8:15 a.m. Delhi. November 24th.
This time more agreeable. Shared time, ain't that the truth. The more time you share with someone (or some place, in this case,) the better it gets, isn't it?
Isn't it.. I am understanding Indian translations now. Teek hae nah? -Isn't it? Bus- Enough. Stop. Only.
Last night on the train- geez the food looks nasty but god is it is ever good. No wonder- it's called butter! Or ghee, to be precise. Clarified butter. Indians are fond of eating. I mean, for a 3+ hour train ride I got fed three times! Ha! My country indeed, teek hae nah? I'm smiling to myself because a few moments (read days) I was bitching and complaining about India. But my ever changing and impulsive nature comes back with the yumminess of a warm sugary tea or the sights of some magnificient brown eyes.
I love this country.
Anyway, I get off the train and my sweet punjabi 'boyfriend' is there to pick me up.
"Do you want icecream?"
Do I? (hahah- little does he know I juuust finished two icecreams on the train, only!)
He takes me to a swank Western-y shopping mall where seriously I thought I was home. La Senza, Zara, Tommy Hilfiger, Mango, etc... We go to Haagen Daz and it's like we're royalty or something; so many 'good evening maam's and 'would you like to try this maam?' I got to taste, no joke, 7 different flavours- and not just a little covering on the plastic spoon- I'm talking a heap, each time! Who would've thought Strawberry Cheesecake could compare in deliciousness to Belgian Chocolate?
We go back to his buddy's place and I meet Aman. I have a beer and eat chips. Then I get served a spoon and a jar of Nutella(my weakness) and then a bowl of this delicious Indian dessert made out of grated carrots. Then a chocolate bar..Diabetes! Jason knows me, always feeding me sweeets.
He has his pilot exam in the morning. It's now 1:30, then 2:30 now 3. He is young and looong and stringy like a french grean bean. Haricot vert. The sleep is short, but holding hands in bed is one of my faves, so I sleep soundly. We wake up to three cell phones at 6:30, singing.
Shower. Car. Off we go. Him to his exam, me to the FRO (foreign registrations office).
Now I am sitting in reception(it's 8:15 a.m.). 45 mns before they open and already we're six people waiting.
Please Universe. Work. With. Me.
.......I walk to 36A. Mr. Vinod Kumar. He tells me he can help me when I print out my e-ticket, to prove that my ticket is for the 28th December. I do. A bit of a nightmare since his secretary tried but she failed, so I had to leave the building and walk to Khan market nearby to print it. Regardless. Then he says I have to fill out some forms. I do. Then he says he cannot help me. The visa hall can. So I go back through the hideous dirty cabinet-lined corridors, find a seat and wait, and who do I get shoved to, after they can't read the number they wrote on my form (the strangest looking '8' ever), but the original guy that told me to come in December. He tells me to fill out yet another form and to come back at 5:30.
'NO!' I have a train to catch at 5.
'ok maam come at 3:30'. Head bob.
'But sir I am here now, it will take me less than 20 seconds to fill out this form.'
'maam, kindly come back at 3:30.'
'teek hae ji', I say grudgingly. Mr. Kumar had told me if I had any problems to come back to him, which I promptly do, now that I know my way around this dusty sad creepy nightmare of a government building.
'maam I cannot help you. Just sit in the Visa hall.'
'I did. But since you kindly told me to come to you if I wasn't being helped, I am here again.'
'maam I cannot help you. Come back at the scheduled time.'
'So why did you reassure me, then?'
Blank stare. I slump out of there, stomach growling, like it was taking on what my mouth would have snarled had I been a lion.
I wait for Aman, smoke like a milliion cigarettes and down a trillion chai's. I brought my fixed Canon child but am not inspired. Funny how I couldn't live without her and now that she's healthy I just don't feel like taking photographs. I must admit though, Delhi is no where near as abrasive as the last time. A breath of polluted rainy air. AAhhh.
So now I wait. There's a french expression, "Jamais deux sans trois" Never two without three, to which my mum confirmed when I told her I was back in Delhi for my visa extension. Does that mean there's another part of this visa story to live through? I'm calm, a teensy bit irritated but I don't want to struggle anymore. So- I looked up at the white rainy Delhi sky surrendering, under my breath saying, 'You take care of me now, Universe.' Aaaand a bird just shit on my camel leather purse. It highlights the samosa grease stain. It has twice the character now?
I couldn't help but have a bit of a cry. I am too sensitive. Alas; I exacerbated my sentiments by listening to Fleetwood Mac. I am back in the train now. Defeated.
After a super duper lovely beer and sheesha and chicken Biryani and chicken Kebab with Anan, he rushes me back to the FRO and I wait in vain. No one is there to greet me.
'Yes maam, come back at 5:30.'
'Nonono sir I was told to come at 3:30 as I have a train to catch.'
'Yes maam,' head bob. 'Come back at 5:30.' Uh- are you trying to be an asshole?( I didn't dare say that, obviously. ) I call Aman back and he comes straight away. I open the passenger side and there on the seat is a box of pastries and a plastic bag full of chocolate bars. (I have a dentist appt tomorrow, incidentally, and should ask my mum if diabetes runs in the family.) I eat one rapidly and exhale, looking out at the rainy day through the warmth and softness of his car. Nice, I have pastries to eat. He parks his car and walks me to the train and assures that I am well seated. I have a crush on this sweet boy who casually walked into my heart by making fun of Indian English with me, offering me a box of pastries.
After wiping the black eyeliner from my cheeks the Sihk gentleman I am sitting next to asks if I want a coffee, and gestures to a train dude to fetch me one. We start talking. Another Indian angel indeed, so mega interesting and warm and hospitable.
I don't want to leave this country.
We spend the full three and a half hours in conversation. I am grateful for him because had he not been so wonderful I might have listened to more chest tightening music and wiped more black eyeliner.
I have two weekends left in India before returning back to Canada.