after my trip to India...
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2001-10-28 17:12:02 (UTC)

what happened in India, part 1

I guess everyone has some kind of experience in their lives
that changes his or her way of thinking, that changes
perspectives, opinions, beliefs, and stays inside of us for
ever. For some it's death of someone close, for some it's
achieving a long - awaited goal, falling in love...For me it
was a trip. A trip not only to a foreign country. That was a
trip to another continent. A trip to another culture. A trip
to India.
I was more than scared. I was terrified, it started in the
moment I took off from Zurich, Switzerland. Actually I
started feeling somewhat awkward on the Swiss airport
itself. I was flying alone and apart from a man with long
dreds, who looked as if he has been looking for guru all his
life, I was the only person flying alone - at least that's
what I noticed. And what's more I was the only woman flying
alone. I was repeating to myself: 'It's going to be all
right', but I was not able to believe this inside voice. I
was not the only white person on the plane, a French couple
was sitting just next to me, some Italian guy, who pushed
his bag on mine, so my plans of working on the plane had to
be changed - I couldn't drag out my papers. On my left side
there were two Indian women sitting and one of them was
especially interested in my person. She kept on staring at
me. I know that red hair might be a bit peculiar, but one
look would be enough. I didn't know then that I should get
used to those looks because I would get much more of them
than I expected.
I couldn't make out the time difference and I was really
surprised when I saw 'escaping' hours on the plane TV. In
such moments you think that you loose hours in a mysterious
way and you can't reclaim them. Not even on the way back. As
always I was a bit worried whether I told Rajeev the right
time of my arrival. What if he's not at the airport? What if
he ditched me? What if I have to stay there alone for hours?
I had millions of this kind of questions on my mind. I
wanted to sleep but I couldn't keep my eyes closed for a
moment. So I watched all the movies, even those I thought I
would never see. Finally I switched to music only and that
carried me away into sleep for some time. It helped me also
when they served drinks. A good Campari in the middle of the
night makes you sleep like a baby.
I woke up when I dreamt that someone sat on my head. I
opened my eyes only to see a bag of my Italian friend's
before my eyes. He jumped out from seats behind me and was
close to kiss my knees in apologies - I know I must have
looked as if I was just about to shoot in his forehead.
There was only a half an hour left and I felt butterflies in
my stomach. No, those were more like bumble - bees. It was
almost midnight, in India.
When we landed, I couldn't move from my seat for a couple of
minutes. Maybe I didn't want to. Maybe I thought they
wouldn't notice me and I would safely come back home? When I
finally stood off from the seat number 38F I felt as if I
was about to jump with the parachute, only that the
parachute would not open.
We all were walking on this red carpet on the Indian
airport. That was a pleasant surprise - as if we all were
VIPs being received so cordially. It took me ages to go
through the passport control, it was all because a group of
French people stood in front of me. Or maybe because Indian
officers were checking everybody so carefully? When it came
to my turn, there were hardly 5 people left there. Next step
was praying for all my luggage to come safely with me. I
had checked in two bags and I was waiting for them to come
as if I was waiting for some big surprise to come out on
this moving line. When I finally, all happy, found my bags
and managed to direct the trolley where I wanted it to go I
headed slowly towards the way out. I stroked my hair, using
my fingers as a hair - brush, checked if my skirt is still
there where it should be and if I have all my bags. I used
my lip balm and then when I found no more excuses to stay
longer on that side of the doors, I passed through
much more scared than I was on the Swiss airport.
The way to the exit was leading up and I had some
difficulties in manoeuvring my trolley. All I saw were
Indian, or Punjabi, or maybe just dark people, excuse me -
men only. I had one thought in my head and I said it aloud,
of course in Polish: 'O Bo¿e, gdzie ja jestem???' . I was
desperately looking for a familiar face, that I loved so
much that I agreed to go through all that by myself. I was
trying not to look around though because I felt all those
black eyes on me, on the other hand I was forcing myself to
look - out of curiosity? And of course, how would I notice
Rajeev? I thought it lasted hours and I was almost sure that
I gave him wrong time, I was just thinking where I should
call, what should I say and whom to talk to there? A custom
officer? A guard? A policeman? I was about to cry in
helplessness when I recognised my favourite smile in the
crowd. Within one moment, my heart started beating faster, I
smiled, and I even tried to say something, but all I could
do when he approached me was to hug into him and forget
about all that was around us. Men that gazed at me, scary
officers, women with kids, and surrounding us deep dark
It was freezing outside, or maybe I was so stressed that my
blood was not circulating properly. All I wanted was just to
be close to him. To feel his presence. I was simply afraid
of everything that was there and I needed someone to comfort
me. I just needed to be with someone, not alone. Rajeev went
to look for a friend who was supposed to take us to his
place for the night. I stayed there looking around, watching
people who were staring at me, maybe surprised what I was
doing there and why I was hugging 'their man'. I thought
that few minutes lasted for ages. I was shivering and longed
for a shower and a bed.

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