Tuesday, March 16, 2010

He talked about living for 3 years in Africa, just falling from moment to moment, not belonging to anything or anyone, being free to live on the wave of life without being caught into its sinking pull .

Last night I went on a hunt for weed with Kana, my Japanese friend. We had dinner together on campus and started talking about how awesome it would to just chill and smoke a joint together. We both pulled out our phones and made some calls, but our sources were dry. So we hoped into a mini cab and had him drive us for 30 minutes from JNU in South Delhi into the city center. $3 CND, which we argued down from $3.25. (Not proud of the act, but accept it as one would accept anything else while walking amongst the Romans.) She said she knew a street called Pahar Ganj where foreigners and backpackers were supposed to gather and flock or whatever the hell backpackers do, and that we stood a chance of getting it there.

She was the pro. I was the rookie in training.

This road was filthy, with people offering us all kinds of stuff to buy at all kinds of prices, at 11:30 at night. Everything, save for a little weed. So we went to this hotel rooftop where she thought there'd be some people smoking for sure. At this point I begin to think she was making this shit up, seeing as when we got to the top we were greeted with an empty roof. No weed on the street, no weed on the roofs - what was a Canadian and Japanese to do?

We clearly weren't getting any ganja up there (they literally call it Ganja here, btw).

So we decided to stop and enjoy a banana shake on the roof while we regrouped.

Undeterred we try our next option: stopping people on the street who look like were regular pot smokers (not an easy task amongst Western backpackers who all look like they could use a bath!). After passing by a few of 'them', we realized that that wasn't happening, because we had zero balls between the both of us and couldn't approach anyone. We were talking about how much we sucked when we saw one dude who, upon first glance, easily became our mark. Dirty. Unshaven. Sweaty. Hair in Rasta. Perfect, stereotypically speaking.

Kana walks up to him, strikes up a convo, and asks him if he smokes. The guy turns out to be from Barcelona, and he buys us some tea. He's sketchy at first, but calm and cool. Plus, I have a few Spanish friends on campus who are pretty chill, so I could read his Spanish body language well enough to know that he wasn't a lunatic!

We sit, chat for a while over tea, and he explains to us that the hotel he's staying offered him some hashish earlier in the day. He'd just arrived in Delhi from a 12 hour train ride from outside the city. He talked about living for 3 years in Africa, just falling from moment to moment, not belonging to anything or anyone, being free to live on the wave of life without being caught into its sinking pull . Kana and I talked about our degrees, our stories, and watched the stray dogs walk by, the bicycle rickshaws haul past us with their human cargo, and ignored the ubiquitous smell of piss that filled the street we sat by.

Finally we got up and followed our new Spaniard to his hotel. To say the place was shady is an understatement. He knocked on the door of this white building that had some small 2x2ft sign with red painted writing advertising it as a hotel. A nasty looking man opened the door, his sweaty wife beater was pulled over a protruding gut that could have housed twins. He wouldn't let us up to our friends room. 'No guests at this hour' he said firmly. My friend said 'no no, it's ok, 4 min only, they want buy hashish'.

We were then kindly escorted past the front door.

The Spaniard walked in front of me, with Kana following behind. As I turned to go up the stairs, I heard Kana yell "WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING? WHAT IS THIS SHIT?" and I turn to see her confronting the fat belly at the door. I walk over, she turns and says that this fucker just grabbed her breast.

Let me explain this place one more time, It's dark and it looks like the dirties hotel you've ever seen. It's narrow, filthy, and lit only by the small television's flicker.

So I walk up to them and ask the guy who the fuck he thinks he is, to which his response is a very indifferent "sorry, no no Sorrry so sorry". Fucker. What can we do? We walk away pissed and feeling a lot less safe, and she explained to me that that kind of shit happened often. We decided to continue, between each other we agreed that we'd come this far, so to stick it through. We had a goal, damn it.

So we're introduced to a small brownish, tootsie role looking ball. It smelled like tootsie role too. Hash... Our friend lit the ball with a lighter, smelled it, and confirmed through his stereotypical wisdom that it was solid stuff. 500 Rupees for the half, and we're told that we really need to leave. We're being harassed by a new guy who said that 'during the day this business ok, i no mind. u sit, you smoke, u do ok but now, go, please go.' No problem, I thought. Then we exchange a bit of our hash for some of our Spaniard's weed, we shake on it and wish each other good luck... but not before smoking a small bit of weed while the manager watched and kept on with his insistences.

The moment our feet hit the dirty pavement we turned and high fived, mission accomplished.

We drove back to JNU singing songs in French that we'd just made up, admiring each other's determination and success at our joint venture. ;)

Once arrived, we collaborated further by using cigarette filters to role two hash joints, and one weed joint. We walked to the statue of Jawaharlal Nehru, who our university is named after for having liberated India politically from the Brits. We blazed one under the stars with Nehru Ji http://www.jnu.ac.in/JNIAS/Nehru.jpg , and talked about life, childhoods, memories, and that time she made her friend she lovingly called "Peanut" (on account of his looking like a peanut) take off his clothes for her in public.

We then walked through the winding maze of stone paths that lead us through the main campus area, until we hit the road, and walked towards the rock outcropping nearby which are lovingly referred to as PSR rocks for reasons unknown to me. There, we lit up another joint, in the complete darkness under a open sky. At that altitude we could see all of campus and hear all of the insects, animals and whatever else that lives in the immense forest that surrounds us. The lit buildings that are distanced by the trees sudden lose power, and the black of night sudden gets darker. At exactly 4 am a group of birds begin to call to one another with loud 'squaaws'. They are all around us, calling back to each other, their voices flowing perfectly between distances of several kilometers. As they stop, Kana and I instinctively call back, imitating their calls from the top of our rock. They respond to our cries from all directions, and we laugh and laugh at this amazing discovery.

I retired to my room after finishing our last joint, and read from Catcher in the Rye, and waited for the sun to stop rising and for me to fall asleep.

Living in this country for the next two years could suck really badly, but I've lived long enough to know that the opportunities that exist here for me to enjoy myself are too numerous to be bogged down by the discomforts of a developing world and foreign culture. I hope that throughout the rest of my life I can find myself capable of realizing this fact in all situations I find myself in. If I died right now at this moment I will have known that today was a good day because I made it so. And in a sense, defying the restrictions or negative thoughts associated with our humanly shared fear of death.