Joel and I are at the cherry stage of partnership, where if nine months was full term – the size of a plump watermelon – our courtship is about week ten. The thing is, partnership is less like swallowing the blue pill and hoping for the best, and more like enrolling in a law degree and working your bloody arse off.
In the early days, we jump on board that commitment train before we actually know where it’s headed. Sure, the train might say Destination: Paris, but it’s like childbirth – you can pack your bags and get out your Clary sage and prepare for the Hard all you want; the moment you step off that train and find yourself in deep, grappling to see true north, it can be rather shocking. Instead of Paris, you find yourself in Delhi, and while you knew partnership would never look like a glossy travel brochure, you also didn’t think there would be QUITE so much mess. There are no baguettes and berets. No red and white checkered tablecloths. No escargots, no souffles, no coq au vins. Our well-practiced Salut! and Comment vas-tu? and Bon Appetit! lost to the Hindi scripture we can barely make any sense of.
Of course, that’s not to say that Delhi isn’t as good as Paris. No, ma’am. It’s just that Delhi is not where we thought we were headed. Delhi is not what we had envisioned long-term love to be. And even if we HAD. Even if Delhi was on our be-prepared-for-this radar, I don’t know one person who has stepped off that Delhi tarmac and not been hit square in the face with the Delhi-ness of it all. Even for the most well-seasoned travelers, it can still feel like you’re getting slightly winded. Besides, we look around and we barely see ONE OTHER PERSON from our trip, so we assume they made it to Paris, swinging their Louis Vuitton bags and eating buttery croissants as we speak. It can feel unsettling — a breeding ground for comparison and envy.
Obviously, obviously, while we’re sitting on that train, small as cherries, it’s best we order a snack and throw our tickets out the window. We’re already on board. The only thing that ticket does is nervously reinforce our destination control. We’re going to Paris because that’s what it says. Right here, in black print. Throw the damn thing out the window, because the only thing worth knowing is that partnership is one long road of turning left instead of right and learning to swap our baguettes for naan bread along the way.
Besides, do you know how many people live in Delhi? Twenty-five million. And do you know how many people live in Paris? Two million.
Most of us are in Delhi, sisters, throwing back some daal and shaking our hips to loud Punjabi pop.
We like cherries. We like naan bread, too.
Friday Photo Dump (theredtent on Instagram if you want to follow the feed).