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Chapter 4

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    The scent of an early morning snaps me out from a chaotic series of dreams and it becomes very quiet. How can you seize the subtle harmony and this small crystal bridge between dreams and wakefulness, free of any concerns and worries and thoughts about the coming day? These moments seem to be the beginning of a journey to another world, but this state of being is so unstable… Shall I sleep again or wake up? The usual and persistent reality so powerfully attracts with the magnet of impressions, that I cannot resist this drawing force… and I do not notice as I am again at the wooden jetty that connects the hosts’ house and the house of the guests.

    It is sunny, cloudless and not hot at all. Golden autumn… only not as rapid as ours, but anyway even here this loveliness escapes – if not into winter, then into prosiness… the chase of the ever-lasting happiness is the chase of a ghost. Velvet sun, slight chill, amazing singing silence, so harmonious with this time of the year – I manage to catch this something and traverse into the deepest profundity of these feelings… at least for a short while…

    Here is Shafi already. I have a light breakfast, and then go immediately onto the roof under a large branchy tree on an old deck chair. The chair accepts my body with the bizarre mixture of the ornaments of my thoughts and the feelings of those who were dreaming here before me and the endless history of this place.

    “What else do I want?” – I pat myself with this thought and then discard it. Sunny silence, dust of centuries… suddenly I feel anxious. Why? Whether some image is trying to take over… or the truth is that satisfaction and anxiety form an inseparable pair. In my early age during the peak of the New Year or the “birthday party” I would suddenly be captured with understanding that in a few hours it all ends, the faces of people will lose their forced smiles, the lamps will be extinguished and the rough prosiness will be back. I was staring at the adults and realized that this holiday is just a mask of cordiality on their faces, this is only from the outside, all is not true and not real. It was so terrible, that I immediately superseded the suffocative anxiety and with an outcry ran to my friends to rejoice. But where shall I run now? I am an adult and there is no careless self-cheating any more. A simple joy of a golden autumn, bubbly fun of the holiday or a quiet tranquility – all this is just a temporary rest, a small break before something more immensely captivating and grandiose.

    – What are your plans for today? – Shafi’s head emerged in the hatchway to the roof..

    – And what are the offers?

    – Oh, lots! You must only choose! (“only..!”, all the salt of life is in this only), I can take you to the mountains, there are three wonderful places just in three hours drive from here – Gulmarg, Sonmarg and Pahalgam. Each of them is beautiful on its own way, this is why I would recommend that you visit all of them, and we can begin with any of them. Though you have to go to the mountains early in the morning, this is why today it’s better to have voyage in the boat on the lake. It’ll take about six hours, you’ll see a big park of flowers. This is a very interesting voyage.

    – I like the idea with the boat :)

    Looks like Shafi also likes that I agree so easily.

    – Ok, right after breakfast a shikara (this is how the local gondolas are called) will be waiting for you.

    In spite of the good mimicry of the caring host, he does not manage to mislead me with his seeming friendliness. It’s clear to an even a dumb fool he wants, first of all, to earn money, this is why it would be quite silly to accept his offer without asking details.

    – How much will it cost me?

    (Aha! Judging by his embarrassment, the question hit the target). 

    – For you, as for a special guest, it will cost only 30 dollars.

    It’s not cheap! It’s a price of an excursion in Europe, though without an individual guide, and in a bus, but still… Shall I tell him I find this price too high? What is going on there in his head? Looks like discontentment mixed with embarrassment… must be, he understands what I am thinking about. Ok, besides the fears, but I do not want to spend that much, I also better overcome my embarrassment, and do not accept obediently whatever somebody tries to dictate to me.

    – This is not cheap. How about a good discount?

    To his credit he is a good actor and manages to involve me into his game. His face twists in a sorrowful grimace, as if this conversation distresses him, and this moment brings me a new splash of embarrassment and even the feeling of guilt that I do not want to pay so much. Later I understood this is a favorite trick of all Hindus, who want to have three or even ten times more than the usual price. In response to your surprise or dissatisfaction with the high price, they show even stronger surprise  and dissatisfaction, saying you must have seen nightmares if you think they want triple the price from you, while they give you a discount, and now they do not want to deal with you, because you, a real pig, do not appreciate that they make favours for you… If you are in a closer relationship with a Hindu, than a passer-by with another, most likely a Hindu will show he is suffering indeed and wants to make a discount, but cannot, by no means he cannot, and most probably, as you do not want to feel guilty, you will agree to accept his conditions and believe your “friend”. This is what they count on.

    – Ma’am, this is already a special price, trust me. Of course, you can go to the street and find there other offers, maybe there will be some cheaper ones, but where they will take you – is unknown.

    This is for sure! I immediately remembered all the terrors of Deli, when I did not really hope to escape them.

    – Please, believe me, don’t think I earn too much from you. Most of the amount I will pay to the owner of the shikara and the boatman, to the police as some kind of a tax, and as a result just a little is left for me, and at the moment I am the only one in the family, who works. You know, there is a war here. Earlier I would take you on the lake for free, as my friend… I feel so uncomfortable that I have to take money from you, but I have no choice.

    His speech is enriched with conforming mimicry, it produces an impression, and I, as if from aside hear that I agree, saying I am happy to help his big family. “At least it is safe, even though I pay extra,” – I try to force away a vague feeling of being deceived and playing with my feelings, on top of that.

    The omelet did not look the way it should that I am used to. It looked like it was cooked without any milk, just mixed eggs. It did not look tasty… but the taste was not bad at all! I finish eating with a drink of hot chocolate, and hurry to the water, sun and solitude. A note-pad, camera, a book of Krishnamurti and a bottle of water – all goes to the rucksack, and I am ready for my trip.

    The word “shikara” very well conforms to the spirit of the forthcoming trip, for which I have paid quite good money by local standards. I feel like a daughter of a millionaire, the whole world is rotating around her due to her money. It does not make me happy, because I have no millions, but Hindus’ expectations are as if I have them.

    This time the boatman was different from yesterday – of middle age, with an impudent look and disdainfully curved lips. By all means he tries to create an impression that he does not care he has to live in this misery, that he does not have any poetic feeling towards me, unlike other locals, and he is his own boss, even if he is working for somebody. His impudence has an element of frailty, of tear and strain, as if he is constantly watching his every move in order not to destroy the image, created so strenuously.

    I do not want to think about this man. I want to read, to dream, lie on the cushions… He is sitting at the bow of the shikara, far from me, and I disappear behind the curtains.

    The boat is slowly gliding towards the sun and the far hills. I open the note-pad… in the early age I liked to “taste” books, to be more exact – to test the scent, when you open the book and smell the scent between the pages. Some books smell with boredom and dullness, others smell cheerful and promising, and now I automatically, as if I returned to my childhood, sniffed the pages. I have already forgotten how it was – writing just for myself… constantly I push away the haunting wish to give my writing some form so to make it nice… after all, I am writing it for myself, only for myself, this is not an article… bummer… I cannot do it… I cannot let my thoughts flow to the paper without censoring… yah… journalism is worse than prostitution… I have to learn again the joy of a simple word, the independence from the whims and tastes of a publisher and a consumer. I am absolutely free and suddenly discover I cannot use my freedom. I have to make an effort, to break the semiofficial catatonia that blocks the easy flow of words, it is so simple to be sincere with yourself… so simple… is it so simple? It is even funny… how can it be…

    Perhaps, the prosiness is the most distressful status. These are the moments (well, not moments – centuries!), when you do not want anything except one thing – to want at least something. This is a tormenting emptiness and I am always trying to run away from it somewhere, into any impressions. But it catches up and it is often unexpected, and then, during the peak of some actions, everything becomes suddenly boring and not interesting. When I understand that no tricks can eliminate this dullness, my status becomes even worse – how shall I go on living? Shall I wait for it to disappear on its own? No… I’ve seen it already – at first you are waiting for a few hours, then a few days, then you are deep in depression and it has only two ways out – either you go to a nut house or work from morning till night – which is the same as the nut house. I must find some way out, because it’s impossible to live like I do. People live like this, yes, but I – I do not want to decay while living, I do not want it. I have to find the way out… I do not want to live as if everything has already been investigated and known, as if the fatality of the prosiness have been proved. It is absolutely clear that our inner world is a mystery, but what the worst is that with time the mystery fades into something flat, dull and not mysterious anymore and with every passing day, step by step I turn into a piece of a complete grey dullness. My flesh will be grey, my blood will be grey, my brain and my heart as well… how can I put up with it? There were many revolutionists, trying to turn the world around them upside down, they were not satisfied with only conversations and dreams of freedom, they wanted a real freedom. But where are the revolutionists, which are not satisfied with the conversations about the inner freedom? Is everything so hopeless? There were times, when people believed that the Earth was flat, that the atom was undividable, that it was impossible to fly, that the stars were stuck in the sky sphere… but it does not interfere with your life, with your breath and love, in the end what is the difference – are the stars glued to the sky or hanging there? But fact it is impossible to avoid this dullness and emptiness that overtakes all and everything – this is different. Everlasting, spasmodic, hopeless stampede from boredom, disappointment, tiredness… Is this the nature of the human? What can be changed by these thoughts?

    I put my hand into the water, it is warm, dark and clean. Half a meter down from the surface, there lives lush and strong algae, which grows from the muddy bottom and looks fluffy and scary…

    With a corner of my eye I see an approaching boat… wow! There are so many flowers in it! A small, very dark, sapless man grabs our boat and pulls it so that he is face to face with me. Saying nothing, he forces a few bunches at me, leaving no choice for me – such an impression that the flowers will fall into water if I do not take them. The expression of his face showed a mixture of determination to sell the flowers by all means and sadness as if he knows in advance he will lose this battle.

    Mechanically my hands started moving towards the flowers, but I stopped with a shake of my head.

    – I do not need flowers.

    – They are very cheap, ma’am.

    – I do not need them, neither cheap, nor expensive, – at that time I did not realize that in India the best way to get rid of a seller is to pass him, not looking at him, not reacting to him. Any reaction will be interpreted as a chance to continue the contact, consequently – a chance to sell. Long ago I acted in the same way, when as a teenager I was selling military service caps and watches at Moscow Arbat street to foreigners. I was so insistent that I could follow some friendly foreigner through all Arbat, begging him to buy at least something and usually it finished successfully. So I know this trick very well, but it is well forgotten.

    – Ma’am, these flowers are your happiness. Today is a big holiday, a very big holiday, please, make some business for my family – he spoke a very poor English, but the meaning of his words was clear.

    I looked at the boatman in hope he would protect me from this blood-sucker, but probably, he was on the same side with the flower man, because he was looking in another direction and pretended he saw nothing. The ores did not move, as if we were going to wait for the Second Coming. Ok, I’ll get you, I’ll explain who is who here… though I feel discomfort that most likely the flower man will be disgusted with me.

    – I want to go on!

    – Ma’am, my family will pray for you, ma’am, please, have a look at how beautiful they are, – the salesman fidgeted, but our boat mercilessly pushed away and we proceeded.

    The emotions that appear in the situations like these, are similar to those, triggered by different sagas about homeless animals. There are even enthusiasts creating shelters for cats and dogs, they are full of pity towards our minor brothers and they sincerely think that cats and dogs happiness consists of four walls, soft coach and a warm toilet. It is even strange why they do not notice the homeless crows and broken lives of sparrows, hedgehogs and foxes… This is the worst stupidity to humanize animals and wish for them the good old-fashioned sort of human happiness, which has not made anybody happy yet, by the way. The feeling of pity that arises towards Hindus, is of the same sort. These people choose their way of life themselves, and now I do not think of them any more as of victims of terrible circumstances. For a while my heart was bleeding to see their small children (children are incredibly beautiful in India!) romping in a dirty ditch or in rubbish, crawling from one grand pile of shit into another, but their faces (how beautiful they are!) do not express any sufferings that I automatically imagined. No, on the contrary, they are active, smiling, passionate and affectionate. When I am in a bus or a train and my wide open eyes see that decent and “intelligent” looking Hindus throw scraps, leftovers, wrappings and other rubbish under their own feet, so that everything sinks in the wastes, I understand – this is their choice, they live the way they like.

    Resting on cushions, I am looking at the spacious scenery around. It is nearly a physical pleasure that my view is not blocked by any walls and piles, that I can see quite far. The shore is about hundred meters away, there is a road alongside, and from this distance the rare cars seem to be unreal and like toys. Further down there spreads and blends with the horizon a chain of not very tall mountains. On a hilly part there are beautiful small hotels. Once they were full of tourists, now they stick out as senseless monuments to the peaceful past. So far I have met only one tourist – the Japanese, at the same time I saw a lot of locals, extremely concerned how to trap a tourist and thus earn, or at the very least to touch him and talk.

    To the left there are small islands with groups of boat houses, and far in front there is nothing, except the mountains, covered with a light mist.

    (Maybe I will go to Sonmarg tomorrow…) This is my unclear but insistent wish to get to a place that I would really like to visit. Maybe there…

    Another boat emerged as if from water and approached us. Are they also going to put pressure on me? I wanted to have my peace, I bought this excursion, came to the lake… The irritation disappeared, when I saw only two girls in the boat. One was a little girl of about five… the older girl … maybe twelve? My God, their eyes are so beautiful… and the younger girl does not look like she needs care. At first I felt something like fondness seeing this delicate creature, but then as if stumbled on her glance – heavy glance like of an adult woman. Yes… looks like everything is different here, even children are not like children. We were sitting motionless, each of us in our boats and slowly approached, but as soon as our boat sides touched, the older girl threw onto my knees a big moist lotus flower with a sudden movement. At this moment I do not even suspect it can be trouble. I am thinking the girls like me and this is their greeting, and I am smiling to them. As soon as she saw my smile, the girl suddenly cracked a grin of a predator, gripped the edge of my boat like a small clingy animal that is not going to let me go by any means.

    – Hundred rupees, ma’am – she demanded so insistently, that nearly slapped my hands.

    – What? Hundred rupees?? (do I look like a fool?) Hey, take your flowers back…

    In my resentment I try to return the flower, but she strongly refuses it. What manners…

    – Hey, girl, I don’t need your flower!

    – But you have already taken it! – The girl turned into an owl that keeps holding a mouse with its strong claws, the glance is cold, the voice is demanding.

    – Did I take it?? You threw it, did you forget?

    – Ma’am, you took the flower, now pay for it. This is a sacred flower, you must buy it.

    – I do not owe you anything! Immediately take it back, otherwise I will throw it away, – I make an angry gesture, showing that I am going to throw it away as far as possible, but I am afraid to do it – what if it breaks? She will demand money even more intensively.

    I call my boatman to help, but this pig says to me nearly disdainfully that if I have taken a flower, I have to pay for it, – these are the local customs. I try to explain I did not take it, but I feel as a stupid fool making excuses in front of an adult. I could scare them with the police, this is a real robbery, but I felt so confused… To heck with them, I’ll pay them minimum… is one dollar enough? Here, take fifty rupees, piss off. Anyway, they hooked me as a little dumb fool… and on top of that behind me I have a tail of embarrassment – both before the boatman and even the girls that cheated me!

    This is all. This is enough for me. I am telling the boatman my demands to sort out all the sellers and not allow them to approach me even close. I threatened that I will complain to the “boss” if I have to fight for my privacy again. When half an hour later the next filibusters-botanists showed up on the horizon, he desperately waved his hands, yelling something, and the boat passed by without approaching.

    The sound of oars, water flowing through my hands beneath the surface, thoughts, slipping away from my hands… time flows by in dribs and drabs, either like a motionless cloud, or like a creek. Oh, they talk… they definitely talk with each other – the crows, flying over my head. In an hour or two there appeared a large garden, which was climbing up the mountains with its wide steps. I need to stretch my legs… I get out of the shikara and all the fuss and bustle around slows down and people stare at me. I have a walk along the quay, feel stiff because of this strange and confusing attention from all ages and sexes. Why do all women cover their heads? Why do they cover their faces in embarrassment? Some turn away, laughing either from embarrassment or because the way I look seems to be silly to them. Who knows… Well, no, there is nothing funny with me, – my pants, my shirt are made from light material, but not transparent, everything is clean (maybe this is the reason?), all is in accordance with the local morals, as far as I am aware… Well, anyway, why do I feel nervous? Why do I care why these people are laughing? I try to persuade myself there is nothing to worry about and proceed, hiding my concerns.

    The Hindus of “middle class”, which is very small in number , stroll importantly along the rows of the shopping stalls. They are dressed so silly! They demonstrate their round-bellied dignity on every corner in the background of the crowds of beggars. Just like children… who were allowed to play as adults, and all they can do – is to portray their own self-significance, though it is clear this is all artificial, worth of nothing. They have no gloss of the social self-sufficiency, which is characteristic for the middle class of the majority of Europeans, they have only the naïve wish to show themselves. So empty faces… so unpleasant eyes…

    There are lots of rare trinkets here, junk! All stores are filled up to the brim– plastic toys, key rings, mirrors, bead necklaces, hairpins, jandles, cassettes, pens, door locks, acrylic children’s dresses, peacock’s feathers, and so on, and so forth, and all of this is of the worst quality, possible to imagine. I stupidly stare at a stout Indian woman in a bright pink sari, on top of the sari she has an old cardigan with Turkish ornament. With pleasure she goes through all this junk and looks like she is in a jewelers. Her black hair is slicked down with something oily (how ugly…) and plaited. There are dozens of thin bracelets on her hands, and they all ding with her every movement. What – does she ding like that all her life?? The bright nail polish is peeling off, rings of shiny yellow metal sit on her fat fingers… What am I doing? This is painful: on one hand, it is unpleasant to look at her, on the other hand – it is curious. It’s not that I receive pleasure from staring at all these details, no… but still it looks funny – the red dot on the forehead of the woman is a bit faded and it looks like the paint is wearing off. Even though she is young, she walks with difficulty. Well, she likes walking this way! Shit, they all like it! The manner of walking – something very peculiar… Not women, but some penguins – they waddle with their toes pointing at ten to two, as if trying to keep the belly hanging in front between the legs. Even the young Hindu women that did not yet accrete with fat and children, waddle as well. This is a completely irrational feeling of the touch of the unavoidable future with the present – the belly is not there yet, but it already exists virtually. This is an impending doom, and when people talk about intergenerational continuity and centuries of Indian culture, I first see a non-existing belly, not a yogi of the statue of Shiva. I cannot imagine such a woman to run or dance, or do something easy or naturally. As if these poor creatures have blended with their one and only place (the kitchen), where they can feel to be in control of at least something. As if all they need for their life is to learn move between the cooking table and the oven.

    Existing from the cinema screens of my childhood, the image of an Indian beautiful girl in an airy-fairy sari exists in reality only on the soap wrappings.

    – Ma’am…

    Well, what else? There is a Hindu with moustache, in an over washed shirt, which once was white. He is looking ingratiatingly, and again, I cannot turn away from such a harmless and smiling person.

    – Can we take a photo with you? My family will be happy, if you agree. What shall I do? I do not want to be photographed, but no excuses come to mind, and I agree with a wave of my hand. Well, now the day of his life is not lost… he is agitated, waves his hands, grabs somebody’s shoulder who is passing by, explains which button to push, gathers all his family – a wife and two plump kids (how ugly kids are in India!), groups them around me in such a way that I stay in front, raises his head up, gives a wide grin and makes a sign – push the button! After the click he begs me to stay, runs to rewind the film, and again poses. And again the same surrealistic picture, like the view of the motionless figures on approaching boats – the wife and the kids are motionless, as if they are cardboard accessories, as if they do not care. Maybe they are sleeping? This time the Hindu stretched out his left arm extravagantly, the right arm goes to his side and he becomes similar to those militaristic caricatures that have been published in the old Russian Soviet papers. Maybe he wants to make somebody laugh with this funny photo? No… he looks serious, and people around do not laugh…

    What dumb shits they are – I giggle and think, not without a ghoulish joy. In search of a cold lassi – a drink similar to yogurt, I enter the café.

    No, thank you, no sweets – I tried them on my way to Deli… even now my teeth curl together at the thought. I do not want ice cream either, and the sign with “100% safe” does not mislead me. Everything that is not subject to thermal processing, can be a reason for you spend a month in a hospital bedridden with typhoid fever or TB. Again they are all staring at me… – two Hindus, apparently, guesstimate if they can make acquaintance with me. Even thinking about it makes me sick, so I have my drink and leave.

    Actually, this garden is not beautiful at all: similar and plain flowers stick out, and only a few of them. Water is drained through a stone ribbed gutter, covered with disgusting green slippery slime. There is a lawn with low cut grass, and the human penguins stroll on it, no tourists. It is all so depressing… they do not impress me as people enjoying their rest, some kind of heaviness is in the air. I do not like this place and I feel tired – maybe due to this intense attention, or because I am the only tourist in Kashmir. This is enough for me – I return to the boat.

    With enthusiasm I decline the boatman’s offer to take me to the lotus flowers plantation. Plantation… lotus flowers… – one more clash of my unrealistic idea of India with the iceberg of reality. The more fantastic the expectations, the more prosaic the reality is. Maybe these are my expectations that taint everything?

    As well, I refuse from the conveyor of mahatmas, the centre of kama-sutra and the conference of dervishes. I want to have lunch and a boat trip somewhere, where there are less people and more of nature.

    About ten years ago, when the crowds of smoke drugged tourists besieged Kashmir, my Vergil must heard lots, and judging by his eyes, he now at last felt something like a natural similarity and took me to a tiny island, accommodating a temple, a huge tree and a restaurant in the form of a ship.

    I climb onto the roof (I love roofs from my early age!) and sit down in the shade of a big branched tree. This is the hottest part of the day, as usual I feel listless, I want to get comfortable in an armchair and relax my brains like semolina porridge. Sometimes, when I do not give in to this apathy and continue behave as if I experience the peak of my activity, I manage to win the battle with idleness, but this is not today. I do not have the stamina for anything, this heat…

    Again we are on our way somewhere… well – this is a very picturesque corner… the “streets” between the boat houses are so narrow, that the top branches of the trees intertwine and form a fancy woven green marquee with penetrating sunlight. Large beautiful lotus flowers peep out from floating weeds and large curved leaves… It must be about five? The sunny day is diminishing, at six it gets dark in India. A special tranquility is in the air in this pre-twilight zone, I want to remain motionless and capture this state, but it fades away – through the trees and into the water weeds and evening chill…

    Shafi… Of course, there he is already, on the jetty, his face expresses expectations of my comments of admiration, but today I am not a polite girl any more. Shall I play along with his sugary mug?… no, it is disgusting… I do not understand how they can put up with all this… step over their own feelings, always pretend… But maybe they do not feel disgusted? Maybe they like all the communication of such kind, which feels like chewing toilet paper? Shall I become a similar person that does not care who she is talking with and what about? Grrr… I shrugged at this thought.

    – This is an excellent place for meditation! – Shafi’s voice caught me on the roof.

    Interesting, what does he mean by the word meditation?

    – Do you meditate?

    – No, ma’am, I do not, I am a Muslim, but I know that meditation is very good.

    – Ha! How do you know, if you do not do it?

    – In our country many sacred people do it, this is why I know that this is very good.

    – Ok, Shafi, this is what I am going to do right now, so please take care that nobody pokes their nose in here, will you?

    I cannot stop surprising, how endlessly far people are from any clarity, or even the wish of clarity… Though, what is there so surprising in it? There are no crowds of enlightened creatures around, so it’s not surprising, so far I have not met even one person, who would nearly explain what he means when talking about enlightenment, nirvana, Samadhi and the “other-worldly things”.

    At last I am safe here on the roof – nobody will come. Only here I allow myself to relax from my tension, as if this tension protects from anything!

    Monotonous singing far away sounds like a desperate and sad call. Ah! today is the religious holiday… but does it have any significance? Why do I bother to remember it? I close my eyes and try to calm down my thoughts, I want them to disappear for some time.

    Even a short period of time of being completely motionless can bring quite unusual senses – an ordinary perception of the physical body starts blurring. I feel as a shapeless resilient mass that moves – something twists and flows somewhere, fluctuates from side to side, like a pendulum, leaks downwards… The roof strains under me and I am just a fraction from rolling off it… and now I am under the roof and it presses down on me…

    Such phenomena are usual for me – it happens from an early age. I tried to talk about it with my parents, friends, and found out that nobody had these experiences. I did not like it, because it did not help me with falling asleep, I did not feel comfortable, I was even angry that I could not go to sleep normally as other people and had to participate in these odd games of the nature. Later an investigating  interest woke up in me.

    …Maybe it is better to go to the mountains tomorrow, shall I?

    – Shafi! Tomorrow I want to go to the mountains!

    – Good, ma’am. I will be your tour guide.

    This is unexpected. The guy is helpful, of course, but this chance of spending a whole day with him somehow does not excite me.

    – Do I need a guide? – I am trying to ask in such a way that he does not understand why I am asking, and again the specific sickness of insincerity infiltrates me.

    It is a disgusting concern of mine about opinions of people I meet whether willing or unwilling! I hate this impotence, it interferes with my life… as if a thorny polygon is stuck somewhere in my heart, and then I try to spit it out, it is only with blood… on top of that and due to it, I unavoidably get into situations I do not like!

    – Of course, these are mountains, you can lose your way.

    The word “mountains” produces the impression that Shafi needs and allows me to excuse my lack of will – now I can tell myself that I have no option – these are mountains…

    – Ok, then tomorrow, at six o’clock in the morning (six in the morning?? It got me here again with its merciless claws!) you will have your breakfast. Good night, ma’am.

    The sounds of steps walking away, the creak of the banister, somebody’s quacking, somebody’s laughing somewhere – and silence… Four days in India, and nothing has happened! Where are the wise men, gurus, the places of power and mysterious temples? The same prosiness, as usual, plus this continuous tension… Mountains… Everything will be different in the mountains.