In Manali, India, travelers wade through marijuana to access their guesthouses. Manali locals pick leaves for you with specific detailed step-by-step drying instructions: they thrust it at you in handfuls and motion towards the sun. In Goa, India, weed is illegal.
After traveling for five months, I returned to Goa, my final destination before a three-day train ride to Delhi, a five hour hiatus, a six hour flight to Hong Kong, a twelve hour layover, and a fifteen hour flight to San Francisco.
Throughout India I traveled with people who smoked three packs of cigarettes a day, drug abusers from the British circus, and those who were more concerned with public displays of affection then they were with public ganja devotionals.
A Swede, German, and I settled in the sand at Arambol beach accompanied by brew nectar as the easy December heat traced our faces. When we sprawled in the sand and sipped our beers I felt like Superwoman. The waves licked the shore. A dog yipped in the separation of tangible and ostensible. The Swede prepared a chillum, an oblong cannabis smoking device. When two men shrouded in shadows approached, I didn't notice them until they were two steps away. They were policemen. I felt like a four-hundred-pound Superwoman with diabetes of the eye.
"Cops!" I whispered as emphatically as possible without sounding like a lunatic.
The Swede garnered his eight grams of hash together with the speed of a twelve-year-old's feet at a Dance Dance Revolution contest and slung the pouch overhand into the nearby bushes as the cops slithered up.
"Arrest him, arrest him," a fossil of a man wheezed.
The other officer elevated the empty chillum and snatched our backpacks from the sand. I prostrated myself, sipped beer, and regarded the new addition as I perceive a soup can's lid when it persists in falling in every time I open it.
"He was smoking. Arrest him!" Fossil hissed before a whooping cough convulsion struck his throat and his body rippled.
Other Officer wrenched Swede's hands behind his back. An antique gun daggered in our direction. At this point I converted to the slightly concerned.
"He threw the hash bag into the bushes. Arrest him!" Fossil ordered, slanting his pointer finger in the Swede's face and his flashlight into the bushes. Stories of tourists imprisoned or blackmailed into paying thousands of dollars raped my brain, and my heartbeat increased to a speed that I imagine can only be achieved by a coke and coffee cocktail.
"I don't have any weed, I was just using the chillum for tobacco," the Swede said soothingly. The German was mute. Hallucinations of the three of us shipwrecked in a jail cell addled my cerebrum.
"You have weed. Arrest him," Fossil repeated.
"I don't have any weed on me, I didn't smoke any, you can't arrest me," Swede asserted, monk-calm.
The policemen searched the bushes with a flashlight for ten minutes. The Swede and I made eye contact. My savage eye vibrated with visions of starvation and deterioration into skeletons. I gave him the run-like-hell-escape-side-glance. Swede blinked tranquility.
Fossil and Other Cop returned without the incriminating weed. They apologized and retreated into the shadows.
Swede said that was his fourth encounter with police officers.
"Just get rid of the weed and they can't do anything," he said.
This seemed as logical as consuming warm beer, but I accepted it. Just like I accept the fact that I will never have a penis and the ability to urinate standing up.