Just after dusk in Delhi, traffic appears to be coming towards me through mist. It's barely gone 6.30pm, and I'm wandering about in a sort of daze - the type of mood that fits this half light I find myself in. All the while, some inner voice is screaming at me, trying to pull me back to wakefullness - Delhi is not the sort of place to be meandering about in a daze.
It's not mist or fog of course - it's pollution, and it's choking this city. Flying in from Kathmandu this afternoon, I happened to look out the window, and assume that we were still in the cloud above the city during our descent. Then I saw a road, and realised that we were very close to the ground. The pollution is thick enough that until the final minutes before landing, the ground is invisible - regardless of how free the sky is of cloud. Every afternoon, the sun sets in shades of orange and red, as though pulled directly out of a travel brochure for some exotic island location. It's strange that such beauty could be the result of such neglect.
I find myself in Delhi, and I'm alone. The last 5 weeks I've spent with a couple of friends from back home - right now, they're in Delhi's international airport, waiting for the connecting flight that will take them back home. Me - I've got a day to kill, before a flight to Bangkok. It feels strange - having never travelled on my own, I'm suddenly the master of my own destiny. I can do what I want, when I want, where I want...and nobody can stop me.
That is, unless what I want is some company in the hotel room late at night, when even the sound of someone else breathing is a small comfort. Unless when I want requires a push - someone else to take a lead, and not allow me to linger when movement is what I need. This won't help me when where I want is simply to be next to someone I know, and care about, watching the same scene, for the very first time. Speechless for a moment, everything said by the tear in your eye.
Standing in the middle of a road suddenly quiet, watching the approaching headlights of rickshaws approach, I realise that everything's changed. When everything you've relied on up until now is suddenly gone, the world you're exploring for the very first time suddenly seems a much larger place. And I feel a whole lot further away from home. I'm relying on myself alone - and I'm not sure why that scares me like it does.
It's not all doom and gloom though. While typing this, I've been keeping half an eye on a gecko, hunting a small insect on the floor of this cypercafe. Coming down from the wall, tracking its progress across the floor, before finally making its move, and pouncing. Meanwhile back home, cybercafes are doing their best to erradicate every single lifeform that's not human. Things are simpler here. Sometimes, this world spins me around and around.