Wednesday 5th December 2007
Ok, so after all the excitement with Motilal at the hospital, I was pretty shattered, but Priya insisted I go out on Friday as usual.
I wasn’t feeling too well to be honest, I’ve caught a cold and was knackered, but figured I’d just go for dinner and catch up with everyone and then come home. (I also wasn’t feeling rich enough for a big night out, as Motilal’s stay in the hospital cost me 21,000 rupees – about 160 quid, which is quite a lot on my budget, although a kind friend has offered to help me pay it).
I’d tried ringing Alan a couple of times on Thursday and Friday, and he hadn’t answered, but that’s not unusual, and I knew I’d see him at the pub.
We always meet on a Friday afternoon at the New Orleans, and by the time I got there, there was quite a bunch of volunteers, but no Alan.
We stayed until about 7pm, and a couple of other people had tried to call him and got no answer.
I got a bit worried, as it wasn’t like Alan to not show up for our Friday night piss-up, and no one had heard from him at all.
Anyway, feeling a bit crap I went home early and slept, but on Saturday morning I still couldn’t get through – his phone just rang and rang and no one answered.
I figured I’d just go up and see him, as he might be ill or something, and I know where his flat is, so off I went down to the bus park.
The bus park is a nightmare pretty much all the time, and it took me ages to find the right bus, but eventually I got on and found a seat.
We were about halfway out of the city when I realised my wallet was missing. I searched my bag frantically and asked everyone to look under their seats, but it wasn’t there, and had probably been nicked back at the bus park. I got off the bus and explained to the guy that I didn’t have any money, and asked where the hell we were, as I had no idea where we’d stopped. I desperately tried calling Alan over and over and Priya too, and eventually a very kind woman leaned out of the bus window and asked what had happened. I explained in a panic that my money was all gone, and she said she’d lend me some and I could get back on the bus.
I wasn’t sure if I shouldn’t go straight back home, but as I didn’t know where I was it seemed more sensible to go further away but at least know where I was, and anyway I knew Alan would lend me some money once I got there.
The lovely lady gave me 100 rupees, which was way more than I needed to go there and back, and I was really grateful. Then all the English-speaking people on the bus chimed in and all told me how I must be careful, and look after myself, and were very sweet.
I got to Kocanna, and walked to Alan’s orphanage. It was all locked up (I’d forgotten they all go to church on a Saturday) so I walked on to Alan’s flat.
After knocking on the door a few times I tried the handle and it opened.
I literally stood there in shock.
The entire room was empty. No stuff, no bed, no wardrobe, nothing.
It had been stripped completely bare.
I totally panicked, as I knew Alan wasn’t the kind of guy to just move or go off somewhere without telling anyone, and even if he had, why was his bed and everything gone?
I started thinking about Ram, the owner of his orphanage, and what a total scumbag he is, and started to seriously freak out, thinking that maybe Alan had been kidnapped or abducted or something worse.
I was literally phoning Alan every minute, if only for something to do, and then got through to Priya, explained everything and she said her husband would come out and get me on his motorbike.
I waited by the road for ages, trying not to think about scary things that could have happened, and called Hom at RCDP to ask him if he knew anything. He didn’t and I said that I was worried Alan might be missing, so he said he’d send someone out to talk with Daniel and the landlord and see when they last saw him.
Eventually Priya’s husband arrived and he followed me back to the orphanage to see the room. He chatted with the landlord, who said he’d seen Alan Friday morning, and he hadn’t come back at night (but then he never does on a Friday).
We drove back home (I was wearing a skirt so I had to go side-saddle – was terrified of falling off over all the potholes!) and I sat down with Priya. We agreed not to panic, as he may have moved flats or gone out somewhere with the kids, but I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t answer his phone or come out on Friday.
Then I went off to make phone calls and sort out my stolen credit card and debit card, and of course realised that my rucksack under my bed is padlocked (it’s where I keep my passport) and the key was in my purse, and we have to renew our visas in two days so I had to find a way to cut through the padlock as well to liberate my passport.
It was one of those days.
As I was coming out of the internet shop, having just emailed everyone I could think of to ask if they’d seen of heard from Alan, I was still trying to call him every five minutes, and suddenly he picked up!
It turns out he’d gone to Pokhara (another city) with a friend for a couple of days, and the silly bugger hadn’t told anyone he was going (although he was SURE he’d emailed me, which he hadn’t).
It also turned out that he HAD moved rooms, which is why there was nothing left in his old room, but again, had never mentioned it.
I went home and was so relieved that he was alright, and then SO angry that he’d put me through all that stress – it was really a bad enough week without that, and I wouldn’t have had my wallet nicked if I hadn’t been looking for him!
Then I had a really girly moment and had a big cry – and decided I was mostly pissed off because he and Jim had gone off to Pokhara without even asking me if I wanted to go!
So, major panic and stress-out, and now I’m just tired and have a cold.
I really want to have a few days off (maybe I’ll just go to Pokhara by myself!), but will have to wait until my new cards come through before I’ll have any money (although Aamaa very sweetly said that as I’d paid for everything at the hospital she’d lend me some money if I need it!).
Anyway, it’s all fine now, although it absolutely FREEZING here now at night – there’s no heating at all, and my bedroom windows don’t close properly (they’ve swollen or something). You’d all laugh if you could see how many layers I wear to bed these days, I look like the Michelin Man, but still manage to be cold!
However, I’m powering through, and have mastered the art of the Dundee Shower (it really is too cold to stand around in the bathroom even with a bucket of hot water to pour over yourself!).
I think my layer of dirt might actually be helping to trap heat too, so I’m reducing showers to an absolute minimum (once a week – twice if I’m feeling brave!) – also because it’s now the dry season and water’s in short supply. We have a tank under the house, but it’s getting refilled less and less regularly these days.
So, all fun and games, my cold’s a bit better now, although it helps that I can’t smell myself!
tons of love to you all,
ps – Christmas is coming – don’t forget to donate on my webpage as a little christmas helping hand for the kiddies!
Remember, “Hands that help are holier than lips that pray” – isn’t that a lovely quote?