Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Montezuma's Revenge,

.............Indian Style. As I write this, I am on the tail-end (hopefully) of a nasty bout of something grotty, buttocks snotty, and altogether projectile vomitty. Many of our crew have been ill over the last couple of weeks, but no one of us has been hit in exactly the same way. I'm hoping that my wretched state of body is what's heavily influencing my wretched state of mind about this supposedly superlative trancendant state of India. Because frankly, I am far from charmed.

I have been reporting when I'm in a more positive frame of mind, which I think is fitting for readership, considering that I am downright whiny-bitch when I'm feeling negative. But I have to say that....what do I have to say, anyways?

I'm sick of bathrooms that smell of piss and shit; I want to know that my meals haven't been sliced and prepared on the floor where dozens of people have walked and those dozens of people walk in bare feet which walk through fields and the fields are full of fresh cow dung and who knows what-all. Considering all that, I am pretty surprised and awed that I haven't been sick until now, even though most every day I feel a bit queasy at some point.

I want to live among people who don't spit and cough and jerk off and who knows what-all else into common spaces and places where you'd think would be a bit more sanitary.

I am in India. I realize this. I can leave at any time. Why don't I?

Because I'm not much charmed by much of anything in the way of my life thus far any more, and so I might as well be disarmed by way of drastic changes?

Because I don't know where to go or what to do?

I am serious. I can't fathom, at this point, which direction I want to go in - in a broad and figurative sense as well as a more specific and literal sense. Feels like a dangerous place to be in. But it could also be a really exciting and opportunistic place to be in.

This is as close as I've ever come to 'running away from home' as I've ever been. Just ditching it all to start from scratch. But the tried and true platitudes, those about 'wherever you go there you are', are ahhhh...well....tried and true.

I keep wanting to empty myself. And to 'do-nothing'. I feel like Gollum. You know, the divisive, bi-polar ex-Hobbit who obsesses about his Precious? Yeah, you know. That one.

It occurred to me the other day after I heaved the contents of my stomach out the classroom window where I'm sleeping that I am quite literally emptying myself. Ack.

I keep trying to strip down the equation of happiness. If it wasn't about funds and finances and I could do anything - anything at all in this world - what would it be?

There is a long, confused silence that answers me when I look inside there. That's what frightens me, to be honest. What the hell is up with that, anyway?

Typical midlife crisis?

Having said all that, I will now relay some of the more quirky and endearing aspects of India that I really DO appreciate and marvel at, just to prove to myself that I do have a sense of humor, dammit:

Did I write about the traffic? It's insane!! There is definitely some sort of order in this chaos, and if you've ever read anything about the way people and autos and such travel in India, it's all true. It's like they're all in a hive, or part of an ant colony with invisible antennas. And they're silently mind-melding and communicating with one another. People are always finding and filling in the gaps in traffic, winding and wielding their choices of transportation with an amazing grace and finesse. Not that there aren't collisions...but considering the number of people travelling at any given time - which is many and varied - I'm aghast that there aren't more deaths, dismemberments, or at the very least, minor scrapes. I've seen women riding sidesaddle on the back of a bike (motor bike) holding very tiny babies, cruising down the highway, crammed in between huge autos and all manner of vehicles, and everyone honks and wheels merrily on their way.

I love how casually affectionate many of the boys and men are with one another here. It's really sweet.

I don't know if this is a term other people use, but we like to say 'IST', for Indian Standard Time, or, Indian Stretchy Time. I'd like to see how a Dominos Pizza delivers anything in 30 minutes or less. Buuuuut then again, it's India, and magic does seem to coalesce.

Well - the workshop is going to end in a few days. I have no plan, really, as to where I'll go next. Maybe I shouldn't plan anything, and practice the do-nothing-ness. Just board a train and go somewhere, or just land in Pondicherry on a whim and a prayer.

I pray for a modicum of cleanliness. May Shiva strike me down for maligning this most magnificent country, contributor to the cradle of our civilization.

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