Feeling: OVERWHELMED, OUT OF MY DEPTH
Landing in Delhi Airport was probably the step I was most apprehensive about. The boys at work had told me how busy and chaotic the terminals could get and how I’d be stared at by a lot of men, so I took this into consideration when deciding what to wear. Cue shapeless, floor length baggy clothes and scarf tied to cover up my blonde hair! Luckily I was landing at 5.30am, so it wouldn’t be such a humming beehive.
First step of customs, I had an angry young Indian lad who just wasn’t in the mood to be there. He spent an age, an absolute aaaaaaaage, looking at my passport; I had no idea if he was trying to determine if it really was me, or was just taking great joy in freaking me out. After a century or so of him flicking through the pages to see where I’d been, he handed me back my documents and I (eventually, after figuring my way through the tangling maze of ropes) made my way to the next customs officer. Yet another century went by as he searched each page for the stamp initial Angry Lad was meant to have given me, until it was determined the bastard had in fact not done so and I had to scamper back to be issued with one.
Christ, it was like trying to get ten bucks out of a wizened old Dutchman (I’d like to point out my Grandad and Dadda Henio are the two exceptions to this stereotype). Angry Lad beckoned his friend over and they drilled me with questions. Where was I going and what was I doing? Was I alone? Oh, alone? So not in a group? All On your own? At this stage I started seeing visions of the two following me and abducting me out a side door, but luckily the interrogation stopped and I went on my way. But I was on edge, oh boy was I on edge.
Next stop, suitcase pick up. Heavens above, it was there in all it’s silver tinsel adorned glory! I fist pumped myself on having it turn up, then headed out of arrivals to domestic departures. This shit was going swimmingly! Although my heart was hammering.
I checked in for my next flight to Dehra Dun. The cheeky, charming chap on the desk lifted my spirits as he told me I was “a beautiful flower rose” (middle name) and proceeded to put my bag through as priority. Second fist pump and not even 6.12am!
Then it went a bit downhill. I strode into the screening hall and faultered. I swear it was like a movie; hundreds of Indian male eyes swivelled my way and just looked. And looked. I do bask in and enjoy attention I’ll be the first to admit, but in a strange foreign place when you’re extremely overtired and just wanting to call your mum makes such third party observation rather unideal. I downcast my eyes and stepped in line, literally praying under my breath to just get through it and take deep breaths. A fair few squirts of rescue remedy here seemed necessary.
Finally I got out the other side after a brief pat down in the “lady tent” and being forced to run for a luggage tag and having to leave my bags with the officials. But I was through, I was out, now all I wanted to do was connect to the wifi and viber Deb or Henio to calm me down. I firmly believe that no matter what age I am, even if I have children of my own, the moment I need a voice of reason I’ll be dialling Henio’s number, or if I need someone to feel sorry for me it’ll be onto Mumma Deb.
Anyway, it wouldn’t connect so after finding out from the information desk I needed an Indian SIM card to get online, it become apparent that the departures lounge does not sell them. Only arrivals. Fantastic! I wallowed in self pity in the Body Shop for a good twenty minutes, tears fully streaming down as I tried on all the testers. Then I pulled it together. I splashed water on my face, went and set up a posy to recline in for the next four hours and jammed out 30 squats behind a drinks machine (not best way to go when you want men to stop staring at you, but fuck ’em).
This is where writing is the most incredible release ever. I’ve typed up a few blog posts to upload ONCE I FINALLY GET FUCKING WIFI and I feel all good again. Writing gives me the opportunity to escape, to completely lose myself in words and I absolutely love it. Whenever I doubt myself or my capabilities at all, I put pen to paper (or more the case, fingers to keys) and this surge of betterment always overcomes me. It’s comforting to have that outlet, that’s for sure.
And just then, a gorgeous wee Indian boy of about five years old came over to me, introduced himself and showed me his t-shirt. My heart just melted and I felt like an idiot. These men staring aren’t menacing or being sleazy, they’re just people who do not see young white girls on the daily. I just need to chill the fuck out and smile.