All of the Bobbseys and myself are into Calcutta.. AND FOR ONE FLEETING INSTANT.. FOR THE BRIEFEST OF MOMENTS.. I HAD THE FOLLOWING THOUGHT.. WHAT IN THE EVERLOVING HELL AM I DOING HERE..
I have been in India for just UNDER four (4) days.. got it.. not quite four (4) days and..
MY sinuses are draining like Niagra Falls.. I have a broncial cough like an Unfilered Camel cigarette smoker of three packs a day for thirty years.. AND THE INTESTINAL THING CAUGHT UP WITH ME.. horrific cramps.. bloating.. blast diahrea.. the works.. ALL IN UNDER FOUR DAYS..
The train ride here started out perfect.. my friend Anil and his son Dev.. totally unannounced.. stopped in at the YMCA in New Delhi and ‘found me’ eating Tandoori Chicken.. they sat and Anil asked my plans.. I told Anil I was literally on the way to the train station and Anil brightly said.. “I will drive you in my car” and he DID.. this was a BIGGIE..
Then the Bobbseys and I boarded the Rajdhani Express.. and I found myself in a cabin with a young Muslim couple in their early 20s with a new born son.. AND I HAD COMPLETE SPACE TO STASH THE BOBBSEYS.. usually it is a hassle as the typical India couple inevitably beat me aboard and take up ALL THE LUGGAGE SPACE with their stuff leaving me no place to stash my things.. and then we rolled out for Calcutta..
The young couple were from Bangladesh.. and they were facing me.. and I was beside the window on my side of the cabin.. about ten minutes into the trip the young man POINTED OUT TO ME THAT I WAS IN SPACE 14.. this I knew and I knew that my ‘seat’ was on the aisle away from the window.. so.. I moved the the aisle side.. leaving them both windows..
NO.. NO.. NO.. he gestured and pointed to the upper berth.. it slowly dawned on me that he thought I was going to spend the entire trip in the upper berth and NOT sitting at the floor level.. I said to him (he spoke no English and no Hindi) we will speak to the train conductor about this AND I STAYED PUT..
About thirty minutes into the trip here is the conductor.. and I quietly told him what was up.. and he told the young man that I had every right to sit at the floor level..
Long story short it made for a kindda tense trip.. he just DID NOT GET IT.. go figure..
Then ALL NIGHT I WAS up and to the toilet with the stomach THING..
NOW FOR MY INDIA TRAIN TOILET RANT. there are two types of toilets.. Indian style and Western style.. there are four toilets.. two at each end of a coach.. three of them are Indian style.. where the locals stand on two pads and hunker down and get within an inch or two of the hole and do their thing.. and one is Westerm style. where you sit on a toilet seat like we all have in the United States.. and guess what.. the Indians want to use the Western style and then they STAND ON THE TOILET SEAT AND SQUAT DOWN.. WHAT THIS DOES IS TO CONTAMINATE THE SEAT BECAUSE THEIR SHOES HAVE BEEN ON THE FLOOR.. of the bathroom.. eeeek…
Well that being said.. when you have to go.. you have to go.. so what I do is I have hand sanitizer.. I go.. then I stand up and rub the alchol based hand sanitizer on my haunches where they sit on the seat to cleanse my rear portion.. but it just pisses me off that (it is the India women who do this) they don’t use their style.. let me tell you.. Ol Bobba CAN NOT HUNKER DOWN LIKE THEY DO..
So it was a long night for me.. and the Muslim man from Bangladesh DID NOT WANT ME EVEN TOUCHING THE SIDE HIS LADY WAS SITTING ON.. well when I come down from the upper berth I HAVE TO DO THAT AND I DID..LUCKILY I was about five inches taller and about fifty pounds heavier than him and NOT ABOUT TO HAVE ANY OF HIS CRAP.. but it still was not comfortable..
The song New York New York has it wrong.. it says “IF I can make it there I can make it anywhere..” .. the true saying is this.. “IF I can make it on the streets of Calcutta THEN YOU CAN MAKE IT ANYWHERE” .. Lord God Calcutta is a lay down screaming mess..
So someplace in the day I thought.. WHAT IN THE EVERLOVING HELL AM I DOING HERE ANYWAY.. hot and tired and sweaty and in a challenging head space..
BUT I DID FNALLY CONNECT WITH MRS BRINNAND (please see FWIW 11.3) and that took a major effort to find her.. finally the sisters of the Missionaires of Charity (Mother Teresa’s order) sent their ambulance to get me.. I felt honored to ride in the ambulance where they pick up sick and dying destitutes from the streets.. fitting as sick as I am feeling.. then the driver drove like a taxi driver in their ambulance.. India.. go figure..
I have a nice room.. good air conditioning.. across from Mother Teresa’s Mother house and Mrs Brinnand was all teary and emotional at my showing up..
The good news is this.. IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT.. all the symptoms are getting suddenly better.. the nose is NOT running.. the hacking croup has subsided.. and the intestinal thing has calmed down for now..
BUT I HAVETTA TELL YOU.. THAT NAGGING THOUGHT KEEPS COMING UP.. WHAT IN THE EVERLOVING HELL AM I DOING HERE ANYWAY..
The most dangerous street corner I have ever navigated is my street corner here.. five streets come in sort of together and IT IS PURE AND IT IS SIMPLE.. CROSSING THE STREET IS SCARY..
OK.. over and out for now.. With Love..
IF YOU THINK I FELT LIKE WRITING THIS YOU ARE WRONG.. I FEEL LIKE SLEEPING.. AND I DID TAKE A NICE NAP AND I HAVE EATEN A NICE MEAL IN MY HOTEL AND I HAVE CONNECTED WITH MRS BRINNAND.. AND I AM FORCING LIQUIDS.. so again.. over and out for now.. CAP
- NEW DELHI .. MOTHER TERESA .. SEP 09/11 – PT III
- FATHER ABELLO .. SEP 13/11