As I was making breakfast this morning I was singing an old, favorite Elton John song (Daniel) and realized it would be nicer to hear him sing it than me — especially since I just repeat the chorus.
So, I opened the Spotify app on my laptop and logged in. Instead of looking for EJ, I am distracted by the “Friend Activity” section and suddenly my inner voyeur is turned on. I decide to peek through the window of my friends’ musical choice from 11 hours ago…hmmm, what time was it there [where she lives] when she listened to this song…ok, it was about midnight. I click on the song and now I’m on sensory overload as I close my eyes and imagine myself in her shoes, listening to the sexy, slow but pulsing vibes wondering where she was when she was listening. Was she in her car, in her apartment or in someone else’s home? Was she chilling out, drinking, dancing, coming down from a long day and taking off her make-up before bed or was she having the kind of sex that you see in a beautifully directed film, smoky light and everything is perfect…no laughing or quick movements, only slow motion bodies (not real but a good fantasy).
Hmmm…I wonder what she’d think of me stepping into her 4:35 second song moment? Would she feel a little exploited, indifferent or excited? She knows me, she wouldn’t be surprised but if I told her would she change her behavior and play songs to make me curious in the future? Would I even notice?
After a quick google search, I learned that I am an “Earth Rooster” and that my fixed element is “metal” and this means I am courageous but judgmental, ambitious but cruel, and although I have high morals I am jaded…hmmm. I also went down a feng shui rabbit hole and mentally redesigned my entire house so it is balanced and calm. I’m sitting in my power spot now.
How much of this is b.s.? It depends on what I choose to perceive as my reality, right? Just like Santa–if you believe, he will exist. I am choosing to believe that this is my year, I will use my courageous ambition to succeed. When I told my husband, “this is the year of Kristin,” he attempted to articulate the exactness of my success–in what way (exactly) it will be the year of Kristin–but I stopped him. “Do NOT try to put me in a box. I am a broad brush, you can’t define my success in any way, shape or form. I will achieve many things in many areas making up my wholeness.” I smiled and he smiled back, knowing that he’ll never figure me out and content with this reality.
Is is a cop-out to be so vague? Maybe. Maybe not. Perhaps it’s my eternal optimism that will inspire my enthusiasm to work hard enough to make something wonderful happen.
What a relief, the train car is filled with nice, helpful people (I swear I’m not just saying this and I’m not being paid by the tourism bureau). As I board, there is a family in the sleeper car I am assigned to (actually, it is called 3rd class, which apparently means 1st class but not exactly “uber class” because I have to share—very complicated). The “Papa” is akin to my perception of “Tevya” in Fiddler on the Roof, everyone knows him, everyone assumes he knows what he was talking about and everyone seems to like him. He is a huge form in white cotton who sits like a sumo wrestler, with an enormous belly between his widely spread legs. He speaks loud and talks fast. His wife is in my seat but I hardly care–I am just happy to be out of the station waiting area and on the correct train. The large Papa left with his entourage before the train departed Delhi station so I quickly sit in my assigned spot. I’d like to imagine they stayed just long enough to assure me I am in the right place.
Then, an older couple and their granddaughter entered the space and sat down in the 6-person seating area with me. They are lovely people. They are kind to speak English to me and even offered me some of their picnic dinner of homemade chapattis. I politely decline as I was not hungry and did not want to take from their small provisions. As the train begins to move, another couple squeezes in (it is getting cozy now) and they seem a bit stuffy but nice enough. At this point, I was just happy that no one smelled.
We arrived in Agra station and I immediately find a taxi stand and hired a car to take me to my hotel. My driver, Hussein, insists on taking me around town the entire day tomorrow and I agreed since he spoke English, has a clean, air-conditioned car and seems friendly. Why not? Hussein is short, stalky and reminds me of a used car salesman or a character I’d see on a Seinfeld episode because he says things like “no hurry chicken curry”…but I have no plans aside from photographing the Taj Mahal for my grandmother so why not. Hussein promised to take me to photograph some elephants at a local rescue tomorrow in addition to the Taj, I’m very excited to photograph them and the people who tend to these beautiful beasts. They were apparently rescued from being circus animals; I hope I’m able to share the good work of these good people.
The Gateway Hotel (http://www.thegatewayhotels.com/fatehabad-road-agra/gallery.html) is quite fancy. Since I arrived off-season (because no one with any sense would come to India during this heat wave but a rookie like me) the hotel was nearly empty so they upgraded me to an executive room with a view of the Taj. What I didn’t expect was the pounding music from the discotheque next door but no matter, my cocktail of Benadryl and Melatonin will knock me out with no problem. I am attaching a photo of my view. One of my girlfriends said that she really noticed the contrast of the dilapidated buildings in the foreground with this white marble “wonder of the world” as Agra’s backdrop. It is this inequality that I continue to notice throughout my journey.