Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass ...
Its about learning to dance in the rain!!!
There are many things in life that will catch your eye
but only a few will catch your heart... Pursue those

This is my small effort to make you smile for a while...






Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Memorie da Italia


Handing over a box of chocolate and exchanging a warm hug, Ajji said “Arrivederci, tutto il meglio. Ritonare in Italia” I replied back saying “Ajji, Banni namma India ge” for which she promptly smiled and told “Si Si, Io amo l'India”. 

This was a heartfelt conversation between us without understanding what either spoke, until I made an effort to type it out on translator to find the meaning of those words of the wonderful Italian lady. “Ajji” means grandma in Kannada, this was how I addressed this beautiful elderly Italian lady. She and her family managed the hotel which was my abode all through my vacation in Italy.

I had accepted to all the terms and conditions such as no chance of going out in the evening, no cribbing about being bored at hotel, no pinging hubby at work as this was a hectic onsite assignment for him. But who cares! It is ITALY, my dream destination! So I instantly accepted all these for Italy and here I was in Pescara. Pescara is a silent, small and beautiful Italian country side which had one good hotel - Hotel Dragonara. The hotel was managed by a family, of this Old lady, whom I called “Ajji”. 

My Italian vacation had started and I had plans to walk around Pescara to enjoy the snow clad mountains on one side and calm seas on the other. What could be more fun than to explore the roads less taken in this small Italian town? Cuddling in my warm Jacket, as I stepped out of the hotel, an old lady peeped out from kitchen and shouted “tenere al caldo,divertirsi, godere”.  I was very confused and wondered if something was wrong. Sensing my confused state, she smiled waving her hand.  Assuming that to be a good bye message I continued on my exploration.  On return I decided to meet and ask her name. She just blushed saying “No inglese”. I was again left with no option other than to smile back to her and return to my room.
The whole episode of this beautiful old lady being so friendly and nice, pushed me to recollect all those words which I later translated on net and there I was very touched. As I had started out, she had told me “Keep warm, have fun, enjoy” and when I had asked her name she had replied “No English” meaning she didn’t understand English. I couldn’t stop admiring the way some people treat their guests without any inhibitions. At that very moment the notion of language and its importance was washed away as I realized in order to build relationship, to be friendly, to express warmth and care, we only need the willingness to do so and not proficiency in language. 

From that day onwards, it became my routine to speak to her. She spoke to me endlessly in Italian at times pointing to the plants and sometimes pointing to her grand children. I understood that it was probably to do with all the things she pointed and kept responding to her in Kannada, which is my mother tongue. It hardly made any difference to her whether I spoke in English or Kannada, but it gave me great satisfaction of speaking in my mother tongue in a foreign land.  I tried asking her name in broken Italian words picked up from Internet but hardly could I understand her fast flowing Italian and so I could not get her name all through my stay there.  It hardly mattered as I loved to address her as “Ajji”(Grandma), which she never understood anyway. 

The day I checked out of the hotel, Ajji came to me, handing over a box of chocolate hugged me tight and told me “Goodbye, All the best. Come back to Italy” for which I replied “Ajji, come to India”. As she understood only the word “India”, she replied “Yes Yes, I Love India”. Somehow, finally the conversation did have some meaning which was only understood much later. 

When I had boarded the flight to Italy, I assumed that on my return, if someone mentions the country Italy to me, I will be remembering magnificent Coloseum or enchanting Pantheon or beautiful Trevi or may be romantic Venice. Surprisingly, even today before all these flashes in my mind, I remember the warm hug, care and love of my host, Ajji.

I boarded the flight back to India holding that box of chocolate which according to me was the Memorie da Italia for it held all the priceless memories of our Italian – Kannada conversations, her care and her beautiful smile.

I understood that any place is memorable more for the experiences there than for what it is actually known. So folks, next time on your vacation be open for such experience which will remain with you forever because the best things will surely not be mentioned in your itinerary.

PS:  Hi, will be away to make more such memories ;). So wait for me to come back from vacation and bore you again with my stories :D.

24 comments:

SuKupedia ™ :) :) said...

When I go to Italy i am also going to talk in malayalam :P :P

On a serious note, language is really not a barrier when it comes to forming a relationship :) :) loved the way you narrated it :)

Rahul Bhatia said...

A beautiful narrative Ramya and the likes attract when it comes to humans:) No wonder someone with a heart of gold had to meet 'Ajjai'and am sure in your next trip you will come across more of such people! Have a lovely trip and will wait to read more such encounters of the close kind!!

Ramya said...

@SuKu: hey :D hahaha sure feel free to talk to me in Malayalam as well, in case you want to scold me make sure you smile when you do so ;).

Thanks dear for all the appreciation and encouragement.

Ramya said...

@Rahul Bhatia: Thanks a lot Rahul sir for the encouragement and Support you give. hahah yeah I too hope to make more memories :D

Hari said...

"ಎದೆಯ ಭಾವ ಹೊಮ್ಮುವುದಕೆ ಭಾಷೆ ಒಂದು ಸಾಧನ"
-ಜಿ. ಎಸ್. ಶಿವರುದ್ರಪ್ಪ
So, language is never a barrier when hearts are speaking.
Very tocuching one :-)

Harish

Valay said...

Molto bello... :)

Santhoshkumar LM said...

molto buono. continuare a scrivere in questo modo :-)

Ramya said...

@Hari: Wah yeshtu perfect you quoted!
Yes there is no barrier for a good relationship :) Thanks a lot for your encouragement

@Valay and Santhosh :D hahah wow GRAZIE :D

Nuthan said...

that's a nice, cherishing anecdote...
..language is not a barrier for making wonderful memories and relationships.
you are right... those little bags of surprises will never be in the itinerary ; )
We had a similar experience in Italy, especially in Rome, when we were lost for directions, though we had maps. People around were trying to be so helpful and friendly and some even walked along to show the directions(because they couldn't speak and explain).
We were just tourists.. lucky you, to get a chance to live there as a resident for a few weeks : )
Loved those outstanding Italian coffee's served in the coffee bars..awesome coffee beans and coffee making skills!!

Nuthan said...

oh btw.. enjoy ur planned trip.. where-ever you're going have fun and bring back loads of things to share from the memory lane..!!

Binu Thomas said...

So, Italian job was the reason of your absence! Enjoy. See ya soon..

gopinath said...

Will wait for your new blog about new memories. I just came back from a week long trip of langkawi and Penang in Malaysia. It was a wonderful trip.

Ramya said...

@Nuthan: thanks for sharing that nice incident :D and yes even we faced the same thing and it was very very nice moment for us too in Rome.

just Today I am back from my vacation in Sri Lanka. :D so wait for next update :D.

Ramya said...


@Binu: what absence??? this is an old story :D my this absence is another vacation :D wait for the update of that :D Thanks for coming back to read.

Ramya said...

@Gopinath: oh very nice. post a blog about your trip.

Nuthan said...

Ohhh Sri Lanka ??? wow !!
that must be exciting .. lanke ge benki hachhi bandhra ;) just kidding : )

Ramya said...

@Nuthan hahaha houdu houdu ;) Lankege harida hanumantha :D

Prashanth said...

Very well written Ramya and yes, your story proves that to understand another person, what one needs is just a expression and not any words in any specific language...:)

Chanagi narrate madidya, I could imagine the scenes between you and the beautiful Ajji..:)

Ramya said...

@Prashanth: ah I am very happy that I managed to tingle your imaginations :D yes that was the message I wanted to communicate :D Thanks a lot for all your encouragement :D

Ashwini C N said...

Oh wow. It's so nice to have such wonderful memories on a wonderful trip. I've noticed from what people have said that when someone learns you are a foreigner (even Indians) they make sure they can help you in whatever way they can. :-)

Pudukkottaian said...

Ram,

Excellent articulation of your experience. Wonderful. You have great command over the language and its nuances.. Keep writing... Love your style of writing. I am expecting some thing on your SL visit as well...

Ramya said...

@Ashwini: Thanks a lot for dropping by dear :D yeah you are right people are actually nice to their guests "Athithi Devo Bhava" must be there everywhere!

@Puddukottain: Hello Welcome to Chittrana, Thanks for all the compliments and yes surely I will post about Lanka soon :D

KParthasarathi said...

That was an excellent piece.
Sometimes communication need not be in words.The eyes,hands and the hearts convey more.How many days were you in Italy?

Ramya said...

@KP: thanks a lot for your encouragement :D I stayed there for 2 weeks. and it is one of the most memorable vacations.