The Short of It

I look into the past:
Memories like broken glass,
People, places, tiny shards.
Then your face.
I fell so hard.
Blink it back.
Not again.
I’ll drown in sleep instead.

Ears open to the sounds
I can’t lose the things I’ve found.
Hands on waists.
Tracing scars.
Out of place.
Near and far.
Your words were grandiose.
Laughter outside a bar.
You spoke more and less than most.
Arms that felt like stone.
A laughing comment on the bus.
There together (but alone).
An overwhelming sense of trust.
The fire escape at dark.
Fingers on a thigh.
A silent, snowy park.
The eyes:
Brown, green and blue.
There isn’t one of you.
You broke my spirit,
I broke your hearts.
We ripped ourselves apart.

Every time I turned away
You were there another day.
When I reached for you in truth
You’d faded into youth.
Different faces every time.
Same story.
Different rhyme.

Delhi, Pune, No Mumbai and Goa

I am not very good at updating all y’all on my going’s on, so let me fill you in.

I decided to stay in India longer than originally planned because at the time I was a bit disenchanted with India and was quite sure I would never come back.  However, there were parts of India that I still wanted to see but hadn’t and my brother, being the wise old man that he is, pointed out that it would be intelligent to see what I want to see before I leave so that I can check India off my travelling list completely.

The plan was to stay in Delhi for a couple days and see cool things, move to Pune where I would stay with an Acts29 friend for three days, go back to Mumbai and see the sights there that I had missed and catch up with NewLife friends, and then finish it off on a beach in Goa.  My plans always change, so that is not what went down.

Delhi

I spent less time in Delhi than I meant to, which was okay, because the most exciting part of that city is how f**cking awesome their subway system is.  Never in my entire life have I see such a great train system.  Not only is it hyperclean (which is impressive in any big city, but mindblowing in India) to the point where I felt like I was walking into an airport, not an underground train station, but it is also uber modern and effective and fast and…  The point here is that if you ever go to Delhi, ride their subway.

Then I took a train to Pune, which was a bit of an ordeal because I had been waitlisted and I was far enough down the waitlist that I did not get on the train.  Several chaotic hours and one very effective visit to the International Tourist Bureau later, I had a new train ticket and a couple hours to kill before my train left.  I used those hours to wander the touristy center of Delhi with my gigantic backpack.  Those of you who know me well, know that I enjoy, possibly too much, going off the beaten track a little, so I soon found myself wandering the maze of apartments crowded around the marketplace until I came out in a very industrial looking street.  I was confused, but not worried, so I kept walking.

To my left I noticed that a man was keeping pace with me and would look at the book he had in his hands and then at me and then back again.  I was slightly weirded out so I slowed down in the hope that he would pass me.  He slowed down, too.  I sped up.  So did he.  I stopped.

“Can I help you?”
“Yes,” he responded, much to my surprise.

Confused, I look at the book in his hands.  It was pornography.  I had heard that if you shout  at creepy men here in India they get  self-conscious and leave.  That did not work.  He looked abashed and apologized profusely as I told him, in a very loud voice, how rude he was being and how he had to leave immediately, but he stayed rooted to where he was on the sidewalk.  So I got a rickshaw and left.

Welcome to India.  It had to happen sometime.

Pune

After a very long train ride I arrived in Pune, smelling like sweat and sleep.  Sachin picked me up on his motorcycle and I learned the very Indian art of riding on a bike with two people and a large backpack.  Seriously, it is an Indian art.  You see people riding bikes with the passenger carrying a sheet of glass twice their size or a family of four crowded seemingly comfortably on the bike.

I spent the next two days at his aunt’s house, which was very nice.  The whole family would sleep on the roof at night and I learned how to make Indian burgers, which was extraordinarily exciting, because aside from byriani, that is my favorite food here.  The only problem that I had at that house was how much food they would give me.  In India the guest is treated as a god, which means that they need to be taken care of very, very well.  I got way too much food from them, and would feel obligated to finish it every single time, which led to quite a few stomach aches.  (I learned, though, that in India it is not rude to not finish your food.  One more cultural difference among many.)

After a couple days there I moved to Sachin’s actual house, which was even better than the first.  The first house was almost Western in its set up.  There was a living room with a television, one large bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.  The second house was only one room, which was tri-functional as a shower, kitchen, and storage area, and yet it was only 20 ft by 20 ft.  If that.  The beds were outside underneath a tarp tent.  There were two of them and everyone who did not fit on a bed (there were about 10 people living there) would sleep on a mattress or blanket on the floor.

Somehow I was more comfortable in this house than the other.  There was just a feeling of relaxation and appreciation for family in this house that, although not lacking in the other, was much more present.  I would actually kind of like to live in a house like that.

Sachin and I went to a bunch of gardens and a museum, and it was really good to spend a little bit more time with him in a different kind of environment.  He is by far the best friend that I have made since coming to India and I already miss him more than I think I’ve ever missed anyone.  I guess it’s easier to miss someone when they have been a huge part of your life and you are fairly certain you will never see that person again.  Le sigh.

I skipped Mumbai and a couple days of Goa to stay in Pune longer.

Goa

When I first arrived in Goa I was a bit lonely.  I am, after all, traveling alone.

Regardless, I started walking around the streets (which are insanely touristy) to get my bearings and immediately discovered that it is impossible to be lonely when you are in a place like Goa and obviously a tourist.

On the first day I took a motorcycle ride around and saw the fort that Goa is known for (unimpressive in comparison to the Red Fort in Delhi, but still pretty in a decrepit kind of way), took a boat tour of the Arabian Sea, complete with traditional Goan dances, watched some boys playing cricket in the park, and saw the local mall where I played a game of air hockey.  Oh and then I saw a statue of two Portuguese people who fell off a cliff and died.

Yesterday I walked up and down the beach, where I was constantly accosted by offers for watersports (500rs) and invitations to parties or to smoke.  I also got several not so subtle hints about how great of a girlfriend I would make and what I think were a couple marriage proposals.  *facepalm*

Lunch was not very good, but free, because I met a Chicagoan who got me talking about my hitchhiking trip a few years back and my time here in India, which he thought was very exciting.  I have trouble talking to business people about themselves, though.  I am trying to find the words to express why, but the truth is that I am not sure.  No, I do.  They talk obscurely, for one, because they assume (probably rightly) that the person will not understand the details of what they do.  Then, when they talk about their goals and aspirations they sound like self-help books.  Probably because they are quoting them.

Regardless, this guy was fun and reasonably attractive, so lunch passed pleasantly enough.

I have a confession for all of you.  I have spent every night here in my hotel room, reading.  Partially because I was told by my Pune family that I should not be out past 8 (which I have stretched to 9 or 10), but mostly because I don’t really feel like partying.  That makes me feel like less of a young person, but honestly, I think it’s really nice to spend time on the beach during the day and just chill out with Mazaa (mango juice) at night.

If that makes me a loser, so be it.  I’m loving my Goa stay.  🙂