Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One More Nap


The phone rings. It’s Julianne. She’s calling because she’s on the way to pick me up for church, but Jonaki is still sleeping. I tell Julianne I’ll have to skip church today. I’m in no condition for worship anyway. If it was painful last week after the gurudwara, it would be excruciating after my date with Indian wine which, I’m finding, seems a lot stronger than the kind I’m used to, or maybe it’s just that my tolerance is down because I’ve been drinking so little while I’ve been here. Either way, I feel like I might get sick.

Jonaki awakens shortly after Julianne’s phone call, springs up and gets dressed in just a few quick minutes. She’s going to call a cab. The hotel wants to charge her for a full day at first just to drive her home. She says she only got stuck here because of the bomb blasts, why are they taking advantage of her? They say ok. They’ll charge for a half day. It’s still exorbitant for a ride across town. She tries two other services. One leaves her on hold for ten minutes then tells her they don’t have cab in our area. They can’t help. She can’t get through at all to the other number.

She goes downstairs and has some breakfast while I stay upstairs, sitting in a chair with my eyes closed, hoping not to get sick. Jonaki walks out to the gate and finds an auto who will take her for 125 rupees. This is a quarter of what the cab service through the hotel was asking. She’s only worried about the border crossing. She lives in a different state. Delhi is kind of like Washington D.C. It’s its own state. Because of the bombs, Jonaki wonders if the border will be locked down and she won’t be able to switch autos like she normally does when going home. But it works out okay. She gets home fine.

In the meantime, I sleep and sleep and sleep. In fact, I pass the whole day lounging around in bed, watching BBC World News and CNN IBN. Turns out they found a few more bombs that didn’t detonate. One was at India Gate. The others were in a place I don’t recognize. There was an email sent to the press a few minutes before the bombs went off. It said there were nine bombs in all. Something like seven have been found or exploded so far.

Sunday I don’t even have the energy to blog. I am sapped. Drained. Empty. Nothing personally happened to me or anyone I know in connection with the bombings. I have no right to feel like I survived something stressful. All I did was stay in my guesthouse. Still, I do. I feel like I need a day to adjust to this new reality: a Delhi that explodes right under you, a Delhi with blood stains in its markets and auto-rickshaws. It’s sad. When I am trying not to get sick, I feel sad that my safe Delhi is gone. There will always be the question of danger now in my head. I will always feel a little on edge in the markets. I will steer clear of garbage cans, and who knows if I can climb into a rickshaw again? I probably will. I will be one of the hearty Delhiites who go on after an attack, because, really, what else can you do? Hole up and stop talking to people? Stop going places and doing things? Stop living? That’s no kind of life. There is no choice but to return to normal eventually.

After I take another nap, though.

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