Home from India Safe & Sound

6 November 2010

Departing Kolkata around 8pm on the 5th, we arrived in New Delhi for a brief layover before catching our connecting flight back to New York just after 1am. Thus began my longest birthday ever which, when spanned across 9.5 time zones following the path of the sun, amounted to somewhere around 33 hours when all the candles were finally extinguished at the tail end of the day. Add an hour for the return to Standard Time, and you’ve got yet another bonus. An extra 10 hours or so to contemplate one’s successful arrival at ‘retirement age.’ REtirement, hell! I’m not even tired yet! In many ways I feel as though I’m just hitting my stride. If you must know, I’m fifty-fifteen.

Having once again survived the adrenalin rush of Kolkata traffic, where lane separations are non-existent and taxis and cars jockey for advantage with buses and trucks, often spilling over into opposing traffic, in a cacophony of the Chaos Theory in practice, I distracted myself from the death-defying crosstown foray by putting pen to page as we flew through the fray (in much the same way that my Song From Slovenia came into being between Maribor and Ljubljana in 1972). Here’s the result:

Not for the weak of will
Nor the fainthearted
Kolkata traffic jam–
Don’t get me started
I and my latest meal
Shall soon be parted

We surge, we thrust, we jab
And beg the question
Is that red traffic light
Just a suggestion?
Kolkata traffic jam
Impedes digestion

Kolkata traffic jam
Show some compassion
Before my awe-filled eyes
My life is flashin’

White knuckle sandwiches
‘Twixt bus and lorry
Where angels fear to tread
We’re bound for glory
But they do this every day
Why should I worry?!

Kolkata traffic jammed
Intensely lyrical
Angelic evidence
Densely empirical
Another day unscathed
Another miracle!

Kolkata traffic jam
Show some compassion
Before my awe-filled eyes
My life is flashin’

–James Durst
30-31 October 2010 © 2010


  1. Michael Scolnick says:

    Welcome home. Will you be booking more dates for Work o’ the Weavers, I hope, I hope, I hope. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been able to see you.

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