4th November, 6:43 a.m.
I am at the Chandigarh train station. For the amount of people that are waiting, it is surprisingly, and to my delight, rather calm. It is Diwali season, after all. I eat a banana, have a tea and wait. This is one of the first times I travel wearing western clothes, and not a salwaar kameez. They are not convenient. The dupatta dragging on the ground, the pant tie-up cutting my midriff circulation, the bottoms touching the nasty toilet floor as I squat to relieve myself. And sadly, I understand now that adopting their cultural clothing does not make me fit in. So I choose comfort over culture, just this once.
I am on the train. 4 months living in this country and just now do I see that wowie they like their tea strong and sugary. They give you two tea bags for one cup and two sugar packets that are noticeably heavier than the ones we have at home. The thermoses they use, I swear it looks circa 1970's. And it's not the colour story that gives it away (beige and brown), it's the grimy layer of incrusted dirt, the cracked mouth. Ugh. Still, I pour the warm water out of it and make my sugary strong beverage. There's a lady in front of me.. her mouth turned downward in a permanent frown... she gingerly picks up the ketchup packets and butter packet and plops them in her purse. This makes me giggle, and she looks up, her frown intact. Oops. I look at her arms, they are fat. I think about a hug, and how I haven't had a good hug in a long time, and how thick people give the best hugs.
Traveling alone is awesome, amazing really. But there are moments when you want to turn to someone comfortable. Comfortably nice smelling, Comfortably familiar, and rest your head on their comfortable shoulder and wrap your arms around their comfortable torso. Skinny stinky strangers need not apply.
Train lands in Delhi. I have a few hours to kill. What else to do but shop and walk. I buy a sweet Casio to add to my growing collection. I find the eggplant purple bangles for my buddy, and I fall in love with someone because of his glasses. He walks into the little restaurant I am sitting in and we both look at each other with surprise. It was odd and instant, and real. Gosh, he is cute. I wish he would turn around and talk to me. Oh! He does! He points to my glasses and gives me a thumbs up. I reciprocate it, along with a dorky smile. Cooome over I am thinking! Why can't he read my mind? This is beloved #1. I like the fact that he is alone. Traveling alone in India is seemingly rare. Come over you hottie, cooome! His glasses are killing me softly. He eats, turns around, waves and leaves. Bye beloved #1.
Okay- so I am on a train to Calcutta in 2 hours, and the ride is 26+ hours. Wow. I have numbers to call and people to meet, if I want. Do I? My cell rings. It's Canon! My camera baby is fixed and arrived from Delhi this morning! Yay.
Better get a move on... Calcutta is calling. I find my grimy bunk. There is a white guy sitting there. He is a dirty hippie. You know the type: leather sandals, MC hammer pants (harem pants they are called here), faded and hole-peppered tie-dyed tee, lots of bracelets and necklaces, long dirty hair. He clings to me. Talks incessantly, and I can already tell he is a bad story teller and that he is young. I want to get to my bunk now. so I do, and he does the same. There is a man sitting on mine and I gesture him to get off, so he plops himself on the American hippie's. James looks at me- (James let's call him, he reminds me of a James I once knew) with contempt. I tell him the brief version of my past molestation and that now no one comes on my bunk. Full stop. 'But', James says, 'where else will they go?' 'That's not my business.' I say. I lend him a book to read and he takes it, as if it is owed to him, without a thank you or a smile. Like since he has two extra bodies on his bunk because I kicked one guy off, I of course SHOULD be lending him a book. He shuffles, he grunts, he looks pitiful. I don't want to share my time with him anymore. Here is the book. That's enough. I like this new incarnation of B. Ever since the train-bad-touch I am ruthless, cunning. Learned.
I look around this new top view, and here comes beloved #2. He. Is. Gorgeous. And we can't stop staring at each other. He holds my gaze with no shame or perversity. I do the same. God I wish I spoke Hindi! He is sooo dreamy. That's it! It's final: I am really going to take Hindi language classes. For if I did, I could ask him more than how he is doing and what is his 'good' name. I could feign discreet curiosity, instead of telling him he is 'bohot sundar heh' (very beautiful) and then exchange phone numbers to then end up hating him because we can't communicate but he calls a million times a day.
Unrequited. I swear that should be my middle name.
It's his mouth. It's beautiful. And the look of soft sensuality in his eyes. I figured it out! What makes a person attractive (to me) is their mouth. All the words that come out of it , all the kissing that happens with it, all the smiling and laughing it gets to indulge in. Yes; a mouth indeed. AND of course the gaze. Not even the shape or size or colour of eyes, it's really the soul behind it, the source ingredient of unique. I can't look away. We are maybe 4 meters apart and I can FEEL him looking at me when I pretend to read my book. Sigh. I look at him again, I can't help myself. I'm a glutton. I hold his gaze. Shit- a whole romance novel could be written with the feelings that are sparking inside me. I LOVE HIM! hahahah.
....This is becoming a teensy bit long, a teensy bit crowded and a teensy bit dirty. Men and women and children are friendly. A woman gave me an apple and an Indian sweet. Another man bought me a tea. Another man gave me some snacks. God I'm feeling tall right now, the top bunk is safe from molesters, but I'm cramped. Beloved #2 has his legs stretched out and they are reaching my bunk. I too have my legs stretched out. His foot is touching my foot. I feel like I'm in the Victorian ages or something because this innocent graze is setting me on fire! We look at each other. We smile. We both know that's all we can share and so we share it 100%.
Bed time.. it must be 9ish by now (the 4th november, still). A man comes up on my bunk and tells me he will just be on the side. I say no. He tells me in perfect English that he will not touch me or take too much space. ugh FIIIINE, I say, but I warn him that if he touches me I yell and punch, with no reservation. He smiles and head bobs.
I wake up to him resting his head and arm on my leg. I push him off with said leg and tell him to get off my bunk. I look for beloved #2's eyes. It's dark. His foot is gone. He is gone. During my strange slumber the train stopped a few times and people got on and got off. Beloved #2 got off. I close my eyes and dream of his mouth.
Diazepam and Disco; Thank you. You both are lulling me to where I need to be now: cocooned in a dreamsphere.