Monday, April 16, 2007

my roommates

after 32 hours of travel, my flight arrived on time (10pm) in bangalore amidst flashes of lighting. i fought my way off the plane. you would think it was on fire the way people pushed and shoved for position. yes, i was surely back in india.

the immigration lines were huge. half an hour of sleep walking finally put me in front of a sour faced official. "what happened to your passport?" he asked as he thumbed through it disapprovingly. admittedly my passport is a little worn, but other countries don't seem to care. "it got wet. a long time ago," i replied, which is true. he called over the boss. he asked me the same thing. i repeated myself. the new guy grunted and took his turn poking and prodding the passport for a while. i watched him examine my previous 2 indian visas before he asked "have you been to india before?" cleverly, i said yes. "touche," he must have thought, for i was granted entry.

i fought the crowd for my bags. one of my bags had large X's drawn on it in chalk. uh oh. the chalk got all over my clothes as i wrestled it off the conveyor. i thought i looked like i had been doing blow on the plane, clumsily. or perhaps crazily, scarface style.

customs saw what was left of the chalk marks and gave my bag the high security treatment. more pain, but no bribes or confiscations necessary.

legally in india at last, i found my tiny indian girlfriend hidden amongst the hordes. not the best place for a reunion, but it was great to see her. thankfully, she didn't comment on my chalkiness (literal or figurative) or my greasiness (my last shower was a few days before), or even the fact that i've probably got 30 more pounds on me than the last time i was in town (in my defense i was exceptionally skinny then).

we exited the airport at last. it was hot and rainy outside. the parking lot was pure chaos--honking horns, double and triple parking, and human and vehicular (thankfully no cows) traffic jams. just getting to the car felt like a victory. but that was only one battle in the greater war. it took another 40 minutes to get out of the parking lot once in the car. finally on the "open" road, my girlfriend reminded me what a terrible driver she is. it actually took me months to realize this the last time around. to a newbie, it seems at first it seems that everyone drives maniacally in bangalore, which is sort of true. but there is a skillful maniacal that navigates the chaos well and actually makes sense when you study it, and then there is the unskilled maniacal driving that simply increases the total chaos. it would take me too long to describe my gf's driving, but rest assured, it is completely without sense, and is often terrifying.

somehow we made it safely to the apartment my gf had found. i was so looking forward to collapsing in a comfortable bed. i turned on the lights. it was horrible. all over the kitchen and dining room were cockroaches. massive ones, the big crunchy kind that don't die on the first stomp. 2 inch long antennae, never mind the bodies. my gf screamed and screamed. you don't hear screams like that very often, the kind with pure horror behind them. she was useless to me in her state of shock. something primitive took over and began to kill. i hunted and i killed and then i killed some more. twitching corpses soon littered the two rooms. the bedrooms and bathrooms were next, where their numbers were thankfully fewer.

i gave the all clear signal. i welcomed myself home.