Monday, November 06, 2006
There's a feeling, just before plane wheels hit the tarmac, as the new city/country/landscape's resolving itself into buildings and people, when I usually feel great fear.
And real annoyance: I could have not launched this and hurtled into the unfamiliar. That would have, afterall, been a lot easier.
I could be home for starters - with R and comfy. (We could be making coffee right now.)
The fear quadruples coming into land in India. In this case I know the place, but the approach is dispiriting, browner each time. (Landing into most Indian metropolisis is not attractive, at all. The airport interiors aren't either and emerging from the aiport into the throngs of taxi-wallahs and out-and-out touts, is unsettling and raucus. And only the trip in from the Delhi airport is not also shocking.)
But now emerging out the other end of the trip: final chai at Leopolds, final chance to catch the garland makers by the temple at daybreak, final shower requiring the anticipatory turning on of the water heater 15 minutes beforehand, final head wiggle, hand twist and oddly formal yet inverted Indian English - and then, like that, I'll be off.
I spoke to Rus last night on the phone - told him I'd seen an elephant that morning. The elephant-wallah (mahout?) invited me:
Madame, come touch?
C - starting her goodbyes