The funny thing about travel is that it forces you, whether you like it or not, to face your partner's various idiosyncrasies - all of which become magnified by a factor of ten when you're both tired, sweaty and lost.
I, for example, may have some strong opinions about things. I may also like to take charge on the navigation front, despite having no sense of direction and an ability to read maps. There is also a chance that I may, with little provocation, wrestle someone (who shall remain nameless) to the ground for control of the guidebook. In short, I may have some travel control issues. I like to be in charge. Is that so wrong? Fauxhawk has been patient, following me on my mad pursuit of whatever in the guidebook has possessed me. After a particularly tense hour negotiating traffic, itineraries and sketchy maps, Fauxhawk's composure crumbled. "STOP BEING SO BOSSY!" he said, stalking off with tail twitching and fur all on end.
When it comes to travel, yes. But not unapologetically so. There is a kind of desperation that washes over me when I travel - an urgent and irrational whisper in my ear that warns, This could be your last adventure. And then I am overcome by the desire to do everything, see everything, soak up as much as I can, because it could all be over too soon. As a result, I travel well by myself, but struggle to adjust to someone else's tempo. And I want to adjust, because a shared life requires it.
I wonder what would happen if I applied this sense of urgency to other parts of my life? Would I do more, make more of myself, or would I just drive everyone around me to drink?
* * *
Last night, Fauxhawk and I visited my friend G's house to be fitted for our wedding outfits. Despite having a million other things to do before the wedding, G's mother selected three saris for me, and summoned a tailor to take measurements for the short, fitted tops to accompany them. G whisked us off to select a kurta (a knee-length tunic and tapered pyjama bottoms) for Fauxhawk from a dizzying array of options ranging from the simple to the sublime. We were then stuffed full of gorgeous south Indian delights, while being thoroughly loved and spoiled by G's family. They are astonished that we came all this way to be at the wedding, and we are in turn overwhelmed by their unparalleled sweetness and generosity.
Despite the newness of everything, there is so much that is familiar to me. The easy acceptance of family chaos, the unspoken and undeniable dominance of capable women, the swarm of overtired children up too late but too much a part of things to be put to bed. Sitting among a host of strangers, I felt very much at home.
* * *
The view outside this posh hotel room is a sprawling slum - a reminder of the way properity and poverty exist side-by-side in so many parts of world, including my own.