If you've lost your way…

Traveling in London I’ve found a sure fire technique for never getting lost. Ask a street cleaner for directions. They are everywhere, have fantastic maps, and also know the city better than most.

My coworker last night shared that this piece of advice is true not only for the complicated rabbit warren alleys of England but also Cairo.

"My mother told me to always ask a cleaner," she said smiling as we waited for our other friend who was asking a cleaning gentleman for directions to the nearest outlet of our desired restaurant.

I began wondering if this was the sign of what is really at the heart of a society: the willingness to acknowledge and attribute knowledge across all segments of society. Was it because we were all non-UK nationals, able to see outside the class conscious society of the UK? Or was it because of our generation – we were a mix between Xers and Mellenials – so even any UK twenty or thirtysomething would feel comfortable doing the same? Dare I raise the specter of gender: was it because we were three women that we stopped for directions?

Whatever the case, we did stop for directions, each of us comfortably perched near the edge of upper middle classhood and thanked the gentleman for his help.

Perhaps this is the sign of an eglaitarian mindset on which a society could be built.

Perhaps having a voice, even to give directions, is tied to having a large social presences, like having your voice count?

Hopefully the Iranian people who have been patient are rewarded for their efforts.

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Reader Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Learn Arabic


    I am Jai and I am living in Bahrain…..I was impressed by your Zeal towards learnig Arabic…I had the same Zeal of learning this beautiful language….It would be great if you can let me know how can i start learning ( Online , If possible) as most of the locals in Bahrain speak English.


    • Mohanalakshmi

      Re: Learn Arabic

      Hi Jai:

      I think the Rosetta Stone program is a great way to start. It’s CD ROM and there are many other online programs. I would think it would be easier to get a tutor and work in person if you haven’t studied before. I have the same problem in Qatar that most people speak English. But as I found out yesterday, if you ask someone to speak with you, they are more than happy to do so.

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