It is 30 degrees here in Sao paulo. I arrive and go straight to the hospital after more than 30 hours travelling. Emergency room. There is something comic about it. The man who calls out the patients does not manage to get anyone to come in. After calling out 5 people n a roll who seemed to have disappeared he exclaims
” i guess i should go call the patients in Deola”.
I stop to wonder for a second what is Deola and then I remember it is the bakery next door. i am amused. ” That is Brasil”, I think , “even the patients don’t take their sickness that seriously.”
All is so wonderfully informal. The way the fellow Brazilian/Lebanese who also needed a wheel chair in the airport starts to chat with me while we wait for our luggage. As soon as I mentioned I had been to Israel and Palestine he exhales with admiration.” Have you been to Nablus? What a nice place.” He then teaches me how to be able to go from Israel to Jordan into Lebanon by ” losing” my passport there.” Easier this way. ” Then he gets my email so that I can get tips on where to buy Humus, and Tahina, and Zaatar and anything Middle Eastern I might need here in Sao Paulo.
I had been enchanted by the cordiality of Udom, my Thai wheel chair carrier, then surprised by the intense energy of my Dohan porter, and had been relived to be welcomed home by Paulo the Brazilian one. He wanted to know what had happened to me, where was I, told me stories and then when he had cut all paths to make my way shorter, because my flight had landed earlier he told me not to worry he would stay with me till my parents would arrive.
It was not necessary as I could see my parents smiling and carrying me a flower as soon as I went out. When my father asked Paulo, the porter, whether he could take me all the way outside so that he could drive to pick me up, he offered to take me all the way to the parking lot so that I would not have to wait any longer. ” she has already travelled too much”.
It is a culture of exceptions, or “circumtiality” that creates many problems but also this feeling of easiness, of particularity, and happiness.
I am happy but slightly off place, mixing words in English, wanting to “way” people.
I had been travelling more than 30 hours but I somehow don’t mind at all going straight to hospital. The doctor looks at the X-ray I brought with me. He sees no reason for needing an operation.
” if you foot is as it is here you should be fine just with imobilisation. “
I feel a sudden rush of adrenaline inside my stomach. i remember every fall I had since I casted my foot. Every walk, and climbing stairs, and attempts to dance, and step, and hop, and climb. Could it possibly be that I managed to dislocate a simple fracture because of my inability to stay still?
I have to do a new X-ray. It is Brazil which means everybody asks you what happen to you and they all tell you what had happened to them. I want to kill the man who keeps telling me about operating my foot. He speaks with the confidence of a surgeon. He is just a patient thank god.
When I am brought back to the doctor have he exclaims ” the good news is that this is a simple injury and whoever told you have to operate is crazy.” I am relieved and terrified at the same time.
“What are the bed news?”
” There are no bad news.”
I am relieved beyond belief. I want o hug him and the whole world.
” In two months you should be ok do do whatever you want”.
I go back to my grandmothers home and I meet Claudia the new lady who works there. I had spoken to her many times before. I walk towards her to introduce myself. Before I even finish the sentence she walks towards me, flings her arms around me and gives me a hug.
I am slightly surprised. I am surprised that I am surprised? The truth is that I realise so many things seem strange to me. I am so affectionate by most standards in the world, I am so informal. But that what made me feel a little bit Brazilian abroad now seem like diluted here. And what is odd is all the rest that I picked up living abroad.
I am not very sure what will I do in Brasil. It has only been one day. It might even be that it is odder than going to Burma. Surely more strange than going back to India. Maybe that is it. Maybe there is truly never going back anywhere. Those are figures of our imagination. We are usually simply just going. Going “home” might just mean you go to a place where the social rules apply to you more, where the people expect you to know them. And some you do, but some have been trashed so long ago that they are just as odd as the ones that belong to the foreign villages.
There is just “going” I guess. I try to remember the beginning of India. one step at the time. Now this is a literal and figuratively thing. I tried to remember that it takes a while for the soul to arrive. I guess mine still is watching the sunset in the Mekong. Getting ready to float in the Gaia. One step at the time and I know it will also arrive here.