I’m on the last part of a six hour train ride from Old Delhi Station to Haridwar in Uttarakhand. Anjou and her son are in the berth across from me and Raj Kumar was in the berth above. I boarded at 5 am and the train left at quarter of. Booking my trip to India only a couple of weeks ago, I only just got around to checking for train tickets. Hadn’t really decided where to go.
Imagine coming to the States with a ticket to New York and contemplating upon arrival if you’re going to hop a train to Baton Rouge or North Dakota, because, what the heck, it’s all an adventure, right? So I booked a train for the last night, and got waitlisted. Assuming I might not get off the waitlist, I booked this train for 5:50 am as well, but I didn’t go so far as to book a hotel, meaning I did the dumbest thing possible: flying into one of the most expensive and dubiously treacherous cities in India with no actual place to go upon arrival.
I just need to check the website to see if I should go to the train station an hour north of the airport to catch my train or if I should find a hotel for the train station an hour south of the airport where my morning train would depart from. The tourist bureau in the airport has no actual suggestions of where I can get on the internet, I take a taxi to the hotel area, then to the tourist beaureau, then to a hotel.
I’m still waitlisted so I’ll take the morning train. I slept from 3 am to 5 am before my flight, took a six hour flight and a twelve hour flight, on which I slept three more hours. Passed through 11 time zones, slept 4 hours at the hotel, and now it’s morning time again. How does it keep being morning again with so little night?
My going-away dinner for my third trip to India was very casual. I haven’t written pages and pages of intentions for my big journey. There’s something very casual and very natural about coming back here. People can tell it’s not my first time here. I’m already back to speaking the broken English I have found to be highly understandable in communicating with people here. I paid for the hotel with left over rupees from my last trip. There was a minimal amount of nausea in the death-defying road race of Indian traffic. I even forgot to pack toilet paper. Part of me is afraid that it’s almost too natural, that the parts of me I’m hoping to leave behind have come along for the ride. Though I know it is delusion to thing that I left them behind the last time. We come with who we are, wherever we are. Sometimes it just feels a little more momentous.