Rendezvous with the Chinese
The Panchsheel Agreement was signed between India and China in 1954. This agreement stated the five prinaciples as:
1. Mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty,
2. Mutual non-aggression,
3. Mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs,
4. Equality and mutual benefit, and
5. Peaceful co-existence.
It was around this time that the slogan “Hindi Chini Bhai-Bhai” came up to encourage peace amongst the two nations. Fifty seven years after the agreement, I got a chance to interact with the Chini Bhai’s. Here is the experience shared...
I was definitely nervous entering that room- setting the projector and making some other arrangements for a presentation that I was to conduct. The nervousness was more because the audience was Chinese. I had never interacted with a foreigner before so closely.
I was having a glass of water when a Chinese entered in- he was the Team Leader. I smiled and greeted him. He replied with a brilliant smile only to make his so-small-eyes even smaller! I told my name atleast 6 times before he could understand it. To avoid me asking his name 10-15 times the Chinese Team decided to have an English pet name. All of them had an English alias like Zorro, Colin etc. Some aliases were as funny and unbelievable as ‘Carrot’. The Team Leader was followed by 6 more men having so-small-eyes.
The presentation started and went on smoothly until one of them asked me a question. He interrupted me and asked in such an accent that I did not understand anything. A foreigner never before asked me more than an address of a place in Mumbai. I asked him to repeat the question and luckily for me this time the Team Leader repeated the question. I don’t know why and how but I understood the Team Leader’s accent better than his Team members’. As the presentation went on I realised that they all had a very very very strong Chinese accent (obviously)! They spoke very loudly, asked many questions and smiled brilliantly...