Posted by: canaryinacoalmine | May 20, 2008

more guts than brains

Yesterday evening I fell asleep as I was still beat from work 20hours straight the previous day.  I woke myself up with my own wheezing.  We had been in Kolkata the day before.  The polluted air has captured my lungs.  It’s left me with a consistant cough, a good ab work out, and a wheezing only known to veteran smokers.  I woke to flowers on my dresser and a hand written note that read, “Miss Henry I’m sorry I did not know you resting.” Beside it was printed note from the JW Marriott, “Welcome to your home away from home.  I hope you are enjoying your stay with us.  I Ajay Das am your housekeeper for the day.  Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.”  The day earlier I returned to my room here and found a gold nose ring with a note on my dresser.  Chalk that one up to things I thought would never happen in my life.


I’ve posted photos of the beach in the morning but no photos of the beach in the evening.  Imagine the streets of a NYC sidewalk bustle on a beach.  Merchants, kids playing, adults walking slowly, business people contemplating, etc. Everyone here walks the beach at night.  So, last night I decided to do the same and walk the beach with my IPOD.


There is a big brown door/gate I enter through to exit to the beach.  The hotel requires guests to sign out (when we come back in they give us a cold towel and bottle of water).  There were Indian girls milling all around the perimeter sipping coconuts and staring at me because the guy wasn’t there to sign me out. I smiled at them and they soon smiled back offering me a coconut.  After I was signed out I began my walk turning to the right – no big feat.  I then reached the end where it was no longer safe and turned around to walk back. I passed the hotel and continued walking down to a very crowded area. 


***Now, those that know me are about to shake their head and go “Fucking Jessica” because the WEIRDEST things are constantly happening to me**


Two boys approximately 16 or 17 ran up to me.


“You not from this country. I am Indian. Welcome to my country.” 


“No, I’m not from here. Thank-you. Thank-you.”


“Can we take photo with you?”


“Ugh, okay,” this is where I started to get leery of the situation.  The photo was taken as both boys grabbed on to my arms and three other boys jumped in behind us.


“You think I’m handsome?”


“Yes, you are cute.”


“Kiss me, kiss me,” he said as he pointed to his cheek.


Knowing how I react to such things a huge look of disgust probably crossed my face.


“You come meet my Mother. Please, come meet my Mother.”


Both boys began to beg of me to meet their Mother’s.  The day prior I had learned after speaking with my waiter, Sunil, a boy can like a girl but it is not until the girl tells the boy she is in love with him that they can date and then marry.  Sunil, my waiter has liked the same girl for six years and it is customary for the girl to put off telling a boy she loves him.  If we had that custom in the states there’d be a lot of boiled rabbits with some of the crazy stories my guy friends tell me.


I digress, I dismissed the boys walked another half mile and then turned around heading up the beach so I would not see the boys again.  One of them spotted me and ran up to me once again begging me to meet his Mother.  I succumbed figuring there were tons of people around and no harm could come to me.  The other boy soon followed in route running behind me.  We reached a blanket with three women sitting on it.  One was holding a baby.  The boys said, “This is my Mother” and the other said, “This is my sister and this is my Mother.”


And this is where I should have stopped.


Instead, Phi Beta Stupid here bent down to ask the woman if that was her baby or not.  I looked up and noticed there was a circle surrounding us thirty people deep.  I began breathing a little heavier as fight or flight began to take over my system.  The advice Tom Joyner’s bodyguard gave me a month ago on the plane surely would not work here. 


I stood up not waiting for her response when the boy grabbed the baby out of the woman’s arms and thrust it at me.  I had no choice but to hold the child and began rocking it to make him stop crying.


“Kiss it. Kiss the baby.”


He wanted me to kiss the child on the forehead; I refused as I was beginning to get really nervous and what if the baby had a disease?  Someone behind touched my hair.  “Here, please take the child you’re freaking me out,” I stated.  He took the child and said, “Okay. You go.”


A path cleared and I ran back to the hotel approaching one of the workers.  “Do you speak English?” 


“Yes, I do.”


I then told him about what happened and inquired if it was maybe because they don’t see a lot of Westerners  They see a lot of  Westerners so that wasn’t the case.  The hotel had the general manager call me. The hotel staff was truly alarmed and has never heard of such a thing happening. The GM thinks it was probably a gang and told me to read a book called Elephant Suite.  A half hour later another manager rang my room and asked me to meet with him and a police officer. 


An hour later I sat in the coffee shop with the two men recounting the incident.  We all think what happened to me was really weird. I was instructed not to go that far down on the beach as there are a lot of people visiting Mumbai and maybe they don’t see a lot of foreigners. They wanted to know if I wanted to file a police report.  “Why nothing really happened to me.” My theory is, of course, duh they probably think I’m a Hollywood actress. 


I met Dave for dinner and recounted the story again.  In the elevator I handed him the business cards of the police men and the JW Marriot manager.  His response was priceless, “Why does everyone here have American Rock Star names here? Hinder and Luda! Are you kidding me?”



  1. Jess, I’m just glad you’re okay and safe now. I would have thought by now, with all your dating experience, that you’d have learned not to trust men, of any age.
    It must be hard, sometimes, being a woman and adventurous at the same time. You have so many more things to worry about than a guy would. I’m just really glad that nothing happened to you.

  2. I started reading this post thinking they were just going to take your iPod and run, but I was afraid something really had happened to you as I read on! Yipes! (Glad you’re safe :o)

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