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Prasann Karna (To Rejoice)

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Dec. 28th, 2011 | 04:33 pm

At first I thought Mumbai would be game, set and match, me dragging my sorry, no-doubt-still-dripping ass back to civilization in a haze of exhaust fumes and the gritty, stinging dust that is perpetually something in my eye. The waiter only brought me fifties in change, but it was too close to midnight to fight. I overpaid the rickshaw driver by a factor of five. The ice cream was nearly a mile away. And even riding the success of ice cream (once found), I turned my head too late while waving goodnight to the desk clerk and rang a concrete pillar with my skull. There was no wifi. I woke at 5AM, the clerk still wrapped in a royal tent of mosquito netting around his floor mattress, behind the desk.

But then today, a 30km ride for $6.50. The museum I wanted to see found itself across the street. The lady in the tourist office helpfully delayed the man who’d walked me in. In the garment district I learned a sari’s proper price, then strode through blocks of stationery and office supplies, unshaded bulbs above tiny doorways marking Notary, Attorney, Publisher. I navigated vegetables, the neighborhood that sells pipe, the street of locksmiths and keys. Trim stray dogs gently observed my progress—one rolled over on his back, legs sprawled, belly ready, and I thought, that is one hopeful dog. I crossed streets at a constant pace, ignoring buses and honking mopeds, paid a metered taxi fare, and bought a ticket in the ladies’ compartment on the local—local!—all the way to my district, then fended off the waiter. The geyser switch brought fast, hot water, the bucket shower a new pleasure as the dirt swirled down the drain.

Bombay, you are crazy.

But may I ask your good self—Did you ever jump up and down on the hood of a stranger’s car? Drive cross-country with a carful of drunk mimes? Dance in a fire shower?

Me, too.


whipchick may have to get a bucket shower.



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Comments {7}

tigrkittn

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from: tigrkittn
date: Dec. 28th, 2011 10:26 pm (UTC)
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My favorite bit of this was "carful of drunk mimes"

I'm just sayin'.

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Jan. 4th, 2012 12:57 am (UTC)
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Thanks :) It was across Macedonia to Bulgaria, and they spoke the language and we didn't (ironic!)--we kept thinking they were asking for directions, but then we visited three liquor stores in a row and caught on! Also, there is no open-container law. Just sayin'.

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Andrea Blythe

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from: blythe025
date: Dec. 28th, 2011 11:17 pm (UTC)
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Ah! There's the bad and the good and it all sounds amazing!

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Jan. 4th, 2012 12:57 am (UTC)
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Thanks - it's still just sinking in now that I'm back! I want to hit this piece for a rewrite later, I'm not sure I've really found the "point" of it yet.

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Myrna

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from: myrna_bird
date: Dec. 29th, 2011 11:51 pm (UTC)
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I can see your travels have given you much to rejoice about!

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Jan. 4th, 2012 12:58 am (UTC)
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Big time :)

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A Karmic Sandbox

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from: karmasoup
date: Jan. 27th, 2012 11:15 pm (UTC)
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Okay, the jumping up and down on the hood of a stranger's car... that's a story I'd like to see!

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