Tuesday 17th September. 7.30pm
I’m still here and overcome with a case of singular slothfulness. I ventured out at one having procrastinated the morning away letter writing. The feeling has been with me ever since I woke up late, at 9.40. This diary entry is more procrastination. Something to do as the mosquitoes and traffic noise won’t let me sleep.
My venturing started out well. Batteries for my Walkman and fruit for my stomach were purchased successfully. both with pleasantries. Many shops have been closed all day and the streets were less crowded. A Hindu festival – though which one or why I’m not very curious to discover.
I then encountered Gerry who asked me for directions to the Tourist Office. Originally from Belfast, he said he was a seaman, the chief steward of a ship of the Ellerman Line presently berthed in Madras. On his shore leave he had trained here only to lose his I.D. and money. Could I lend him 28 rupees for his fare back. His train left at 4.
A fairly plausible story. More so as he came to find me in my lunchtime café after finding, as I expected, that the Tourist Office would be of little use. However, combined with my enforced economy drive and my mental lethargy (which had meant that I’d passed up the opportunity to chat with another solo traveller, an English girl, at a table opposite) I again felt encumbered with one of those Indian encounters: “one pen, one coin”. After losing my cool yesterday, my equilibrium is disturbed. Maybe I’m still trying to find my composure after the pleasant companionship with Deborah last week.
Maybe too, I’m bored with my own company. I have no new reading material – it’s all re-reading, albeit fairly intellectual and stimulating.* The prospect of sightseeing or an evening watching Poltergeist at one of the 15 cinemas built almost next to each other is not sufficiently exciting to motivate me.
It is company and something to do that I need. The prospect of finding an idyllic bolt-hole on a beach is too sybaritic for now. I would still need that mental motivation yet I must live cheaply. This seems somewhat crazy given my bank balance back home and in Singapore. I trust the banks there more than Indian ones. which is why I must wait to replenish my purse.
So, I’m in a bind and need to restitch my mental composure if I am to continue my travels. And continue I must. Otherwise there’s an English winter to face, and most things are preferable to that.
*Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.