Sunday, 9 October 2011

Freewheelin’ in India - Day 9: Tailor-made, travelling Troubadour

BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, “FUCK, FUCK, FUCK”, you snooze, you lose, this time only minutes, but still enough to make me rush. I chucked the final nails into my coffin, then threw it on my back and jumped into a waiting Rickshaw which drove us in a hurry to Agra train station. We were running late and worried, which by now we should have learnt not to, since transport rarely runs on time. We got there through our panic to find our train delayed by three hours. Brilliant. We adopted a tired pose in our spot on a shaded bench as the morning sun started to bear down on the beautiful city below. Whilst waiting a young homeless kid came begging. I walked him to the food stand, and got him a couple of samosas, which he promptly devoured before laying satisfied on the platform floor, smiling at me. Sarah was snoozing on said bench, and I was constantly accosted by men pointlessly offering to shine my trainers. For the first time since I’ve been here I was forced to raise my voice. One of the shoe shining guys went to grab Sarah’s foot, as she lay blissfully unaware of everyone around me, but my Lion-from-London-like roar of “OI!” did enough to make him vacate his skin and disappear.

We arrived in Delhi with only a few hours to spare. We went and met Sunni, a guy Sarah knew that ran a hotel in the Main Bazaar. He was a really chilled, cool Sikh guy that allowed us to lighten our loads, leaving a bag of stuff we didn’t need with him until we return a week or so later. He also recommended a local tailor that could make me a few suits, and even took me there in order to overcome the language barrier. With his bi-lingual benefits, Sarah’s expertise in fashion and design and my bartering skills, I managed to arrange two three-piece suits to be awaiting my return to Delhi, working out to around £60 each. They’ll look great on me as I sit on the pavement outside some shitty East London boozer, sharing a spliff with my nearest and dearest.

After a lacklustre lunch in a café named Nirvana, we were informed that the piece of shit, cock sucker at the travel agency in Agra lied to us about the distance of the bus depot, and it was actually a forty-five minute drive away rather than the five minute walk we were told. We had thirty minutes to get there. We jumped at the first auto-rickshaw we found, agreeing to whatever inflated price they requested, saying ‘drive motherfucker, drive’. He sped through the traffic, as we panicked yet again.

We arrived late to find a group of fellow travellers who claimed they’d been waiting since 4pm. It was now nearing 7. I got chatting to this English girl named Jess, who said she lived on the Roman Road, another East Londoner. We waited at the bus stop and I went off to get some water for the journey as Sarah was feeling really unwell. As I was paying, I saw a bus, and it was ours. I jumped on, telling them to drive me to my lover, and we pulled in to see her looking surprised as I stood in the window waving.

We’d luckily made it, but unluckily we now had a thirteen hour journey ahead of us, both feeling ill, with no toilet on board. The drivers mate came along taking names and giving out sick bags. He tried to tell me that we had to pay an extra 200 rupees luggage charge for each putting a bag in the boot, but I told him there was a stone in the seat behind offering blood, and he’d be better off trying over there. He lingered a while, whilst I did my famous ‘I’m either asleep, or ignoring you’ impression until he finally fucked off. For every one good, honest person over here, and believe me there are a good few, there are two unscrupulous bastards that see a foreign face and decide to dish out Vaseline for the imminent arse-raping. Unfortunately for them, I wear a chastity belt, and only Sarah holds the worn out, old key.

After a few hours of our bumpy ride, I jumped off the bus, chucking my earlier meal all over the stony side of the road. I felt like shit and think it was the uninspiring ‘margarita’ pizza I’d eaten earlier which they, for some unknown reason, covered in dreaded onions. Yuck. I sparked up a hash joint with Sarah beside me, who had also dropped off her insides at the roadside, but with a little more grace than my weary face. We boarded the uncomfortable bus, I semi-reclined my semi-reclining seat, and took my first ever valium. I’ve always avoided sleeping pills as what with my sleep problems, usually being unable to stop thinking for hours as I stare at the clouds on my bedroom ceiling, I worry they’d become something I’d use too frequently. I’m also of the thinking that if you take uppers, you should be willing to ride back down, instead of treating your body as if it has its own on and off switches.

I awoke about four hours later, and couldn’t get comfortable, so I laid in the aisle, listening to the engine hum and trying to drift. The bus must’ve pulled to a halt, as I felt somebody climb over my corpse. The next minute I took a boot to the face from some dozy German chick who apologised profusely. I didn’t mind, it was my fault, laying there face down in all black with my hood up. I got off and had a chai, chatting to Jess and an older English guy whilst watching person after person exit a small van, passing babies out from the open roof, clambering out of the top like a circus clown car. Must’ve been at least thirty of them, all dressed in dirty white clothes. It was quite the amusing sight, and the one that ended my night.

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