“If you go to Victoria, check out the clock-tower. It’s big, beautiful and the pride of Seychelles,” everyone in Seychelles had told us. Victoria was the capital city of Seychelles. Whenever we went to Victoria, we’d usually go early to get money exchanged. The bank would have limited exchange currency and it’d get over if you were slightly late.
So we took all the precautions necessary.
From my side; that included a magnetic chess board, a pack of cards, a book, earphones, and loading lots of songs into my mom’s phone. It could be a four-hour wait at times; a boy had to go prepared.
When we first went to Victoria, we stopped at the bank. It was probably a little before five in the morning and people were already waiting in line. I took out my magnetic chess board and started playing chess with my dad. A few minutes later, we heard a chime and looked around for the source of the sound.
And there it was; right next to the bank, in the middle of the crossroads. We’d mistaken it for a normal clock when we came in, but that was apparently the famous Clock Tower, just five meters up from the ground.
‘That is the famous Clock Tower? We have larger clock-towers in villages in India,’ my dad said, shaking his head in disbelief. I sniggered, partly because what he said was funny and partly because I’d stolen his queen while he wasn’t looking.
After our work at the bank was done, we roamed around and saw the city life of Seychelles. I remember falling in love with pizza in Victoria at this restaurant called “The Pirates Arms”.
On the drive back home, my mom pointed to a beautiful beach as it rolled past us. I wondered what would happen if Seychellois came to India and we showed them our beaches in Goa.
‘That is the famous Calangute beach?’ they’d say, ‘we have better beaches outside our homes in Seychelles.’
It was only natural that we glorified the things we had, even if they weren’t the best or the most beautiful. Soon, I realized that this principle applied to the way people worked too. People who weren’t good at what they did would often also lack the skills necessary to identify that they were bad at it.
Victoria taught me to look beyond clock-towers and beaches. It showed me how I could delve into the perspectives and opinions of people instead.
It also taught me not to steal the queen from a chessboard. My father ended up winning anyway.