Monday, May 11, 2009
One more day in Delhi. It seems that Uncle Sal (my Dad’s pet name for salmonella) decided to leave me a birthday present in my spinach cannelloni. It was a gift delivered on my birthday, but not opened until the following morning. At least I can say that I have now vomited in a public urinal in Delhi. Yes, it was as bad as it sounds. Let’s not relive the details though, ok? We hurried back to the hotel, bogged down by the triple digit heat every step of the way.
We actually sprung for a really posh place for my birthday. So if I’m going to be sick, this is the room to let loose in. But at thirty bucks a night, we can’t afford to stay long. One more day, one more bout with food poisoning.
In India, it seems every dining experience is a spin of the roulette wheel. Every spoonful lands on either red or black. We have been fed rotten food five times collectively now over the period of six weeks. Week after week, the odds have been in our favor. But, sooner or later the house always wins.
Two days have passed since my little ordeal. Now that we’re finally here in the mountain town of Vashisht, Lisa found that she should have placed her bet on black instead of red. Her last meal in Delhi, caught up with her here in the foothills of the Himalaya. Food poisoning is annoyingly persistent that way. But at least the symptoms were well mannered enough to wait until we checked into our new room. Poor thing, she’ll feel better in the morning.
I sit with my Tom Robbins book, nearly asleep in ‘frog pajamas’ myself. Then a billowy storm system rolls into the valley. For a mere 200 rupees per night - approx four U.S. dollars - our room boasts a wall of windows that allow sweeping views of the Himalayan range, prefaced with a river carved gorge below. With this view, I can spy every craggy ridge and every slot coulier. And this gift of rain dances upon the landscape; it may be the most refreshing act of nature I have seen in India so far.
I wake from my lethargic fog, and dust the 14 hour bus ride to the floor. A greater sense of awareness falls gently upon my shoulders and I realize that I feel as if I’m home. The mountains always steer me towards that direction. And with the trials we have been pitted up against in this country, I have to say that it’s about damn time! A quote by Ruskin Bond pops into my mind: “Once you have lived with mountains for any length of time, you belong to them and must return again and again.” Right on, so very, very right on.
I haven’t been inspired to write a poem for quite a while, but suddenly here I am pressing the pen to the paper for the first time in well over a year.
And to my chagrin, it happens again
New place, new face(s)
Only this time, rain the wet blanket
It’s familiar touch, soothes souls and such
The Vashisht drops, she never stops
Only a rainbow can save us now
If that rainbow comes out tomorrow, we hope to head to the hills and get some climbing in!