Monday, June 18, 2007

Back in Town

This world’s waited long enough, I’ve come home at last…

Yes, after an expected and extended absence, I have decided to do a Norma Desmond and return to my public. I can only imagine how difficult, dull and grey it must have been without me, but fear not, for I am here, back and better than ever.

And what I time I chose to return to India. I got bitch-slapped by the heat the moment I stepped off the plane. After several weeks in Amsterdam with a temperature that went from about 15 to maybe 24, it was quite a shock to be in the oven of Delhi. The wax in my hair melted immediately and suddenly I felt like one of the bad guys at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. Yes indeed, it was hot. The bustling and crowded city I had left behind was nothing more than a shell of its former self. India Gate was deserted and the normal crowds on the street were huddled under their ceiling fans and air conditioners. I left the house with a bottle of ice water and 10 minutes later it was to hot to drink. Sitting in a rickshaw was like being in a Swedish sauna in ski-clothes and so I did what I normally do when I don’t know what else to do in Delhi, I headed for the old city. Emerging from the metro in Chawri Bazaar felt like coming home. It was great to have some action and excitement after the boringly organized streets of Amsterdam. I was with Abdul and Manuel and we made our way to the street-side chai shop for a cup of chai and I took in several deep breaths of the hot and heavy air. Nothing like lungs full of emergency levels of pollution to make one feel right at home.

Actually, I was a bit curious how I would view India and Delhi once I was home. I had missed my friends, my life of cocktail parties and brunches, but had made new friends and a new life. I was curious what I would think and feel once I got back to Amsterdam and saw the life I left behind. It was great seeing my friends and like with all real friends, it was like no time had passed, and we fell right into our normal routine as though we had been drinking bubbles the night before. I did find it strange trying to tell stories about life in India and I realized that no matter what someone reads, sees or hears, unless they have been in India, they just don’t get it. I think it is like that for a lot of places, but I think India takes it to a new level.

To go from Amsterdam to London or Paris is quite an easy trip. India takes time, it takes energy and, in my opinion, you have to want to be here. I realized that I do want to be here. All joking about driver, bugs and everything else, I really enjoy being in India. I missed Delhi when I was in Amsterdam. Sure, the place drives me absolutely batty at times, but I love it. In Amsterdam I discovered that no matter were my life may go, no matter where I may live from here on out, my life there has come to an end. It is time to close off that chapter and start a new one. I will always go back to visit, but it became clear that my life is someplace else.

So here I am, back in Delhi and this time a friend came with me. Manuel decided he wanted to see and experience India himself and so he joined me on the flight back from Amsterdam. It has been amazing having him here, seeing everything through his eyes. It is also great that he loves the same things I do so now I have someone to join me o my excursions all about town, looking at what my dad would refer to as “a bunch of old buildings and statues of dead people”. Abdul and I took Manuel to Old Delhi for dinner at Karim’s and a walk through Meena Bazaar after only 12 hours in India and he loved it. Yesterday, one week later, he finally saw his first monkeys on the street and I almost had to pull him back into the rickshaw. As much as I want an elephant, he wants a monkey and preferable one with a little baby to carry around. Not sure how the cat would deal with that.

Yes, I have a cat… Well, I have a cat that is temporarily lodging with me. It belongs to my boss who I share a flat with and he leaves for holiday this very night. Mike is his name and shedding hair all over the place while trying to stay cool seems to be what he does best. Well, that is it for now, but more stories coming your way, so stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. Hey there Robb, good to have you back, look forward to sharing a cocktail with you and catching up soon.