Kings of Leon – The Runner
The immigration officer gives me a stirn look and then mumbles something I can’t understand. Only later I realize that he was asking about my facemask. Well good that I didn’t understand. Starting a discusion about swineflue in Rajasthan would have stretched this longer than it already takes. He looks at my Visa that is another three days valid and starts counting.
“When did you arrive in India?”
Is this a test how good I know my own Visa? 4th of September as it says there in big, inkt blue letters.
“Where have you been?”
Well. A lot of places. I start listing them and stop when I get to Kerala as he is not listening.
“What have you done?”
Can somebody tell this guy that I am leaving India not entering it? For a moment I feel tempted to give him a list:
– I spend 2 weeks on a houseboat in the century floodings in kashmir
– I met the Dalai Lama face to face
– I melted plastic with sun rays
– I attended goverment meetings in Wayanad
– I attended an Indian wedding
– I learned Katak on the beach of the Bay of Bengal
– I drifted into the new year in a mud pool
– I did tripli (only indians know what that means)
– I learned about indian NGO history (and its not pretty)
– I met incredible people, saw incredible nature
– I sat on back of a truck with 19 indians, travelled endless hours on busses, trains and airplanes with crying babies
– and I learned the Art of life in Jaipur (or lets say refined, looks to me that I am already pretty good at it)
– but very, very recently I spend 7 hours on a train that came 6 hours late and the kid in my compartment vomitted on the floor halfway through the trip and nobody cleaned it up so can you please let me through so I can get some much needed rest.
Tempting, really. But I go with: “I travelled, talked to people, took some pictures. The usual stuff I guess.”
Another stirn look. Then he stamps my Visa once and my flight ticket thrice. Done.
When planning this trip out of India it was unclear what to do with the 9 hours between arriving by train and boarding the plane. Well thanks to North Western Indian Railways this problem got solved. I arrive at the gate 20 minutes before boarding.
A couple of days later: My breath regular but fast, my heart is pounding, I’m sweating sunscreen. I am trying to keep up the pace but my calves are protesting. I am so out of shape.
– Mambo rafiki.
– Habari aso buhi?
– Hakuna Matata.
My Swahili is getting better. Or better to say: My recognition of certain social patterns in the language. But thanks to those patterns you can get surprisingly far with 10-12 words.
I reach my turning point and rest and stretch my legs for some minutes. Fishermen bringing their catch on the white, white beach. The reef behind them is in serious decline. Wading a couple of meters in the turkise waters and you’ll find sea urchins in vast numbers. An inbalance in the ecosystem due to overfishing. The last couple days I have been researching possibilities to implent a biorock project  grassroots style. It is interesting and fun but I am missing the key element so far. Contacting the grassroots (local community). But my work will provide possibilities for that.
I can call myself a project manager now. Which means I have to take care of the finishing of a solar training center. Although I am a mechanical engineer and not an architect I have been appointed to this function with the argument that it is at this point a common sense job. Well so far they were right and I am definitely not complaining about spending six weeks in Zanzibar.
The tide is low, it is almost noon and the sun is blazing. I start running back. India has cost me a lot of weight. It shows in my face, chest and bum. But I am determined to get it back. And I have a powerful ally. Mumini the cook. The prospect of plenty of nutrient rich food and fresh mango makes my steps lighter. My body barely contains fat. Loosing weight means loosing muscles. Same goes for gaining. Shut up calves we are doing this.