After passing out of college, my good friend Sinha immediately came to Bangalore. As the market was tight that time, so most of us had to struggle a bit for our first job. Initially we found Bangalore quite horrible place to live in. In order to rent a house, tenants required to pay 10 month’s rent in advance and the cruel tradition is still being followed. WTF? As miserable job seekers, we didn’t have any other option but to stay at a hostel. Food was really the major challenge for me and it was quite overpriced, but the Andhra Mess made many of our life smoother to some extent. Sinha was quite fortunate enough, as his elder brother was working in Bangalore that time and he used to stay with him.
It seemed Sinha’s landlord was an extraordinarily distinguished kind of character. He was extremely dark, little short and absolutely round shaped. He always looked serious, especially with his tenants and used to smile only on special occasions. Whenever Sinha used to encounter his landlord, the picture of a Rhino used to come to his mind. He stayed at a different place and usually used to visit all his tenants on the 1st of every month. Well you guessed it right, to collect the house rents and he had 4-5 tenants at that place. But sometimes, very rarely though, he also used to give odd kind of visits to the territory, possibly because of some maintenance issue. He couldn’t speak or understand English and his knowledge in Hindi was extremely adorable and on top of that, his Hindi pronunciation was very entertaining. Whenever he used to go to collect rent, he would usually sit on a chair and quite lazily used to count the money. As soon as he finished counting the money, he used to repeat the process for few more times. In the meantime, Sinha constantly used to stare at his face, as if he expected something out of it. A little later, Sinha used to see a very charming and extremely satisfying smile on the landlord's face. He would be very happy that moment and before leaving, he usually would say in his broken Hindi "if you have any problem just inform me"
One morning after breakfast, Sinha was standing at the front door and all of a sudden he encountered the Rhino. Sinha was confused and wondered why the landlord came almost a week earlier to collect his rent? The landlord must have liked Sinha, as he had a smile on his face and asked him “Kya Samachar hai? What the news?”
Sinha was little confused and thought he might have asked about cricket score, as some cricket tournament was going on that time. He replied "actually I don’t watch much cricket. What else news you want to know?"
The smile immediately disappeared from the landlord's face and he looked quite serious and confused. Later Sinha realized that it was his usual way to greet "Hello, how are you?"
The landlord immediately changed the topic and asked "Gaon ko kab jata? When you would go to village?"
Sinha again got confused and replied "Kaun sa gaon? Which village? Actually my home is not at a village. Even though it’s not like Bangalore, but it’s definitely not a village, it’s a big town"
That moment the landlord was exceedingly confused and said to Sinha "OK OK, Bye" and immediately left from there.
Sinha later realized that Gaon is actually quite a common term and doesn't necessarily mean a Village. Quite often it’s used as a synonym for someone’s native place. Even if any tenant could be from heart of Mumbai, someone could still ask him "Gaon ko kab jata?"