In India, small children cluster around tourists like American kids congregate to the ice cream man. Normally I embrace children as if they ripened for nine months inside my body before bulldozing through my vagina.
Indian juveniles generally approach you to catechize your country and name, followed by the food-in-hand-in-mouth motion or say, "Money money money," or, "Five rupees five rupees five rupees." This is analogous to American baseball stadium vendors who bellow, "Hot dogs hot dogs hot dogs," or "Popcorn popcorn popcorn." If I happen to be inhaling feed like a famished flamingo or am fondling food in my hand - which is often - I will offer them some. If the urchins are abnormally adorable, I will reward them with money. It's beauty discrimination.
I answer kid questions too often. I know what they want. It's not my conversation. I know they're as interested in me as they are in collecting cow excrement to sell as fertilizer. They prey on my maternal instincts.
When the thirty-seventh child of the afternoon approached me asking, "What's your name?" I replied, "Shiva." Shiva is a Hindu god.
"Shiva? Oooh. Where are you from?"
Whenever I wield semi-unfriendly feelings toward someone, I designate Canada as my country. This makes as much sense as banks charging customers for insufficient funds. My bank knows I have no money for them to take. And I like Canada.
After my Canada answer Chocolate-Eyes offered his hand in a handshake. His eyes enticed me. I took it. He held on as he said, "Money?"
"I really don't have any. Sorry."
He tightened his grip as he said, "Come on, I'm hungry."
"I'm hungry too!" I pronounced.
His hand converted into a clamp as he said, "Just one chapati?"
"No, not one chapati, I have no money. I'm really sorry. I already gave all my small bills away."
When his handshake diversified into a Darth Vader death-grip, I desired to bitch-slap him as much as I wish for a baby white tiger as a pet.
My volatile violent yearning could have been because after my stimulating shower that morning, the hostel owner ordered me to pay him thirty rupees for water usage. I concluded my shower five minutes after check-out. Or my bitch-slap ambition could have arisen when I realized the town I was in had no meat (no eggs), no alcohol, no inappropriate clothing (everything I own), no cameras on the ghats (the only camera-worthy area), and a curfew. Rule posters pepper the city. It could have been conceived when a motorcycle collided with my knee. Or when a jewelry owner accused me of stealing a ring. Or my cuff-impulse could have instigated when two children tossed a plastic mud-filled bottle between them. It hit me in the head.
Whatever the motivation, I tore my hand from Hugo Chavez and almost ascended my arm in Terminator-strike-mode. I then comprehended he was a chocolate-eyed baby. I bought him a banana.
Later that afternoon, laden with my luggage, I trudged fifteen minutes to the wrong bus station. I was supposed to report to the bus at 5:30pm. Upon realization that I was at the wrong one, the time read 5:43pm. Indian buses and trains typically run late, but adrenaline crawled through my constitution. When a push-cart owner signaled me and said the other bus station was 2km away, my blood blitzed through my body. The push-cart driver ordered me to get on, so I got on. I alighted after four minutes, discerning I could walk faster. He ignored me and continued to charge forward. I asked him to stop so I could secure my bags. Energizer Bunny advanced. I tossed my body over the moving cart target. I couldn't reach my bags and deflected. I heavy-hammered both hands into the wood like I was banging bongos.
"Stop! I am getting my bags!" I witch-wailed.
Energizer Bunny persisted three more blocks, me appearing an escaped mental patient and he a calm consistent mute. When Bunny spoke, he demanded 100 rupees. I howled, "Hell no!" and handed him fifty. Which was forty rupees too much.
I entered the bus as content as a polar bear in the Mojave Desert.