An incident that happened yesterday has me upset and seething.
I was in the bus with a couple of Indian friends of mine, one of whom was seated between a person who I later realized had some form of mental disability and his lady friend.
My friend said something to me in Hindi and I replied. Then, in the corner of my eye, I saw the guy smile at me so I smiled back (till this point I hadn't realized he had a disability). And that's when his friend took off on me and my friend - she accused us of making fun of her friend in "our own language", saying it was so obvious the way I looked at him and rolled my eyes (which I didn't) that we were laughing at his expense!
There are two sides to this - one that while in a foreign country we should avoid speaking in Hindi (or a language that people around us don't understand) in public places, which I try and do as much as I can. But there's the other voice in me that says I have the liberty to speak in my mother tongue if I wish to, and no one should have the right to question me or accuse me of something based on a conversation they don't understand.
Since the incident I've been trying to give the woman the benefit of doubt - she's probably defensive about her friend all the time. But I still think she was out of line accusing us of something she couldn't have been sure of.
I was too stunned to react then, and when I gathered my wits I tried explaining to her that we weren't talking about her friend and rolling our eyes. But now that I think about it, I should probably have given her a piece of my mind.
Does this incident reek of racism, do you think?