Monday, 15 April 2013

Sicilian Rose

Sometimes you can know somebody for just part of a day and yet be so touched that when you part you feel vectors tugging from you heart to theirs.

That's how it was with Sicilian Rose.

We had met at the Brown Bread Bakery and decided to spend an afternoon being tourists together the next day.

We hailed an auto rickshaw to Jama Majid, the huge Muslim mosque crowning the hill of Old Delhi.  Stalled in Delhi traffic we began to share our lives, our stories.  She - so young and vulnerable, of Sicilian decent, but raised in London - just finding her way.  Me - a crazy old trouper.

As the rickshaw inched along past the Sikh temple, the Shiva Temple, Muslim mosques, the hardware bazaars, second-hand bazaars, spice bazaars, she opened up one sentence at a time.  One tale at a time.  One memory at a time.  Testing the ground.  With each step a new revelation. With each inch of progression on our route, a step closer to each other.

From the Jama Majid, we walked to the Red Fort.  Then mounted a bicycle rickshaw.  The short, skinny rider leaning into the pedals, pushing with all his slight weight and strength, turning around to announce the price of every monument, the goods sold in every passed bazaar, the derivation of each temple. 

Our bums aching from the pounding we took each time we hit a pothole and slammed down against the barely padded seat, we talked of this and that.  Laughing.  Revealing our lives to each other.

The bicycle rickshaw rider finally dropped us off at the New Delhi Railway Station.  We staggered out of the rickshaw.  Stopping strangers to get our bearings.  Crossing back to Pahar Ganj.

I led her up the stairs to the Everest Rooftop Restaurant.  Introduced her to momos.

And when we climbed down and began our goodbyes, tears filled our eyes.

"Thank you for sharing the day with me," I said.  "And thank you for sharing your self."

"Thank you," she said.

We hugged, holding each other tenderly.  Then she turned into the internet cafe.  I turned the corner to my hotel feeling so fortunate to have shared such of lovely day with such a lovely young woman.

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