It was like everything was happening for the first time – Kolkata part 1

It was like everything was happening for the first time, there. At the airport, people were talking and smiling to each other, instead of staring at a screen. Saris’ warm tones. Women’s long and dark hair. I am aware of my own breath as I am going through passport control. I notice that there is a cleaning company called “Green Team”, and they clean the windows and they rub the plant leaves at the arrivals. I look up and, while I am faced with literally a wall of humidity, I see an aeroplane taking off. Departures. Arrivals. I tell one of my travelling companions that this is my first India. She smiles and replies: “Enjoy it, I’m moved for you”. Grey buildings, looking a bit unsafe, are towering me. I catch sight of the first humans. They all sleep on the streets. The only thing I can think of is that they could be knocked down in the middle of all those horns. Such a stupid idea. It doesn’t dawn on me that they actually sleep on the street. That they have nothing. They are nothing. I see so many dogs and I don’t understand if they are dead. I realise that, at times, I stomp my feet harder on the tarmac. I do it to see if those lying on the ground are alive. Such a stupid idea. There are vanquished billboards all around me. I see shadows approaching the New Market in Lindsay street, they unfold a piece of cloth or a cardboard on the ground, they close their eyes, “please forget me, world”. Then, I get out on the street and I see her. She is tiny besides me, although she is several years older than me. She shares her tragedies. It looks like everything is tragic, here. But then, while she is asking me if I want a henna tattoo, she does it. She smiles at me.  And then,  nothing. It was like everything was happening for the first time.

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