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When Superman saves IndianSamourai

Here comes the time of the big move... 

The day before I leave, I meet my girlfriends of the Long Island Lady gang for a final episode of Sex & the City in Delhi.

But before that, I finish packing a few cartons – I've already seen the packers in action: the moment you turn your back they have packed everything, even my cat’s disembowelled old stuff mice, so better everything is a bit organized before they arrive...

I also pack my plants in my car, which is also going to travel by truck to Mumbai. 

And I start my journey to the “club” with my bamboo as a co-pilot. And today I would certainly make good use of a co-pilot since my GPS does not seem decided to cooperate... Finally it shows me a road, and we (my plants, the GPS and I) get stuck in traffic. 

And then all of a sudden my GPS demands me to take a left. A look at the area and the size of the lane I decide that my GPS has gone cuckoo and I'd rather continue straight. But no, it makes me turn back...  

So I obey (I really have no idea of where I am right now) and take the direction initially indicated. As expected I land in a popular neighbourhood, with tiny lanes where my small car hardly fits and gets stuck between vegetables carts. It smells trouble this story! 

On this the madam of the GPS wants me to take a lane that is even narrower and not lit up at all. Now the story stinks!  


I rebel once more and take a left...And I reach in dead-end. Good luck to do a u-turn without damages... I try for a good ten minutes. I sweat like a pig with the effort and eventually I decide to go backward, even if it is not gonna be an easy one either… And there Superman arrives. I am not kidding. A guy (which looks like Sami Naceri, the French actor) arrives on a bike, gets down, asks me to vacate my car: I don’t know how to drive my car and he is going to do it for me! 


It is important to place the context... With the rape and murder of that Indian girl – of which I have deliberately not spoken – everyone has become a little (a lot) paranoid in Delhi. So even if I'm not scared, being stuck at 9: 30 pm in a dark alley with four guys around, with a phone battery almost dead and completely lost, let me tell you that I am not too proud... 


After a few (many) bangs right and left my hero gives up on the u-turn and decides to go backward. Not a smooth one...  

And then he leaves with my car! I run a little behind; he stops and demands me to sit on the passenger seat: he will drive me. But something is worrying me: how could he not notice that the passenger seat was occupied by a bamboo??  

I'm not too confident about the whole thing but what choice do I have? I have no idea of where I am and driving in this area with hideous and tricky lanes would make me freak out...  

And anyways, it is in my nature to be very trusting... 

So I get in and sit in the back, still not reassured... 


He takes a turn in the lane originally indicated by my GPS – I have the mind to turn on my GPS to know if he would kidnap me! 

And then bam, a gate closed. My driver honks, waits, calls out, honks. As he is about to go for another vicious u-turn, a granpa arrives with the key. But grandpa is not really keen on opening the colony gate at this hour. Well, let’s see if he can resist the supplications of a desperate French girl… The gate opens… 

My driver now refuses to let me drive... The GPS tells me that we are really close. He drives full speed. We hit speed bumps big time. My plants are all over the place. Is he drunk?  

He insists to park my car and park it like a pig. But hell. I have the wisdom (!) too shut up!!  


As I thank him profusely and offer to compensate he refuses and hands me his business card! 


To finish the story, I run to see my friends at the "club". And this is not a superlative. I pass the hut of the guards in full sprint – so fast that they could not stop me for registration. I also run up the stairs and gulped down my friend’s LIT! Then I am ready to tell my story... I can barely speak due to the stress (of that driving in the narrow lanes and of that impromptu driver story)... 


After the 3rd cocktail I start wondering about the drive back. Maybe I could call that dude and ask him to drive me home?! ;) 


I came back safe and hallucinated by my crazy last night in Delhi! Which I finally left on a beautiful note! 


Because a woman will always be a woman...

The Indians are quite not too adventurous. Especially in India as a matter of fact.

Having my (female) assistant to come to a meeting in the evening was really not easy, the whole office talked to the parents and her brother-in-law came along... What are the parents afraid of I don’t know, but they were damn scared. Obviously, given the act that I am a foreign girl, all alone in India for 6 years, it is difficult for me to fully understand. Though I respect it.

And this kind of attitude is not the exclusivity of the lower middle class people. For example my upper-upper-class girl friends have “crapped me a watermelon” – this is a French expression translated by Bing and I found it too funny so I left it!! It means they made a big fuss – the other day because I wanted to drive home at 2 AM. And according to them it is not safe (for the girl, not for the others, I see you coming! – though in my case I would think I am the danger...).

They have for example asked me to put on a sweater over my dress. And I drove home safely, and without my sweater.

When I told an Indian female friend, who is now roaming around Vietnam that I intended to do a road trip from Delhi to Mumbai, she told me without hesitation "no you can’t do that! I told her to stop being an Indian mum...” That said it's funny, a French girlfriend also told me I was reckless!



About getting stranded and Indian hospitality


Four days after I got my vehicle, I had a dinner with a client in Bab-el-Oued (more than 20 kilometers from my place). And at night. And everyone telling me that it is not safe in Delhi (not safe for a girl to drive, not safe to drive at night because of the drunks who drive crazy).


Blessed be my Blackberry and Google Map! I arrived at my destination safely, and only 9 minutes late. Well, when I say my destination, I mean I reached the area of my destination. And when I was dialing my colleague’s number, my battery died… Oh f... And what am I gonna do now? I turn around for 20 minutes, hoping to find the restaurant by miracle. To no avail. I thus think to go back home but it would mean leaving my customer waiting for one more hour before informing him that I was cancelling and it is really not done!


On top of everything, it is past 8 PM, all the stores are closed...

I find a well lit electronics shop. I break like mad and park like a Parisian, enter and ask for a Blackberry charger. They show me a store opposite the road. I can’t find it. I go back to the store. I must look desperate, shaking my phone and my car keys because they offer me a seat and a charger!

I therefore spent the following twenty minutes waiting for my colleague watching Rocky on TV with the store guys that probably closed late that day just for me!


This is why! This is why I like the India.