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Thursday, January 7

i recently traveled through india. i wrote a lot. in an actual paper journal. but as these things usually go, i dread having to look back through my entries -- where i scribbled dazed and drunk illuminations under half-sympathetic and half-repulsed gazes of dozens of Indian men in the 2 sq. ft. seats of a 30 hour un-ACed train ride through the 120 degree suffocating pre-monsoon heat -- in fear that it will be dreadfully boring. how would i be able to reconcile myself to the fact that while smack dab in the heart of some of the most physically tortuous times of my life, all i had to say were probably, "fuck this shit."


i had spent a lot of time in Darjeeling. I was partly stuck because all the train tickets out of town were booked for a while, and had partly forced myself to stay put because i was sick--fevers and chills and bitterness.

first thing when i got up, i took walks up and down the mountains, to tea plantations, to the zoo, to the mountain climbing center, to the monasteries. sometimes the walks took until dinner time. sometimes only 30 minutes if i weren't feeling well.

then i would have some tea at the same place every day and buy a piece of pastry too for breakfast.

then i would walk again. the second walks always went through the market where i would purchase mangos and bananas. every day i got a different price for the same two mangos and two bananas. when it was the boy, rather than the older man or the woman, it was always cheaper.

back to the hostel and i would eat the fruits while watching hindi channels on tv, then i would walk again.

i usually sat at the town square during twilight to watch the sky go dark. the square was usually filled with indian tourists. there were ponies upon which well-dressed children were hoisted on and slowly paced around in circles around the square. there were photographers, hawkers, and tea-sellers. a lot of local people--old tibetan women rattling their strands of beads, groups of old men smoking and chewing, teenagers with too much gel in their hair--also came and people watched.

when it got dark, the orange street lights would create a strange effect through the thick fog, and i would order some tea from the street vendors and watch the crowd disperse for dinner.

if i were hungry i almost always had dinner at the chaat place. i think it was called hot and tasty. or hot and fast? i liked it because it was always busy, and i enjoyed the human company while jostling around for an empty table.

on the walk back to the hotel, i always stopped by the same corner store to make a phone call and buy a bottle of water. it was always the same lady who reminded me faintly of a lady that goes to my mom's church.

i never felt confused because i knew exactly what i was feeling. i was sick but it didn't hurt as much as it could have because i was alone. i didn't laugh but i didn't cry either. maybe i smiled but it's hard to tell what is on your face when you don't feel visible. perhaps there was no need to smile, either. it felt good. i didn't do much thinking about myself, but instead was satisfied just to feel my weight, to merely feel myself as a body. as it is, i am barely the woman i am.




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