Monday, December 12, 2011

Aurangabad back to Mumbai

   Vidal Paz § From Granada to Mumbai

In the morning, I took a rickshaw to the guest house where Sang Hee and her friends were staying and
after having breakfast, we headed to the bus for the slow ride back to Mumbai.

It was a bit cramped on the bus, but every few hours we would stop and get a chance to stretch our legs and get a snack and a drink.

Most of the time we just talked.

Over the past three days, she'd mentioned her disease many times, so I figure she'd mentioned it enough that I could ask her what she had. She said that doctors had found a cluster of tumors in her uterus and wanted to operate immediately. She was holding off for as long as she could because she knew she would never be able to have children after the surgery. Instead, she took a year off from the stress of teaching and all the "should-dos" of life in Korea and moved in with her brother, who lives in Bangkok. She started studying yoga and other things, hoping that a change in lifestyle would help.

Then, at her brother's house on Christmas Eve, the local Korean priest and his family were there for dinner, she said during the prayer her brother made everyone pray for her that she stops doing yoga because it's evil and is twisting her mind. She got so angry at him that she told him off in front of everyone, telling him he should study about things before he says something like that and that yoga doesn't twist, it unifies your mind and body. Then she decided on the spot to become a Buddhist and let her brother know it, too! She said her mother was Buddhist before she got married, so she felt like she was honoring her mother.

My heart was in my throat listening to her but she was strong and told me that in her last check up before coming to India, the tumors had begun to shrink.

Over my time in India, I'd heard a few times about "Om Shanti Om", a new Bollywood film staring Shahrukh, India's newest hunk and Deepika Padukone, the gorgeous swimsuit model turned actress. The small TV in the bus was playing a bootlegged copy of the film, which didn' t have subtitles but was easy to follow... As far as past Bollywood films I've watched (which isn't many) this one was the only one that actually kept my attention until the end. It was really fun actually. The plot revolved around a wannabe actor who dies trying to rescue the famous actress he loves in a fire started by her evil manager. He is reborn, and in his next life unknowingly avenges their deaths.

Eventually, we arrived in Pune, where we thought we could catch a train to Mumbai, but Indian trains being as they are, it was better to take another bus so we crossed over and caught the bus just in time. We got to the Mumbai airport just in time. Somehow, she managed to get in through the check point without a ticket so I could wait inside with her. We'd only spent three days together but it was difficult to say goodbye. According to Buddhist philosophy, we've all been each other's mothers and fathers but I wondered if Sang Hee and I might have been siblings a few times along the way as well!

On my own, again, I figured I should take a taxi back to Coloba, since I knew way way around there. The taxi driver I ended up with was Muslim, so I got the feeling he only wanted to take me to a Muslim run guesthouse. Every place I mentioned to him from my guide book he either told me he didn't know where it was or it was full but insisted that his friend's place was very nice and he'd get me a good price. (translation; he will get himself a good commission.) When I told him I really wanted to stay at one place, he made a loop around the block, said he couldn't find it (I couldn't remember the exact street) the pulled into the Taj Mahal Hotel, the most expensive place in India, a cup of tea is $12! Before I even had a chance to say I couldn't stay there, he smacked into a car parked in the lot. As the security guard came running over, he backed up and peeled out as fast as he could and I figured I'd just let him take me where he wanted before we get killed!

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