Chapter 6. The rusty scalpel (India, part I).

September 1st 2014

Dear Grandma,

This chronicle is dedicated only to you.

P.D.: I know you do not understand very well what we are doing. I mean, quit our job, sell everything and start an absurd journey when I am almost 40 years old. Maybe you think I started this journey to escape our lives, and perhaps you have some reason, but I will tell you that we have traveled because what we do not want to miss out is life. So that when we leave this world we are convinced that we will have given almost everything, without being able to regret the chances we had and we did not take advantage. Before leaving, we would like to reach all our dreams.
I will not be the one who disappoint you, here you go a brief summary of how our landing was on one of the most unique countries in the world: India. And I will have to explain some little bad news. It was at the entry into the country.


It was just before boarding the plane in Istanbul, when my stomach got hurting. It was not a normal pain. I tried to fix it by going to the airport services, but it did not get any better. I had little choice, because in a few mintues we were boarding our plane. I endured and endured, hiding the pain to not scare Lore. Those who know her we know Lore know that she’s a spirit like yours, a grandma in a girl’s body, so events like this can affect her very much. And so I was down to my seat. The plane took off and the pain seemed to diminish. It even seemed to disappear. Perhaps the distraction of a movie that I really liked and I can recommend it from these lines, entitled “Nebraska”. But in the end, the pain came and went. Intermittently. Until we reached Mumbai at 6am. There seemed to disappear entirely. But far from it. The torment would continue a few hours later.

Our first impression of India was: weird. Just landed, we queued and we were told by the police to fill out a paper as we have not been to countries at risk of infect Ebola, the new epidemic fashion. It was weird because before me it was a man who tried to bribe handing out papers with a wad of cash in hand. The dealer did not even notice, but so his colleague, who jumped at the briber euphorically asking “how can I help you?”.

When we finally arrived to show and deliver the certificate crossing the border from the airport, we arrived at those boxes in which they ask you for your passport and you have to wait your turn. While we were waiting for ours, we saw a poor Spanish in her 50’s showing two passports, hers and her husband (I guess), who was lying on the ground 10 meters beyond absolutely drunk.

As it was 6 in the morning, we decided to have some stuff at the airport, we needed to recharge our batteries. I have been in India twice, so I knew that Lore would spend a few days to adapt. India is tough. That is why we did not hurry to catch a taxi and go into the jungle of Bombay. We would rather take a little air before plunging into this city of 80 kilometers in diameter filled with people where there is no car that does not honk. They spend more time with his finger on the lever horn with hand on gearshift. Surely the first lesson is entitled “Playing the horn at all times.”


Around 7 AM we decided to go to the city center and we found the Modern Hotel, and I promise you grandma with all due respect and love, you’re way more modern. As we did not want to spend much time around that dark room, we decided to drop the bags and go for a ride. The street of the hotel was typical of this country, with rubbish and crows everywhere, an air that carries a fermented smell that penetrates your soul. An eternal sound that is installed in the bowels of your brain, and people and animals coming out of every corner.

And that’s when my stomach aching returned. In fact, it was never gone, but so far had been very weak. We decided to visit the “shopping center” to check if we could find a little pharmacy, but we had no luck. As I described Lore, she told me that I had all the symptoms of being suffering from an appendicitis’ attack. We were desperate. The last thing you want to is visiting a hospital in a country like India. I cannot imagine being lied on a dirty stretcher to a doctor with a rusty scalpel in his hand and ready to surgeon with a dubious origin degree hanging on the wall of his office.


But the pain did not lessen. And when you live that kind of situation you realize that life is a moment that at times can seem longer than it really is. As fast time goes when everything goes well! However, when something hurts, time slows down and stretches. In response, we chose to take a taxi to drive us to the nearest pharmacy. The poor guy did not understand anything we said. So he stood in the street and asked some passersby if anyone spoke English. Fortunately, one translated the word “pharmacy” in Hindi. Lore jumped out and went hurriedly. From the car I saw her talking and I feared the worst. However, in a few minutes she returned with some pills. Then we returned to the Hotel Modern waiting to for the pills to work. And indeed the pain almost disappeared.

We took this opportunity to chill the body. After two hours, we woke up and the pain was almost gone. We opted to put up with the evolving view. I took some pills every 6 hours, and so I was forgetting the pain. Slowly everything returned to its natural state but Lore my private nurse, told me that it can happen again at any time. Her diagnosis was indeed that I had a small attack of appendicitis. If it came back and was stronger, we would have no choice on knocking the door of a hospital.


As the center of Mumbai is a mess and is very expensive even though it is India, we decided to find a hotel on the outskirts, where we spent three nights. Enough to consider what we would do while we were waiting the bike, we had to wait for it around 25 days. So we decided to take the train for 13 hours and head to Goa, a bubble in India’s stress that until 1961 was a Portuguese colony. We do not feel cheerful about not having the bike, but it does enables us to travel using the most popular way of transport in the country: the train, the legacy of the British during their conquest, as well as cricket, the national sport of the country and its language. If you are visiting India, getting on a train and experience the feelings is almost mandatory.


And so was our entry into India, a country that seems to be full of kids (kids are kids and adults are kids with mustache), and where everything is upside down. If you want to visit India, do not try to understand anything. Do not even compare their culture with yours. If you do, you can end up crazy. We know a lot of cases of people who came to spend a month, and did not last three days. India is tough. It is crazy. And as they say that intelligence is nothing more than the ability to adapt to change, we try to do as well as we can. If everything is upside down here, we adapt. If you want to survive in a country like this there is no choice.

* Dreaming is free. Make them reality, perhaps not. This piece of dream has come true thanks to APIC – Asia Pacific International College, Go Study Australia, foto24 and Dynamic Line, thanks to our partners, and most of all thanks to you. And do not forget: If you can dream it, you can do it.


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