01.15 worlds apart

i have neglected my ipod in india.

there were so many fascinating sounds that kept me alert, alive, aware.. i didn't need the ipod. actually i didn't want it.

coming back to toronto was not easy. i should mention that my father, in tarzan style, sprained his knee jumping from a wall a couple of days ago. i know: he's almost sixty; what is he doing jumping. i know. i know. but boys will be boys. so he jumps. sprains his knee and because of an old soccer injury the thing is now the size of my head. seriously.

does he go to a clinic? a doctor? a healer? um. no. would tarzan go to a healer? no. this is the thing about boys. i know they say that women are irrational (they even coined the word "hysterical") , but when it comes to ego, men's ability to think logically evaporates. and they are left with a cantaloupe for a knee, hobbling in and out of cabs to get last minute stuff done...

at the mumbai airport, i order him a wheelchair. he doesn't realise it but that wheelchair man is coming for him. that's his wheelchair. he scowls. looks at me. i grab his camera bag and lead him into the chair by the elbow. once seated, he shrinks to the size of me. i suddenly feel a pang of empathy for him. he's getting old. my mom, on the other hand is radiant.

i order a roomy seat for my father. the flight is long. and delayed. at heathrow, there is no wheelchair ready and we have 1 hour to connect. near-impossible with security checks. somehow, we and our luggage make the connection. once in the plane i finally pull out my ipod and float into sweet oblivion.

reality check comes at toronto pearson international arrivals. it's 1am. after collecting our immense baggages, i head over to my father and his wheelchair attendant is in a heated discussion with her coworker about a third coworker. i hear the words "fuck" and "bitch" and think to myself... so this is what reverse culture shock is all about. after waiting for about a minute while the two gossip like teenagers i ask the woman if i can take my father. her eyes bulge in reaction, as though i grabbed her boob on a packed mumbai train or something.

i smile.

...it is possible to recognize anger in this world, to understand its sources, without getting angered yourself...

still smiling i pull an ipod bud from my pocket and put it in my left ear.
i pat her on the shoulder and with a little indian head wiggle turn toward the exit, "chalo!".

and of course she follows.

No comments: