I didn’t go to Jodhpur.
Instead, I spent two more nights in Pushkar–three more days in Pushkar–relaxing, thinking, existing on a plane that didn’t involve waiting in line to get tickets for a last-minute train, or lugging my pack around trying to find a place to bed down for the night, or the stench of stale urine at the bus stand. Instead, I walked around in Pushkar’s sleepy morning streets, avoided head-butting cows, had chai with my Pushkar chai guy, ate paranthas for breakfast, pretended to be interested in shopping, sat on the ghats with my sandals off, glanced at pretty girls, and then went back to the guest house–Shree Palace–to sit on my bed under the fan and read and smoke a cigarette; and then have a shower and listen to music and wait for the afternoon heat to subside. And then into town for a special lassi–a lassi with bhang in it (bhang being a derivative of marijuana)–and a lunch/dinner of a vegetarian thali… and what? And once again to the hotel to change into my swimming shorts. To walk along the sun-baked patio on tiptoe to the pool, filled with filthy desert India water–opaque and speckled with floating plastic…
To dive in.
To go for a swim, of course.
And, oh, how I swam. I swam laps in that pool–laps like that pool has never seen, not being a pool much suitable for swimming laps–kicking the water in the air as I reached the end, spun around, and then, six or seven strokes later, reached the other end, only to kick the water in the air again, spin again, and so on.
It’s a pattern. At least, it was one.
But I swam, I tell you. Like it was the last time I ever would.
So I did this instead of Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. I walked around, read, drank special lassis, got high, and swam laps in a miniature pool in the Rajasthani desert. And today I got on a bus to Bundi, rattled my way the two hundred clicks here, and I don’t know… Now, I don’t know. I really don’t. Because it’s the end, you know?–or nearing it–of whatever this is, or has become, or was destined to be–and I don’t have any conclusions to draw, or any lessons to relate to you… morals, axioms… I’m not Aesop, and none of this is a fable: all of it really happened, after a fashion. All of this shit really went down, in a sense. But there comes a preordained time where a man has to end an era, an epoch, an age if you will…and, what if there’s no string with which to tie it up? Or no wrapping paper? Or no box? Or, I mean, what if there’s no there there in the first place? Nothing to put in the box, because the nothing has only been made something by a devastatingly finite subject? What if nothing on earth can be finished, until you are?
Or what if you just want to go for a swim?