So, the bus. It was a bit nicer than the piss bus, but it was still an Indian bus. I was starting to think that I was going to develop Parkinson’s if I kept traveling the country on these fuckin’ things. I had a seat this time because I’d allowed myself to get all wrapped up in the girl’s mentality traveling cheap. They thought that ten quid was too much to pay for an overnight bus journey with a wee coffin for a bed, so they opted to sit upright for the whole journey, saving us a grand total of two pounds. That was certainly an error in judgment I won’t be making again folks. So anyway, I thought I’d get down to a bit of writing. I was startin’ tae feel guilty about no daemin much since I got here. I had an idea about some guy who lives somewhere in London for a couple of years, comes tae India and tries tae make it happen here as a photographer, falls in love and so on. Right, obviously that sounds shit, but when you strip anything down to its bare essence, it’s gonna sound shit. Football? A load of rich twats kicking a piece of leather around a pitch. Kurt Cobain? Some greasy skag boy who cannae sing. The Sistine Chapel? Some paint on a ceiling. I’m not tryin’ to compare my idea to any of those things, but you’s knew that anyway. I’m just making a point. It might no be as shite as it sounds.
I quickly realized that there was no way to write anything on these buses. The ricktor scale was at about a hundred and forty. As soon as I put the pen on the page we fell into a pot hole like a fuckin’ coalmine and I gouged a big line right up the paper. Could have been God’s way of tellin’ me that ma idea was pish. I tried to do a wee bit in Goa but I didn’t get the inspiration like. This time I felt like I had the fire, but it was raining heavily. I gave up on penning my masterpiece and decided just to look out of the window again. I normally hate doing that though cause it feels like I’m wasting time. But watchin’ the transition from urban India to industrial India to rural India is quite somethin’ man. All the bustle and modernization gradually fades out and is replaced by big bleak factories, pumping the country into this new age of wealth and catastrophe. The factories start to crumble away and you’re left with nothing, not even any debris from the industry. I sat looking out at the fresh scenery and had to give my mind time to adapt. I’d never seen sand so far from the sea, lush green plants without want for water, people so removed from the needless complications of the 21st century. It was incredible man.
But the maddest thing is right, the deeper you get into the countryside the less cows there are! I’d imagine that in every other country in the world, the cow-to-cunt ratio increases the further into the sticks you get. But in India there seems to be a trend amongst the cows to migrate to the cities and towns, like people. They come to the city in search of a better life for their herd and for their calves. Some are destined for a life of poverty, nibblin’ bike tires and plastic tea cups, stragglers at the back of the city rat race. Others find that affluence in the dumping ground behind restaurants or in the tips behind flower markets. It’s a two sided coin for the poor old Indian cows. But as I got further into nowhere I noticed that the number of goats increases. Which is cool like. Another semi-exotic animal I can cross off the list I never made. Goats are actually a bit exotic for me. When you come from the east end of Glasgow and the most exotic animal you’ve ever seen is an Alsatian with a police officer tied to it, a goat’s a sweet fuckin’ treat. Like desert. I like their tits the best though. Cows have more rounded, shapely boobs but the wee goat’s tits look like those tubes that you use to decorate a wedding cake. Mad long saggy things danglin’ between their legs. Hilarious man.
So back to the bus journey. It had all turned into a bit of a zoo. The girls had caused quite a stir with the Indian men you see. They were the main attraction, like a couple of new-born Pandas. I was the zoo keeper’s dug. Nobody gave a fuck. Wee brown, moustached heads poked over the seats, tryin’ tae get a waft of liberated femininity and a wee peek at their white skin. They were the only females on the bus who weren’t wrapped in about four miles of cloth you see. An Indian man slid into the empty seat next tae me. The girls sat together across the aisle. He was in his twenties, long, lanky and frayed like old rope. The chewing of tobacco made his Tom Selik moustache roll around on his top lip.
“Girlfriends?” he asked, throwing a finger towards the girls.
“Nah man, sadly not. I just met them here like.”
He raised his eyebrows in the middle and slid his tobacco-stained bottom lip out in that, Sean Connery “interesshting…” kind-of-way. He looked over at them and then back to me.
“No girlfriend?” he asked, surprised.
“Naw, well aye, ah dunno. It’s complicated.”
His head stopped wobbling and he tilted it to one side, looking confused.
“Her name?” he said, pointing towards the shorter one.
“Ask her?” I said, not really understandin’ why he didn’t just ask her. I know it’s in the culture not to acknowledge women as being human beings sometimes, but if he fancies her (which he obviously does, judging by the rusty chewing tobacco drool that’s practically drippin’ onto ma knee) he should just ask her what her name is.
“What?” he said, leaning in with his ear but keeping his eyes locked on the blonde, blue and cream of the girls.
“Ask her.” I said again.
“Ah, Oscar. Okay.”
I just burst out laughing. It’s not his fault like, but it was fucking funny.
“No girlfriend?” he asked again. I decided that there was no point in trying to explain the complex romantic tragedy I was starring in, for the benefit of an Indian man on a bus. I didn’t update you’s on that situation did I? Anyway, it’s all a bit of a mess. I got to the internet café quickly in Bombay and had a Facebook message from her waitin’ there for me. The subject was ‘So…what’s going on?’ I sort of just sat there and looked at it for a wee minute, a bit shocked like. ‘What’s going on?’ she says. Christ on Christmas tree! Nice to hear from you love! Fuck me. Leave without saying anything, keep me in suspense and now we do this over a thread message on Facebook?! Why don’t I just make things better by proposing by to you on fuckin’ Twitter? Jesus, anyway. I’ve been thinkin’ about my last night in Glasgow town over and over man. The way she just floated in and floated out without saying a word. It was painful and confusing then and I don’t really know if it’s gotten any easier to deal with. I guess it’s still stirring up some sort of residual pain inside me, but every day it gets sort of less, even if I don’t really want it to. Anyway, this is what she wrote:
How’s India? Having fun? Bet its amazing!
Nothings been happening since you left but its only been a week.
So, what’s going on with us then? I mean I like you and I would love something more steady to happen one day but…what’s going on?
Right. What sense of my situation could I possibly draw from that cryptic, minefield of heartache? As far as I could tell, she would like to be free to ride other guys in my absence, be it temporary or permanent. Is that what you got from that message or I am havin’ a wee self-esteem hemorrhage here? But what could I expect from this situation? We weren’t together for that long and I’m gonna be away for an as-yet undetermined period of time. That grey area of commitment to the common cause of fidelity is giving me a fuckin’ headache man. Cause I’m tryin’ to change ma ways, know what ah mean? The old me would’ve been straight in there with one or both of these Chilean girls and would’ve given her about three thrusts of thought before ignorin’ the feelings of deceit and concentrating on blowin’ ma load. But the new me, the changed, responsible, pays-his-council-tax-on-time me can’t move onto someone else until there’s some sort of closure. Don’t get me wrong, a wee bit of Latin lovin’ wouldn’t go a miss right now. But I came here to change, not to become a bigger shite bag. Arrrgh! That’s the thing with your conscience; it’s really only a good thing in the long run.
I didn’t write back to her.
“No kids, no wife, no girlfriend, no problems” I told the guy and he started laughing. He knew the score. The boy probably had about four kids and a wife exactly like her mother, burstin’ his gap every day. I turned away, trying ma best to let him know that I didn’t want to talk anymore. Nobody brings a book or an MP3 player onto the buses here so people just blether away to you cause you’re different from them. It’s like friendly racism. Tae the boy’s credit, he took the hint and went back to his seat. I got back to looking at Rajasthan grow.