It is almost midnight now, and after five hours at the police station, I finally get to my hotel room in Mysore. I try not to think about the surreal day I have just gone through, but the flashes of the TV cameras and the questions (from the officers and journalists) are still vivid: "Madam, what happened?", "Are you ok, would you like to drink some chai?", "Do you recognize the two boys, madam?".
THE NEXT DAY, I GOT THE NEWSPAPER AND THERE I WAS...
I desperately need a shower, and I am so happy that the water is cold. It is only March, but already the heat makes it impossible to sleep without a fan. I then put on my pijamas and wonder one more time how it must be to be in the South of India during summer. I feel a bit more fresh, but my body is still exhausted, my mind is in deep confusion, and my emotions take control. So I cry one more time, because I realize how far away I am from my home... I am not sure but it must be around 15.000 kilometres apart. It sounds like a lot, but that is only the physical distance. What about the cultural, pshycological, culinary, architectural, and spiritual distance, just to name a few?
I am a white woman, traveling alone in India. I arrived in Kochi two weeks ago, and I have already been to Allepey, Munnar and Kannur. It's been wonderful, but I won't lie: I am still getting used to the spicy food, the full speed bus journeys, and the reactions of the people when they see me. Here I feel like a Hollywood actress, always getting all the attention: in a restaurant, at the train station or even on the streets:
Hello! What's your name?
Where are you from?
Are you alone? Not married? Why are you single?
Why in India?
Well, I can answer almost all questions there. It's pretty easy: My name is Delfina, I am from Argentina ("In South America", I generally add, just in case, because I know my country is not that well known). Yes, I am alone. No, I am not married (although I like to finish with a "yet", so adults won't think I am strange, and young men will not try to propose ten minutes later). I am single because I still haven't found the man I should marry.
But... Why am I in India? What is the purpose of my trip? How did I come to the conclusion months ago, after breaking up with my beloved boyfriend and quitting my full time job, that this particular place on the whole Earth was the only one I wanted to be?
Oh, well, this is a more complex question to answer. And now that I have been victim of "indecent behaviour" by two young men from Mysore who tried to kiss me and touch me in the stairs of Chamundi hill, I better find a good reason to stay. Because I could just take the next plane to Thailand and enjoy two months of parties and beaches like most Western people my age...
TAKING PICTURES IN BEAUTIFUL CHAMUNDI HILL BEFORE THE INCIDENT
So why am I doing all this effort? What is the value of this experience, if it means exposing myself to the unknown, the uncomfortable, the unexpected and maybe even some potentially dangerous situations like the one I went through today?
Don't worry, my friends. This is a story with a happy ending. Because that night in Mysore, I might not have found all the answers I was looking for, but deep in my soul there was a voice telling me: "Don't give up. Stay in India." And, from the next day on, everything was pure magic. Incredible India was about to start, and I had no idea how that would change my life forever.