It’s hot, like 42 C hot. Don’t even want to think about what that means in Farenheight hot. “Pretend you’re on a tropical island,” my friend laughs. We’re in a cycle rickshaw and the wind is blowing dust into our eyes and mouths from multiple directions. I wrap my dupatta over my mouth and hold the end of it up to shield my eyes from the too-bright sun and flying dirt. Tropical island? I’m pretending I’m on a desert migration.
I scooch a little more toward the center of the rickshaw. I’m on the left side, and I feel a little unstable, like between my heavy backpack and the slippery seat I just might slide out. My friend and I keep talking about her work and the work she hopes to do there in our last month.
The rickshaw is yanked to a stop as it catches on the wheel of another stationary rickshaw. The rickshaw driver falls forward a bit but catches himself by holding on to the handlebars. My friend also takes a hard fall forward but falls onto the rickshaw driver, so she is safe although slightly embarrassed. I, on the other hand, am launched out to the side. I’m in motion long enough to observe my surroundings from the perspective of being in the air before I land on my backpack like an upside-down turtle.
The Indian men on the side of the road looked on without much interest as my friend hurried to make sure I was okay, and I worried whether my camera was okay. Fortunately my backpack kept me from any injuries more serious than a few large bruises, and the books and magazines in my bag kept my camera from getting hurt. It all ended fine, but I still can’t figure out the physics of why I went the direction I did; I’ll draw a diagram for you all when I get home and you can help me sort it out.