Monday, May 3, 2010

Day Six - AM

Last night was one of those events that felt more like a dream. Around 3am, Ryan and I awoke to (what sounded like) somebody pulling luggage down a staircase right outside our door. It was rhythmic. It was loud. And it shook the entire floor. It was also accompanied by really loud music and mosh-pit-ish screaming. We sat straight up in bed (the way you do when you’re suddenly jolted awake in the middle of the night) and both whispered “what the hell?” Ryan got up and went to the door to see if the peep hole revealed any clues. Unsatisfied (and wearing only boxer shorts) he opened the door and stuck his head in to the hallway. Even over the tranquil white noise of my sound machine, I could hear the shouting and the music. It was some kind of party. And it was happening next door.

Ryan immediately picked up the phone and called the front desk. He had to get up at 5am to catch a flight to Pune and he was pissed. He was delirious and half-awake, but he knew he couldn't just knock on the door and handle this situation by himself. There was no telling what was going on in that room. This situation called for security. And while we lay there waiting for the music to stop and the noise to finally go away, my imagination ran sort of wild, trying to imagine exactly what was happening next door. What could all of those sounds be?

Loud banging to shake the entire floor? I mean…obviously there was a crowd in there. If it was just two people making all of that noise, I could have reasonably deduced what was going on. But it sounded like there were no less than 200 people crammed in to that room, screaming, dancing, and throwing themselves against the walls. Were they jumping off the furniture? Were they throwing each other to the floor? Were they wrestling? What was with all of the yelling? Were they watching some sort of cage match? Was there a cock-fight happening? I mean…good lord!

Then I started to get scared. What if it was horrible and dangerous and some sort of angry, drugged-up mob of dudes raping women and beating them? What if they found out that the scared little American couple next door called security and got them in trouble? What if they were really bitter and decided to seek revenge tomorrow when Ryan was gone? What if it was a whole mess of illegal events and they were all getting arrested in the lobby but we missed it because we were too scared to leave our room?

Eventually the music stopped. The loud banging stopped. The shouting stopped. Eventually, my brain went back to sleep and stopped imagining the very worst case scenario that would keep me trapped in my room all day, watching horrible 80’s Bollywood movies and ordering room service. But boy...did I have some CRAZY dreams!!! And even in my dreams, my rational brain tried to make sense of what just happened. Somehow, a whole bunch of people that I knew had flown to India for some sort of Big 12 Basketball tournament and they were having a party next door. Obviously.

We have learned that any night of the week is an excuse to party in India. They don’t wait for Friday or Saturday night to roll around. They have weddings and parties and family get-togethers every night and then everyone gets up and goes to work the next day (they also work on Saturdays and Sundays, so the idea of a weekend doesn't really exist). Last night, we were falling asleep to the sounds of fireworks – probably the finale of a wedding – which was taking place in the parking lot of our hotel. Looking back on it, we didn't see anyone in India carrying weapons, so why did we assume they would greet a stranger at the door with a big, sharp knife? We didn't meet a single person who was taller or more intimidating than Ryan so why did we assume they would be looking for a fight if someone asked them to keep it down? (and I should really stop saying "we" because I guarantee Ryan wasn't concerned about any of this - somebody woke him up. He took care of it. He went back to sleep. The End.)

I maintain that I'm not allowed to watch scary movies or TV shows where somebody is being tortured or mistreated. I even avoid the nightly news because proximity to crime just makes me jumpy. Unfortunately, the second I hear a bump in the night, my imagination plays out the very worst case scenario and I torture myself with a game I call, "what would I do if...". So India - I'm sorry that I assumed there was something horrible and wicked going on next door. I'm sorry that it was easier for me to imagine you were a group of dangerous rapists than a group of fun-loving wedding guests. I blame American programming, the entire Saw franchise and Quentin Tarantino.

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