Last week, I went for hair trimming. As usual, I looked for the cheapest barber shop in Munich. Where else but in immigrant ghettos, you would expect to find such shops. I found one that charges only 11 Euros. 🙂
My hair was cut by an ultra chatty, northern-Iraqi but not Kurdish, and US-lived girl. For an Indian PhD student somewhere in Germany, it looks like a jackpot. She begun her conversation by asking me what I am doing in Munich and why I don’t speak German. I explained her that my job does not require it. Then, she went on telling me that she had hard time finding a job until she learned German.
She first told me that she is from States. I usually say on this that I have never heard of such a country and watch annoyance on the other person’s face and I did so :). She did not sound at all like an American. No offense to the Americans but her speaking style was too sweet to be American. She then told me that she is from northern Iraq. Then my eyes went bright and I asked, “Kurdish!” I wanted to ask all kinds of questions about Kurdish nationalism.
But, she said, “No! I am from northern Iraq but I am an Iraqi Christen.”
I asked with some disappointment, “No! Kurdish connection.”
“No! They speak different language.”
“How come you end up in US?”
“My parents left Iraq just after first gulf war and I went to US in late nineties.”
“Why are you in Germany?”
“OK! do you follow what goes on in Iraq?”
“No! And I don’t wanna hear about it. I have stopped reading news. It is very depressing. Do not tell me anything. When I left Iraq it was nice. But now, each time my parents talk about Iraq then it is a bad news.”
I thought what?? late nineties nice?? At that time, embargo on Iraq was in its height. There was shortage of everything. May be, she was a teenager in a middle class family and she didn’t really feel the pain of embargo.
Then I said, “Ok! I will not bring any painful memories. I had an Indian friend. She was in Iraq during 91 war and her family had to be evacuated then.”
She immediately asked “Was her father a doctor?”
“I don’t know. Why?”
“All Indians whom I knew in US were doctors.”
“Well! not all Indians are doctors. For example, I am not a doctor.”
Then, she told me that she love Bollywood movies. She likes to watch them and cry. Sometimes she doesn’t get subtitles but that doesn’t matter. For crying, intense emotional visuals and music are enough. She mentioned two of her favorite movies “Kabhi khushi Kabhi gum” and “Main hun Na”. I hate both of them from bottom of my heart.
Before I could express my anger against these movies, she had finished my hair cut. I wished best of luck for Iraq, paid the bill, and left.