There are a lot of great things about being in a foreign country. There are the glimpses of other cultures, through food, music, clothes, etc.—and the chance to connect that such glimpses offer. There is the way that foreignness, and one’s response to it, can provide insight into the ways and direction one needs to grow. Even just getting around in a new place is a time to learn—about more than just how to read a timetable that’s half in Hindi, but about how easily we can accommodate and adapt, if adaptation is the goal.

One thing that is not great, however, is being sick.  

By Friday evening, I had a definite sore throat and headache. But I wasn’t sure much of that wasn’t from the dust and fumes from the motorcycle.

My view for much of the last two days

My view for much of the last two days

When I woke up Saturday still feeling off, I stayed in bed for most of the day. I left my room only to get a late lunch at the proper restaurant across the street: butter chicken. It was my first non-veg since touch down, but I felt crummy and thought that the luxury of one of my favorite dishes might help.

This morning, I was to hike to the highest point in Sanjay Gandhi Nat’l Park, with staff and members of BNHS. But when I woke up, my cough and headache and aches had reached a point of more than just annoyance. On top of which was some revenge for the chicken. Nothing terrible, but all signs pointed to not spending a hot afternoon in the woods. I called the tour guide, so he wouldn’t worry about whether or not Indiana Bridget Jones had gotten lost on the train, and crawled back in bed. 

Once the shops were open, I staggered around the neighborhood looking for a chemist. All of the ‘green cross’ed shop fronts were shuttered … Sunday. One shopkeeper directed me to the nearby hospital, which seemed excessive. I wandered back to the hotel, sweating and a bit woozy, and asked the kid at the desk. 

His boss said, “I am sending you to the hospital, then.” To which I objected, weakly but clearly. I don’t need a hospital, I said. Just cough syrup and some aspirin. Turns out the hospital has an open-to-the-public chemist’s.  Even on Sunday. 

I stumbled back down the block and got a bottle of Ayurvedic cough syrup (which seems to have taken the rattle out of my cough) and, after trying many words related to pain and aspirin, a pain reliever and fever reducer: diclofenac. Of all the NSAIDs in all the gin-joints in the world, amiright? (In case you don’t know what I’m talking about: )

Anyway, I’ve spent the rest of the day sipping a weird minty, cough syrupy syrup, popping deadly-to-vultures pills, coughing, sneezing, etc.  

And it’s no fun. 

I wandered out later for some food and heard the singing in a nearby temple. Saw many men in white robes and ornate tilaka (red marks on the forehead in a U shape or lines). The vegetable sellers were out on their mats. 

But I got tired and overheated so fast. My guts are still unsteady, and I keep busting into sneezing fits. I’ve been trying to work, but I’m just drowsy as hell. So instead, I’ve slept off and on all day. 

There were some bright spots. One was the banana lassi, another was a bunch of attentive texts from a friend and the virtual hugs on FB. Thanks, y’all, really.  

So that is all the news today. I’m hoping to see or do something more interesting tomorrow. 

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