The Punjab, February 2012

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Driving to The Golden Temple in Amritsar, February 2012

Someday, perhaps, self will actually sit down to write this story.

She was heading to Amritsar with the Colonel, his beautiful wife, and the Tibetan driver. The musical accompaniment, as we crossed from Himachal Pradesh into Punjab, was “Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree.” Self was trying hard to concentrate.

The reason self was with the colonel was: a few weeks earlier, she’d had a huge fight with her traveling companions and parted ways with them in the small village of Bir.

Self was so angry, she remembered stabbing at some appetizers (Samosas? Pakoras?) on a plate we were all sharing, and the (Samosas? Pakoras?) kept slipping off the tines of her fork. But still she kept jabbing, thinking: I AM GOING TO SPEAR A SAMOSA IF IT’S THE LAST THING I DO. And everyone was sort of mesmerized, just watching. And then finally, after a long, long moment, the woman self will only refer to as Dimples spoke up and said: “Are you okay?” Funny she should ask. No, self was most def NOT okay.

That night, self struck off on her own. On her own! In India! In Himachal Pradesh! Where she didn’t know a soul! First time in India! She couldn’t even speak the language!

She decided she’d visit monasteries and only monasteries. Which was good, because then everyone she met along the way simply assumed she was dying of cancer and was on some kind of spiritual quest.

Unbeknownst to her, the travel agent who’d arranged the trip was having a meltdown. Self called her just before she left India, and she screeched into self’s ear over the phone:

“Oh my God! It’s you! You’re alive! WHERE ARE YOU?”

Self told the travel agent: “I’m in Amritsar.”

And the woman kept thanking heaven that self was ALIVE.

(To be continued)

 

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