The blow, when it came, was a big one, and they clubbed together to let me have it. The only surprise is that it took sixteen days to land.
|good day's? bad day's more like|
Although I felt nauseous alongside the obvious inconvenience of having chronic diarrhea, it wasn’t until 10pm when, sipping on another dioralyte, my mouth twinged with the sickly sweet taste of whatever that stuff is that warns you you’re about to vomit, and I was astounded to see the food I had consumed nine hours earlier erupting into the bowl in a series of powerful, violent convulsions. I felt better afterwards of course, but then things couldn’t get much worse.
It’s been well over twenty-four hours now, of feeling listless and drained of energy. Only the electrolyte sachets are keeping me topped up, and I’ve consumed so many of them that even normal water now tastes of their peculiar flavour: vaguely blackcurrant, strongly hospital.
Being sideswiped by gastric issues is an absolute given on a trip to India. In retrospect, it hasn't been that bad (if it has actually finished). I’ve definitely had worse. Or maybe not, and maybe it’s actually about where and when the inevitable happens. Locked in a dingy hotel room in a small town in Peru, I thought I was dying of typhoid. Laid up in a cool, spacious hut overlooking endless rice fields, with a swinging seat on the porch, it just feels like an occupational hazard.
Being housebound here isn't so bad. I've sat and watched all the curious little animals that inhabit the area - stripy backed squirrels, beautiful birds, curious lizards, giant flying beetles by day. As sun sets, the bats come out, birds flock and the cicadas and frogs start their mating calls. These rise to an infernal crescendo that lasts until the cockerels start up at the first hint of dawn, but it's a far greater sound than the cistern flushing every five minutes.
I was going to write that getting a stomach bug in India is just the price you pay for being here and experiencing everything the country has to offer. But I'm worried that it will take more than my insides away with it. I've already found myself worrying about what and where to eat, whereas before I was tucking in left, right and centre. Suddenly I seem to be noticing how fucking filthy everything is, that the smell of waste is always lingering somewhere, and I'm beginning to question everything – what I touch, who I shake hands with. Everyone and everything now seems a potential hazard.
So it's probably not a bad time to be moving on and out of Hampi. The overnight train to Bangalore awaits, and at least, unlike the bus, it will have a fucking toilet on it. I'm just praying, really truly praying, that I'm not going to need it....