Why do people think Bengaluru sucks

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This is about love. And from climate change. And so on. So in all seriousness about love in times of climate change.

The following: If you come to Bangalore, India, you will be shocked by the infernal noise, by the filth and honking, by the indefinable stench and turmoil, by the feeling of being totally uprooted, you are in the most inhospitable and broken place ever, and all of this is completely new to you, or, and the hotel first.

To the hotel later.

Now escape from the hotel and into the street, what else can you do? It's an Indian hotel, it's night, the streets are dark, the indefinable stench almost kills you, that's the absolute inhospitableness of this place as if you were on another planet, you feel downright sick.

Asks you that in perfect English.

And you explain it to her.

To which she replies that she definitely does not want to be photographed because she is not wearing a sari.

And you should, tell yourself, damn it, get it! This whole place is absolutely incomprehensible to you, so you delete this photo, say goodbye to the woman and leave.

You get to a temple on the edge of the slum, where the slum turns into a slum, and on your way back you come back through the slum, where no one is attacking, robbing, raping, killing you, it's midnight but the streets are full of people The glow of the fires blazing on the asphalt, smoking in ditches or holes of some kind, and from these fires these people smile at you.

It is that poisonous, pervasive stench of fires everywhere that makes you sick.

And before you left for India, you read in your Lonely Planet and also on wikipedia.org, so all over the internet you were told what you should definitely avoid, these are the slums.

Here on this street in Bangalore, in the light of these fires, you long for your hotel and return there - although you know that it is completely pointless.


You have 3 days in this hotel before the conference starts.

As soon as you step in, you want to leave it again, right away.

Just where?

You think: Against the background of the monotony of this hotel, the broken, the inhospitable and the dirt beyond the walls of this hotel are not so dirty, so inhospitable, so broken, and immediately afterwards you are frightened by the thought.



And you, the 1st thing you do in the hotel is check that the windows can be opened, but no, the window frame has hinges and bolts but no latch, so you go to the hotel reception and tell them to help you should provide a window handle, because under no circumstances will you stay in a room in which the window cannot be opened.

What ?, you will be asked at the reception.

You lived in Australia for 7 years, so it is your Australian-Queensland-accented English, which you still haven't mastered to this day, and now you don't seem to be understood.

They say you want to turn off the air conditioning in your room and open the window.

As the Lord wish.

And from ear to ear, all over their black face, these people beam at you.

Besides: Who would open their window in Bangalore, India? And: Who in Bangalore, India, where there are only exhaust fumes and dust and noise, would switch off their air conditioning and open the window?

And these people speak fluent English with the most beautiful accents, have black faces and white teeth and beam you from ear to ear, and you answer with your vulgar gibberish, 7 years you lived in Australia and 3 years in Norway, you have this You have traveled all over the world, but you have never been to India, and these people here have never got out of Bangalore, India, so do you think their English belongs to the classical Indian education ...? And you ask for a window handle.

And these people are beaming at you.

And you're cruelly miserable and you can't even think of smiling back, and these people go back to your room and turn off the air conditioner and open the window and press the handle in your hand and you find the window open The wall of the neighboring house is filthy and crumbling and moldy and covered with pigeon droppings, and the traffic noise from the street opposite echoes off it, and the house wall is only half a meter away, so you could touch it.

And as if you were no longer staring at a slammed house wall, but in a mirror, this is exactly how you smile at your hosts for the first time.

And they say that you are their guest, as the Lord wishes, and also that the window handle - although the only one in the whole hotel - is now yours, and thank you very much. And you shine back all over your face.

Most of all, you want nothing more than that these people finally disappear.

And they disappear, but even before that they beam at you, and you notice that they are really serious about their beam.

But you still don't.

The first night in the hotel you stay awake, because the units for all the hotel's air conditioning systems are installed under the window of your room, and at night guests come home and switch their air conditioning systems on, and the historical units under your window roar until they even go drown out the street noise and you are the only guest in the whole hotel to turn off your air conditioning. Which doesn't help you either. You tell yourself how wonderful the street noise was, if only I could hear it, and you almost long for it.

As before, however, and still - although your room is literally shaking from the roar of the air conditioning units, which is reinforced by the echo through the wall of the neighboring house, which is crumbling and moldy and shit and in front of your window, you say to yourself, looms as if you were walled in here - so you still can't manage to close your window and turn on the air conditioner.

You still know how it was in Gothenburg in this hotel with a room without a window. And like in Edmonton, Canada, in this room without a window. And like in Tokyo in this room without a window. And like in Cambridge, in Oslo, in Bergen, Rockhampton, Sydney and Copenhagen, where you only ever had a piece of room wall glazed, and everywhere you sat in pubs and bars and dreaded the moment when the last bar was opened , shut the last bar and you have to go back to your hotel for a windowless night with just a piece of glazed wall, and you tested the strength of that glass by knocking, kicking and throwing yourself against it, and you wanted that Turn off the air conditioning, but without a switch, because you have the acute, even panicked need for open space, which you were told about in some stupid hospital, about which you read on some stupid Wikipedia page, that it was a very common one Claustrophobia.

And now in Bangalore, India, to curb that unbearable feeling of being uprooted and unhappy that comes in through the open window with the roar of air conditioning units, close the window and turn on the air conditioning.

What you can endure <1 min.

You turn off the air conditioning and open the window.

And the feeling of being uprooted and inhospitable comes over you; Never in your entire life have you felt so powerless and lost, traveled the world and long lost the habit of having a home, family or friends, and yet, now in Bangalore, India, you are worse than the first time, when you were without a home, without family and without friends, here you sit on your bed wondering - for the first time in your life - how you left your family in Australia for Chile to go what was five years ago and then lie awake all night.


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When you leave the library you just can't help but look around again. The walls of the library are glass from top to bottom, and inside you can still see them standing, you walked as fast as if a fire had broken out behind you, and now you are marching with long, demanding strides across the campus lawn, breathing and breathe and breathe, and it seems to you that the air tastes sweet, and you have to remember that the colleague from your faculty who said that your son's first word was not papa, but an idiot, so that colleague also still said that you were a bully, because just the day before yesterday, immediately before your departure for India, after you came across a refrigerator in the corridor next to your office door, you walked straight to the next office without thinking, where you yelped angrily: Me the noise from your fridge that you dragged out into the corridor is annoying, make sure that it comes away again immediately! What do you even imagine ...? And the colleague who concentrated on his work in this office first flinches and then asks you: What noise do you mean exactly ...? To her: The noise from your refrigerator; and your colleague gets up, accompanies you out into the corridor and asks: The noise from this refrigerator here ...? while pointing at the refrigerator. And you say: Exactly; and your colleague says: This refrigerator is as quiet as a mouse; and, although a while ago you found the noise of the refrigerator to be so loud that you could no longer concentrate on your work in your office, you say: This is a quiet, but extremely annoying noise, and that's not just it my personal impression, but also hygiene standards classify harmful noise as loud or annoying, and this one is annoying; and your colleague says: No, the noise here is neither loud nor annoying, because it is not there at all. You can't hear this fridge here. We stand right in front of it and I don't hear a thing; Then you: Okay, but this noise is unpleasant, because it spreads over the entire corridor; then your colleague: No, this noise is not even unpleasant. Because it doesn't even exist. And then you are at a loss for words, because suddenly you can no longer hear the refrigerator yourself, even though you are standing directly in front of it, and your colleague says goodbye and leaves, and you return to your office and sit down at the computer, and at that moment you listen You can clearly hear the noise of the refrigerator in the hallway and wonder whether this noise is there or not ... You don't know; and when you return to your office that same afternoon and find a box on your table, you run out into the corridor without thinking and into the next-door office and bark angrily at your colleague: What are you allowing yourself to be in my office to put a box on my table ...? And your colleague winces, is rigid with shock and finally asks: What kind of box ...? Then she was furious: Well, the box on my table; then your colleague: I wasn't in your office at all. And there you stand then, gasping for breath and saying: My goodness, sorry, I thought that was your box; then your colleague: No problem; and you can see very clearly that this is a problem and that it simply shakes her as she diligently leans over her desk, both hands on the keyboard, and convulsively until you leave her office again, looking for something on her monitor to finally burst into tears; And just the day before yesterday you went mad at the student assistant from the neighboring office, who was on the phone in the corridor, saying that this noise annoys you, and the student asks: What kind of noise, there you go ...?, pretending to be uncomprehending whereupon you make it clear to her: You are yelling into your phone here in the corridor; and she apologizes and clears the field, and you immediately realize that this girl was just talking normally on the phone without even raising her voice, let alone yelling, and you run after her head over heels and apologize, and she steps back in surprise, the phone still to her ear and now with an uncomprehending, slightly disgusted expression on her face ... Yes - - and the next day you are called to the office of the dean, who knows you from your time before Norway and Australia She says: Listen, I don't know what happened to you after you returned from Australia, and I really appreciate your work, but you do seem a bit paranoid, several faculty members have already said that, so how about if you go to a psychologist ...? And then you: Should I - - and on the way back to your own office tell yourself that you are anything but paranoid, but that you simply hear and see things that the dean does not hear or see, and while doing so have you known him for 20 years, and immediately afterwards you ask yourself what it would be like if things were really different and you were paranoid and the dean was right and you hear and see things that don't even exist ...? And this question wakes you up at four in the morning, when there is no more night or day, because you have had some kind of heart problem since you returned from Australia, and now your heartbeat, which is heavy and painful, wakes you up, you almost jump out of it Bed, because your heart almost bursts and you are scared to death because that, according to your silent scream, destroys the strongest heart! And you try to somehow stop it and you find that you don't know how, let alone where to start, and you burst into tears from fainting about the body you are - even though it is like you Say yourself belongs to you - that is, which you not only have neither physical nor psychological control, but which you do not know at all, and you are desperate and scared to death about your own body because you do not know what it is, and out of the blue you realize that your body and mind are completely alien to you, that you know nothing about it, absolutely nothing, and yet this body is yours, and you have traveled the whole world and lived abroad for 9 years, but what good is it Is that for you now, when you burst into tears in your own bed after your return from sheer desperation and fear ...? And you get up and make yourself a coffee, and the very next day, when your colleague from the office across the street turns on music that you hear across the corridor to your own office, you run out of your office without hesitation, without thinking into her office and sniff at her: Turn it off immediately, I can't concentrate that way, I can't work that way ...! And she flinches - you scared her, because she's sitting with her back to the door and you can get in without knocking - so she flinches and turns off her music without a word, doesn't even turn around, and you're on your heel Turn around without saying a word, leave your office and go into your own and sit down and hear that silence, and in that moment you realize that your behavior was inappropriate and you tell yourself, out loud, that you are wrong and you get up again and walk out of your office across the corridor into your colleague's office and say: Sorry, I was wrong; and then she: I don't know who was wrong here and who was right, but I know that this is not about right. It's not the first time, so I've got used to it. Although your behavior still worries me. And you are holding five thousand in your hand that you received at the airport and you want to use it to pay, but in vain, because thousands are completely useless as a means of payment in India, because nobody can give you away, and not because they are you wants to cheat, but simply because nobody has that much change, and the Hungarian has no cash at all, not a single rupee, just his VISA and master cards, which, he says, gives him a shit, and then he laughs drunk and shakes his head, you two are standing here in the middle of Bangalore, India, which is really not a tourist city, and the Hungarian in the middle of this darkness and in the broken and inhospitable says: We're just a few more stupid, idiotic tourists, and we've traveled all over the world, but we don't give a shit - which you immediately like him.

But it won't all happen until the day after tomorrow.Because now, between all the participants of the conference here at the opening and introductory banquet, on your way from the library, you meet him first, he is a professor at the university in Vancouver, Canada, and you sit down at a table here at Outdoors on the sprinkled lawn at night. You treat yourself to a KINGFISHER. And the crescent moon in the Indian sky leans down towards you at an angle like you've never seen before.

And out of a thousand other conference participants, of all people, it is a Pole, doctor of the University of Seattle, who joins you. The Hungarian is from Canada, the Pole from the USA and you from Australia.

The conversation you are having will immediately, almost as a matter of course - the year 2009 - turn into a post-communism and emigrant conversation.

Ask yourself, I'm really an idiot, tell yourself, this woman, my colleague, this screaming stupid cow, this goat, she is right and keeps telling me that my son's first word is not Dad was but idiot; and you return to your new acquaintances, through a sea of ​​white plastic tables and plastic chairs, and you say to yourself: At least everything is white here, so I can find her better, but you can't find her, and at your table has meanwhile a Swede took a seat. And he says he thinks this is cheesy.


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And here in India, on the campus of the Indian Institute of Science, where on a distant and therefore tiny-looking stage traditional Indian dances are performed in brightly colored, but above all in shiny gold and red, over which a clear, bright white crescent is confidently placed tends, so here you are resting your head in your hands and asking yourself: What is the difference between the director of my institute, the dean, this Johansson, this Canadian, the colleagues and employees of my institute

on the one hand and me on the other hand, when as soon as I arrive here I behave like a bully in the face of a young woman I have just met and who has not done me the slightest thing, where I feel uprooted and disoriented and deeply unhappy, And I can't breathe either, and where this morning, before the phone call with my ex-wife living in Australia, I asked myself if that's what I traveled the whole world for and lived in Norway and Australia for 9 years ... ? And my last girlfriend, too, the last thing she said to me was: you know, none of that helps you, and not even that you are beautiful and educated and clever and also appear ten years younger helps you somehow , because talking to you is impossible, and certainly not living with you ...!

So you put your head in your hands and shake it.

What the Hungarian notices and what he asks if everything is okay ...?

No, you say, and: Sorry, see you later.

And you get up and go looking between the many white plastic tables and chairs that are on the campus lawn of the Indian Institute of Science just because of the conference, but in vain, but then you remember that she must be taking one of those buses that one takes brought you here, too, and you're running to the buses to wait for them there, and the only thing you can think about is that there are so many, so incredible many buses here and you could miss them, and at that moment you see them and take a step, and as soon as you have reached them you say: Please go with me for a beer tomorrow, please; and she says that yes, and: We meet tomorrow at 6 in front of your hotel; and then she turns around and walks away without saying anything.


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The Indians court you with glasses of water, but you do not drink anything for fear of infection - it is your 2nd

When they bring you your Idli, you keep telling the Indians that this is okay and that they don't all have to stand around you. And because they don't go away, snap at them.

Shout at them: What the hell do you want from me ...? Shout at them: What the hell are you staring at?

It seems to you that when everyone is around you, they want something from you.

The Indians are leaving.

It's your 2nd day in India.

And you find yourself having no idea how to eat these idli. You wanted so much to try this Idli - just not toasted bread with sweet cream butter and jam made from plastic bowls and oatmeal with it, which the Germans filled their bellies with a while ago before they left - and now, here on this one Snow-white, pure tablecloth in bowls of original Indian Idli stand in front of you, you would like to eat the whole thing with your fingers, but the Indians will follow your every single move, if only they weren't always smiling at you so amiably all over your face, you always have to remember and don't touch your food. And then, finally, you reach out your hand and you want to, finally, finally, eat, but let it stay. How you hate being watched while you eat. The head waiter comes in again, smiling amiably, and goes straight to your table, sits up in front of you and doesn't let you out of his sight; You hate him and love him at the same time, and not only that you don't yell at him, no, you don't say a single word.

And then tell him his Idli is the best breakfast you've ever had, but still, or, you haven't tried a single bite. And then you ask him how do you eat this idli ...? And the head waiter gives you a lovable smile, walks around your table, stands diagonally to the right behind you and then explains step by step how to eat Idli. Thank you.

And after breakfast there is no electricity. whereupon the Indian simply says: Karma ... And you grab his arm and do everything you can to stop him poking around in the live plug with that screwdriver. And the noise from the construction site on the roof of the neighboring house dies off in one fell swoop, because the electricity is gone. You have it now. And there is no more electricity. And nothing works in the kitchen either, but you can work now.

And the Indians keep track of every single move you make on your laptop; You would like to kill her, but no, you don't say a word.

It's your 2nd day in India.

On your 3rd, 4th, 5th day in India you will eat rava dosa, othappam and paratha for breakfast, served by the head waiter, who will not let you out of his sight while you eat.

On your 3rd day, the head waiter tells you that he wants a wristwatch and a laptop: just like the one you worked on here yesterday, in the restaurant.

On your 4th day, he tells you that his family does not live in Bangalore but elsewhere.

On your 5th day, he asks you how much he would make in a restaurant in your country?

They estimate that around 25,000 Czech crowns plus tip plus stolen goods, i.e. at least 1,000 euros, which is the equivalent of at least 80,000 rupees.

And he tells you, smiling amiably: My dream is to go there before I die.


To Europe.

And is he expected by anyone there?


So no one expects him there, you say. And further: In Europe there are 16 million people who can do exactly what he can do. Where does he want to get the money for the trip in the first place, and for whom to work there and where to live and what to eat there, by the way, in Europe there is also ice and snow, completely unknown to him here in Bangalore, India, where he would freeze to death , and when you showed this one employee of his hotel your gloves, hat and scarf, he ran away in shock, but the head waiter couldn't even run away in Europe, wherever, he wouldn't even have enough money to travel home to earn.

But you yourself, says the head waiter and beaming at you, said yesterday that you lived in Norway and in Australia too ...?

You say I was expected and wanted there because they needed me. And in order to be needed there, I have studied all my life.

On your 6th day in Bangalore, India, you hardly notice the head waiter.

You look out the restaurant window, your room window is one floor down, and from your restaurant table you can see the roof you slept with her on last night and surrounded by 16,000,000 people from Bangalore, she screamed , and she wasn't even allowed to go for a beer with you, and you can't take it any longer, get up, lean out the window and look at the spot on that sky-blue plastic sheet - you just can't, no, you just can't help yourself - where she was lying on her back last night, and if you were to climb out of that restaurant window and over there, you could still feel her warmth, her scent on this shiny plastic, and the attentive Indian head waiter won't let you out of his sight for a second He smiles all over his face and then says that your Idli, your Rava Dosa, your Uthappam, your Paratha or whatever is going to be cold, sir.

You smile at him, but you can't eat a bite, you prefer to leave for your conference because you know you'll see them there again.

But you don't see them, and when you look for them, you can't find them. First, you comb through the conference center, which is open and airy and made of open and closed concrete that must have looked old as new concrete, and which is covered in so seamlessly by the run-down and old filth, as if the run-down and the old filth were already was mixed in during construction, and you end up on the roof of the conference center, which is dazzling white in this midday sun, and divided like a labyrinth and littered with air conditioning units and conductors, antennas and other structures, and the Indian employees sit in the shadow of a wall of the conference center, who in the midday heat up here avoid work that they would only pretend in the shade below, and you, on the verge of desperation, ask them whether they have not seen them and they say that no. No. Your eyes hurt from the dazzling white midday sun, you only notice that the Indian employees of the conference center not only say no and by no means: No, sir, but that they don't even smile like the Indian hotel employees or them Indian tuk-tuk drivers or like the inhabitants of the slum (you thought they were).

You hold out until the evening and attend all the lectures not because you would be interested in them, but to see them again. Only now does it become clear to you that you don't even know her name, and you tell yourself: bloody noncommittal sex. You have already had your experience with non-binding conference sex, but now you ask yourself - and you want to chase yourself to the devil - what it brings you now that you know every detail of your body.

In the conference communication center you search through all the directories, but why ...? You have no idea what to look for.

You haven't even seen her with any of your colleagues, so you couldn't even ask them about it.

Finally, you end up disoriented in the garden of the conference center, which is paved with worn brick, dirty and covered in concrete.

You accept a dinner invitation in the evenings only to suppress your confusion and sadness that you haven't seen it at any of the lectures in the whole day, not even at lunch or one of the coffee breaks; it seems as if it has been swallowed by the earth.

And six days ago, when you photographed her in front of the entrance gate of the Alliance Française in Bangalore, India, of all 16,000,000 residents of Bangalore, India, you saw her of all people.

The conference has 1,234 participants.

And your home country, the Czech Republic, 10,000,000 inhabitants.

You go to dinner with the Hungarians and Poles and their university colleagues in two taxis, but the driver of your taxi forgets the address of the restaurant, which he hides from you, smiling all over his face and the maddening chaos of the 16 million inhabitants counting Bangalore until the Hungarian asks him what he's doing ...? to which he doesn't know the answer, just smiles all over his face, and after an hour in the taxi it dawns on you that this taxi driver is blindly searching Bangalore in order to ... ? About what actually ...? They realize that this taxi driver, although you can't look for a restaurant in Bangalore, India, just by name, he does exactly that, with a smile on his face, and the Hungarian yells: You stupid idiot! And the taxi driver is beaming and radioing his central office, which doesn't answer, and the Hungarian yells: Why, you pitch-black idiot, are you radioing your central office now ...? and while the Pole and his professor admit defeat and in it If you want to have the hotel drive back, you and the Hungarian get out here at midnight in the hotel district of Bangalore, where the taxi driver, smiling all over the place, simply leaves you standing and drives away, and there you enter the first hotel restaurant that comes your way, where it dawns on you which is now absolute nonsense. And finally you remember that you have an appointment with her for dinner tomorrow, and that she did not show up for the conference today, so that, well, that is the way it is, and does not mean anything, that would have been You too can be who is not appearing today, and there is nothing at all about it.

Your horror of being seen with you in any street of 16,000,000 Bangalore, somewhere in this labyrinth and chaos near or further away from the conference campus, so this horror has frightened you, you cannot assess it, And only now do you realize that you know your university after all, that she told you that she works right next door at the faculty founded by the Nobel laureate in biology Sinzaruhraanem, and at the thought you let out a cry of joy, and the Hungarian asks what's going on and you tell him.

Man, old man, then the Hungarian, professor at the University of Vancouver, tomorrow you will see her again, and it seems to you that the filthy, broken and inhospitable thing about Bangalore has subsided somewhat despite the fact that you are here in a restaurant of a European-type hotel sit, which is like any other restaurant, and like the restaurant of your own hotel here in Bangalore, India, namely tastelessly overloaded with mirrors and false shine, gleaming white tablecloths and something with silver cutlery, whatever you tell the Hungarians, what they put on Ungar She asks whether you have already discovered a single, very ordinary bar here ...? No, you say and drink your beer.

The night can no longer frighten you, you are standing here in the middle of Bangalore, India, drunk, the Hungarian without any cash, and you have to pay for him as neither his nor your VISA card is accepted and you are waving your 5,000 around and have no idea how to pay with it and you have to laugh and the Hungarian laughs with all his heart and says: We're just a few more stupid, idiotic white tourists, and then you go to the first tuk-tuks that come your way who are standing there and start a conversation with the drivers sitting there, and because you already know that you won't get for 2, 3 or 10 times the normal fare at 2 a.m. get away from here so just chat. You know, as long as the drivers are here together, they will react negatively, but as soon as someone is alone with you in his tuk-tuk, he will entrust you with everything, and that regularly ends in a mad trip through Bangalore that is yours It feels like it's just going to die, and you just go on living while the drivers, they can't help themselves, keep asking you the same question, namely how much they would earn in Europe, and you know that they'll tell you right away they want to go there, namely to Europe, that their dream is to go there before they die.

And you, you will be driven wherever you want.


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According to scientific studies of global happiness, people are happiest here in Bangalore, India of all places, where they have absolutely nothing, but you already know, because the evening before last she told you that causality is failing here and that the local people are happy not because they have absolutely nothing, but because they have no other choice.

You climb off the roof, leave your hotel and enter a restaurant that you discovered that morning, a European-style restaurant with a bar - Bangalore is really not a tourist city - you sit down at this bar and order your order here in Bangalore, India Beer.

The Indian behind the bar, however, does not belong to this beer, to this bar, to these glasses, to everything that does not belong to India, because it was exported here and was forced upon the Indians and chained them to themselves because it was so is easy and safe and consumed quickly, just like the bus driver does not belong to his bus and the taxi driver whom the Hungarian yelled at with him: Where are you actually going, you black idiot!?, not to his taxi.

However, you have no one to yell at here, so you realize that at least you are mentally shouting at yourself.

You can't take it any longer, you don't even wait for your beer, you pay, return to your hotel and pay there too, and even though your return flight doesn't leave until tomorrow, you take a taxi to the airport where you will spend your last night Your return flight to Europe.

But even before that, while you were waiting in the hotel for your bill, and although you made a decision from now on and are leaving in a hurry, there is still the porter who opened the door for you three days ago when you were together returned to the hotel with her; the square-faced receptionist who greeted you when you passed him with her; the elevator boy who called you the elevator that you hadn't wanted to take so that you could take the stairs with her; and finally the head waiter who taught you to eat; So now all these men are standing there at the stairs of the hotel - some of them not in hotel uniform, but in casual clothes straight from home - all of them have rushed over to shake hands with them, and they are all beaming Face, just as she told you to.

from the Czech by Doris Kouba