The second to last thing I wanted to do at that moment was take a five-hour bus trip from Satna to Khajuraho. I was weak and dehydrated from a sleepless night of diarrhea, and the pressure in my abdomen was unrelenting. The last thing I wanted to do, however, was stay in Satna — a dusty stretch of road connecting a train station to a bus station — that was it (at least when viewed through ghiardhia-tinted glasses). The thought of spending a second night there, preceded by an entire day, was just too depressing.
I arrived yesterday at midnight and the only thing I could find at that hour was a windowless, mosquito-infested attic cell. There were two of us in fact, bound together at the train station by our mutual desire for backup against the swarm of rickshaw drivers. In his case it was more bad luck than fate; being forced to share a room with someone who was in and out of the bathroom every twenty minutes. (He left early this morning without saying goodbye). No, I had to to make it to Khajuraho and check into a ‘nice’ place — at least until I was well enough to stay in dives again.
I killed some time before the bus in a restaurant across from the station. What I really wanted was a Banana Lassi but the heat had curdled all the yogurt in India. I didn’t think my stomach could handle any food so I just sat there hoping they wouldn’t ask to take my order. They didn't. I slipped out unnoticed and went to find a store where I bought two bottles of water and some biscuits for the trip. Ten feet outside the shop, however, the bag I’d been given ripped open and the cheap plastic bottles perished instantly from the twelve inch drop. I knew I couldn’t survive a dusty, five-hour school bus ride in this heat without water, but time was running out.
I hurried back inside the store carrying the ripped bag and shattered remains of the two bottles, thinking the shopowner would take responsibility. But before I could even open my mouth he said, "No guarantee." What really got me was that he didn’t even look at me when he said it. He had seen me coming and decided to just ignore me. No time for arguments. In an extremely rare display of public anger, I flung the soggy mess on the floor and kicked over a chair outside the shop. I immediately felt stupid for the chair, but I stand by the soggy mess, so to speak.
More desperate than ever now to make that bus, I still needed to find water. As luck would have it a British couple I’d met a month ago in Nepal were on the bus and held the driver while I ran around the station. I hopped on just as it was pulling out...