Curry, cricket & culture – Part 1

June 2016:
My South African soles step onto Indian soil, these are my stories…

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Marigold laces my neck: “Welcome to India.”

A game of car Tetris ensues.
My driver is an 8-bit master, using his horn as a cheat code of sorts.

I arrive at my place of rest,
Cecilia thrusts her chest against mine and holds me like one of her own.
I meet her two children,
then her husband,
then his brother and his wife and daughter,
then Cecilia’s husbands’ ex-boss.
We all eat, pray, laugh together.

I wake up from a 10 hour plane paralyzes.
Take a 1 hour cab ride to meet 2 of the warrior women of the Delhi Poetry Slam movement.
I spend the next 10 hours inhaling as much as possible.
I have so much to learn and there seems to be too much to teach.
One lesson at a time.

I am able to make contact with the www.
but before the beast grabs hold I hear a chanting outside.
Ramayana (The longest poem in history) is being recited.
1 chapter = 3 hours.
The child in me refuses to let the adult command my consciousness.
I take off my shoes and sit, a man smiles, steadily strides towards me and speaks.
“You don’t understand right?”
“Not one word.”
“Please sit, enjoy.”

After the ceremony people flock.
Free feast and festivities for all, the party is lit!
I am ushered up and receive a blessing of fire.
I pile into the food queue, a man insists I go in front of him.
I repay the favour by handing out as many plates as my palms can plunder.
My hands are utensils, each edible morsel is the best thing I have ever tasted,
until my tongue touches the next.
I am overwhelmed.

A girl wont stop staring.
I get it, I am a unicorn here but am willing my atoms to collapse inside themselves,
remain invisible. I pray they sense my respect for every inch of Indian culture.

The boys behind me argue over which Max Payne game is best,
then continue to debate about whether Fifa should be played with a keyboard or joystick.
I have always been a controller man myself.
I feel at home…

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