I woke up In the morning from the squawking of a strange bird. Perhaps it was the rooster in a backyard neighbor, maybe a goose or duck. Its voice was distinct among the myriad chirping of birds that woke me up this morning. I went to the balcony. Delhi's skies were gray, the sun just started to shine. I sat and wrote my morning pages, when all of a sudden I felt that the density that surrounds me is not the dense gray sky of dawn, but of souls, souls hovering in a thick dense mass above the city, close to the its houses. Suddenly, as I wrote, I could see how two souls dissipate and individualized out of this block, slowly descending from the sky into the bodies of my twins, who are still in Sima Sen's womb.
I greeted them in my heart, and felt again, as I felt few days back, in Israel, how my soul is reunited with their souls, and the soul of Sima Sen, in a very special combination of souls, which will give birth to two children.
After breakfast and a shower I went to town. I took a riksha to the local market, to change money and buy an Indian phone with local SIM card, to cut costs in calls to Israel. Maya told me the ride will cost 40 rupees. The driver demanded 70 rupees. We settled on sixty (now I know it costs only 20).
I went through two stores, to compare prices, and eventually I decided to go by ricksha (locals call it tuk tuk) to Sackett Mall, a luxury shopping mall, full of cafes, restaurants, shops and more, which I have visited during my previous trip here.
I bought a device, refused to a "package" the seller offered me, because after comparison with the previous shops I realized that he wanted to get ,more cash from ne, and then sat down to read a little at the Coffee Bean, the local espresso bar, a wonderful cafes network.
And lo and behold, even here someone played tricks with me. The young seller at the ice cream counter said that one ball costs 89 rupees, collected one of the shrunken ball container and asked if I want it in a waffle cone or a plastic cup. I asked for a waffle, and added another ball. Thus, the ice cream price jumped from 89 to 300 rupees. Twenty-one dollars. It's not cheap at all. But that's how it is in India, when you're a tourist, especially on day one.
I went to several baby stores to check prices of carriers (baskets), carts and the like. Carrycot costs here 5000 rupees, which is 382 NIS. Folding crib is here 8000 rupees, or about NIS 582. A cart for twins costs 15,000 rupees, 1,092 NIS. Funny prices. And I will need carrycots to move around with the babies. Carts are already waiting for me at home.
After visiting the store, I remembered what Maya, my hostess, told me during our last night's conversation. She said that on the second floor of the mall there's a fair of fortune tellers, tarot readers etc., and suggested that I will go there, and ask them about the birth and the children and find Indian names for them, to be prepared in a case they will want it in the future. It was my idea. It might be a delusive idea. But I thought that, apart from a Hebrew name, I might also give them an Indian name, to connect them to their roots.
I sat in front of a nice looking tarot reader. She took 500 rupees for questions about a particular topic, and suggested a full life reading for 1100 rupees. I stayed with the first option. I asked her about the children. She told me that the surrogate is nervous now, and needs emotional support, and that the children will be born by Caesarean section. One of them, she added, will suffer from medical problems, but they will e minor and will be solved in the future.
She said that at least one of them, if not both, is a boy, and told me that they will have musical talent and creativity. She also added, that we will have a special family relationship. Strong bonding.
It was hard for her to absorb a family picture with no woman in it, and I did not correct her. She said that the mother will not be easy at times. Oh well. For thirty-six dollars she terrified me so much, that I forgot to ask her about names for the children.
I do not really need this prophecy/ I am worried already. The three-dimensional ultrasound photograph that I got a month ago show one child with perfect face, but the second looks a bit weird. Distorted as it were. Everyone assured me, that this is the result of technology. I hope that it will end like that.
When I left the mall all the ricksha drivers there jumped on me. I chose one and showed him the address. He demanded 100 rupees. So I pulled the iPhone, and I looked at the note I have written there as a reminder of the expected fare. I told him forty. He was struck, apparently he thought this mysterious device compute fares. It turns out sixty. Exactly the sum I paid on my way here.
Back in Maya and Ido's house I thawed a chicken breast and cooked me lunch. After rest I tried to find a gym close to my address, with Google Maps, but after a long time I despaired of it, wear sports clothes and went for a walk.
I walked the main street, up the road, to market, and after. It was evening. Middle of the street, just opposite the market, I found an open, well maintained public park, were a lot of people sat and talked in the cool evening wind.
I went inside, and walked around the garden quickly, smelling the blossoms of many blooming flowers there. Everything was in bloom, shrubs, trees, flowers, full of beauty and scent.
I breathed gratefully these smells and continued up the street, looking for the forest Maya had assured me is there. I could not find it, but I saw a shabby shopping center, with popular food stands.
So after stretching and crunches and push-ups at home I showered and went there.
I wandered through the shops. All was very dirty. I chose one store where several men gathered. I thought that the rapid turnover of buyers will assure me the food would be reasonable.
I ordered a kebab rolled in Nan.
The guy standing over the heated metal bowl anointed it with oil, and turned the Nun back and forth. After that he preyed an egg in a cup, and anointed the egg on it. Meanwhile, another man, smiling, toothless, roasted a pale chicken kebab for me over the coals, and then dropped it, literally, on the filthy table.
The young one finished my Nun frying and imposed on this surface as well.
I did not want to tell them anything, but my stomach churned. And not just because of hunger.
I begged him to put some Paneer inside, a spicy Indian vegetable dish, and some chili. He rolled the kebab inside the Nun, wrapped it in aluminum foil and gave it to me.
According to the long wooden table on the edge of the store price was 120 rupees. I thought it was a hundred and twenty rupees. So I took a hundred and two of ten rupees from my pocket. Sellers looked at each other, then returned the twentieth, and thirty more as change.
I did not understand the logic of it. In my heart I thought, maybe that would cost 12 rupees, but it makes no sense. Coffee costs 80-90 rupees here.
Well, even if they manipulated me, I ate a nice kebab snack for five shekels.
It is very easy to get lost here with money. Is pours from one's pocket, and when calculated according to its Israeli value it looks ridiculous. But given the fact that I converted this morning 240 dollars and got 11,040 rupees, I spent about a thousand of them, its twenty dollars, 72 NIS.
Why am I troubling you with money? Well, first off, it demonstrates daily life in Delhi. You have to negotiate every moment here. Being a white tourist, they treat you here like an ATM stand. Also, I left Israel with very little money, a lot less than I should have had. So I try to keep track.
But now, sitting and writing on Maya and Ido's balcony, soon midnight here, I drink black Israeli coffee, smoke my Israeli cigarette, I sit barefoot, feeling the cold floor, the pleasant breeze of the evening, I'm glad I'm here.
I'll be even happier if I can get the clinic tomorrow, and ask if I could meet Sima Sen, the surrogate, to encourage her. If this will be possible, it would be great.
Speaking of white ATM. When you are approached by an Indian guy in a social network, and I had several calls like that today, in all the gay networks, you never know if he is really wants you. One guy, a handsome twenty-one lad, asked me for a date, or to be my guide, or take me to a party tonight, and send me pictures of his discreet. Another guy did not offer anything, just sent his concealed images, without a face. I told him that it would have been nice to see his face first.
The following guys made me tired.
I'm not here for sex, and my emotional resources are directed to one thing. My children. But I thought it would be nice to meet a nice Indian guy in a coffee shop and converse, so that I will not be here so lonely.
It is rather difficult to contain the joy, the depth of tense expectancy, and all these emotions, alone. I am lucky to have you, my known and unknown readers on Facebook.
Well, tomorrow I will meet with Sharon and Guy, from the Israeli embassy. This is better, I think.