stepped out and just wandered around the streets. Realised that
- I was over-reacting. Yes I needed to be guarded but not to the extent of panicking. I was asking for more trouble.
- I lost out on enjoying the space around me and the beauty of the place. I had some moroccan food that evening that I did not even notice.
- While returning back, I realised how beautiful Gard du Nord station was. I paused and took some pics, soaked in the beauty and walked towards my train to CDG..
- I have a choice of saying no, taking action rather than playing simply to the tune of my head, which seems looking for trouble rather than looking for some beauty around.
I must say that, I really learnt the choice that day and it helped me in the next few days that I stayed and roamed around the place.. It is amazing!!! more was the Choice of clearing the scare… that is more perception driven than reality.