I close my eyes. The warm air caresses my face and my bare arms. The gentle sound of the bike blends with the noise of the autos practically scraping my knees as they squeeze by as they ‘must’ do. Overtaking is the norm. No waiting till the road is clear as the road is never clear! The road although being repaired in time for the forthcoming elections is bumpy and I slide forward into the back of my friend. Not being able to find the courtesy handles (they are either under my buttocks or his and a search right now is totally out of the question!) my hands are on his shoulders which are feeling damp as a result of my sweat rather than his warmth I suspect. The heat (currently 34 degrees and humid) is all relative. For me it is hotter than any day I might experience in the UK. I drip with sweat going up the stairs … for the locals we are just coming out of winter! Here on the bike with this breeze is luxury. As I keep my eyes closed my heart and my eyes fill with emotion. We are returning from the local hospital for treatment for this cough and fever that I have had for some time. He and the doctor insist that I rest now. My cycle will have to stay parked for a few days. He will bring my breakfast in a carry bag on his bike in the morning. Where else would I find this kind of care and love. I may not be able to find envelopes or printer ink. Nor can I easily find perfume or bubble bath but then what use would they be here. If I have to choose (which I don’t) I would choose love and friendship over commodities any day.
And maybe now I will begin to learn to ride my own motorbike!
(I have been reading a book of short stories ‘India bites you somehow’ and I realise how many short stories I have and want to tell. India is just too special to keep to oneself. You may be put off from coming to India forever if you have never been or maybe just maybe you may decide to take that risk and come to this amazing place. You will either love it or hate and whichever you decide will be totally understandable).