Delhi airport was like a strange bubble of western-ness in the middle of India, and after 14 hours of the United coach class experience, I was ready for anything different from where I had just been trapped. We in the bowels of the 707 were forbidden by economics to move our arms much more than a T-Rex. One cannot bend from the waist enough to reach down to retrieve items from the floor. I was glad to move, to breathe. There was a sense that the molecules of the air itself were different. I met my connection, Pankaj, outside the main concourse. I had spacily brought my credit card but not my debit card.
This was to prove to be a bump in the road of happy-travelling-self-sufficiency. In India, rupees are required, both for any kind of day-to-day commerce, but also for Baksheesh, a term that encompasses both friendly tipping and out-and-out bribery. This is a necessary means of moving about as a westerner. It is all carried out with an ease and good humor that I never saw fail at any time during my visit. People did not seem upset or attached to a desired outcome. I was to repeatedly learn the lessons of acceptance.
Pankaj declared me his brother and pledged to look out for me during my stay. He lent me 100 rupees (about 2 bucks) to tip our driver once we got to the hotel.
I had no clue what the lodging arrangements were, but I discovered I was sharing a room during the Delhi stay with my teacher, Jeff. He was exhausted and sleeping off his jetlag from his crossing. Although my internal clock was 13.5 hours off, I slept instantly and deeply, with amazingly detailed and vivid dreams. The ultra-saturated colors of India were already permeating my consciousness.