Footprints in India

by tigermanifesto

Harold Zo, Quivver, Quake, and I took a night flight out of Chicago. O’Hare connecting through London to Istanbul and finally on to Mumbai. Not many rock bands play Indian tours and I admire Zo Quivver & Quaker for testing their mettle in a rapidly developing new market for music. them for this. Their success in the land of Hungry Ghosts proved their tenacity, and their charisma meets every reasonable live show standard. I also realize not many tigers live long enough to feel nostalgic for their old territories.

I marvel at myself; how can a tiger who has gone through both heaven and hell still live in such a cold and disenchanted world? One might assume my dramatic rebirth into the world would have inaugurated a second naïveté. No doubt heaven has marked me, and hell bent me in its own image, yet not enough for others to notice. When I met my editor again for the first time after reappearing on the mortal plane, I expected his look to be different somehow. Since I had changed, I wanted his gaze to account for the difference, to let me know–like a mirror–that I was altered. But people always see you in the past. It takes a while for the body to register cuts and scars in a way others might comprehend.

(Over the PA: confused speech between the pilot and the controllers in languages I don’t understand. We’ve been waiting to leave the plane for an hour)

I have a feeling that I will look India in the face and find it equally disappointed. After all, has it not been more than ten years since we have met? I will be seeing India for what it once was, inspecting a ghost or save state it has long since forgotten. My coming will remind India–if it even feels the prick of my claws on its huge mass–of an awkward past, and no doubt it will try to sweep me aside. I don’t fear its rejection–I already feel it here on the plane, before we have even disembarked. India left its trace in my cells, because “India” to me is not merely a place or collection of places, scrawled words on a map, but over ten years ago. India and I are bound together in my very bones and in its Earth. We left our footprints on each other, and they have warped and shifted with time, rendering us barely recognizable to each other. I doubt that this is as romantic as it sounds. We are being squeezed in time, forever captive to busy hands of the clock. I fully expect to be depressed by this return.

(Looking out the window, it’s all bright airport lights and a hint of the unending city around us. Mr. Harold Zo is attempting to wrestle his guitar out from the overhead compartments, causing several minor head injuries around him.)

I return nonetheless, and I have difficulty explaining why. To learn something, I suppose, though there is nothing I will absorb from this trip I have not already realized somewhere in the attic space in this big lunking head of mine. Still, even though you might know what the dusty artifacts are in your crawl space, you still want to go and see them, to brush the cobwebs off and see what time has made of your old photographs, bicycle, chew toys, collars, plastic hammers, fake cars, what have you. It’s curiosity, then. Still, I have a feeling that this sojourn in India will not resolve nearly as neatly as I fear. After all, Mr. Harold Zo is on the trip, and even the most obsessive prognosticators abandon their crystal balls when he is around.