Thailand: Nok Is Always Smiling

It was my second or third day in Bangkok and I was already fed up with the city, its crazy traffic, and notorious ways. I just wanted to get out of there. In the absence of a travel plan, I took a taxi to the old railway station and got a ticket to River Kwai bridge. It was going to be a four-hour long journey. I wasn’t going to be sitting there all silent, so I started looking around.

Nok was sitting on the bench in front of me, taking sips of his local Thai drink from a cylindrical plastic bag. I was a little nervous because of something I don’t recall now. He smiled and asked me to ease up. That’s when we got into talking.

Now Nok isn’t your typical Thai man. He’s in his 50s, can speak English, and loves to talk to strangers. He lives in a town at an hour’s distance from Bangkok. He came to Bangkok just to have that drink and get some sabzi! The train was free for the Thai people, he told me. Lucky man, I thought.

He, like all Thai people, loves the King and the Queen. Tells me the Kind was very handsome in his young days and the Queen was very beautiful. She still is but back then she was “a piece”. He, too, is proud of the fact that Thailand has never been colonized. He’s a Buddhist who, like the youth, doesn’t go to the temples. Religions for most Thai people isn’t in regular rituals. They just live. Eased up. And that’s it.

Nok was a perfect example. Always smiling.

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