Expecting the Unexpected in India Day 258: Slumdog Scam?

Sunrise with Slovenian girl to see the golden temple lose its all encompassing glow as the only mainstay during the night but still retain its magnetic charm and focus despite competing with the rising sun

Reflection of the temple in the clear blue water
Chatting and being the subject of photos but definitely me more than her
Chai at temple as part of the free food given by the Sikhs to anyone, open four door policy
Bought ticket out on non-A/C bus to Delhi for tonight because I am striving to be cheap
Met kid, had some more chai with him, walked around temple complex a bit before taking him back to the pilgrim house area
Paid for him to call his family, he kept insisting before and during while waiting for the call to go through that I needed to talk to his family first which made no sense because they were missing him not me and needed to hear so from his mouth not some stranger. He would say that I needed to explain the story he told me as of his parents wouldn’t believe their own child. I insisted he talked to them since I was not involved because I figured this was a great way for these ‘parents’ to guilt me into giving him money for a ticket or something else. After some unconnected dropped calls it finally went through and I copied down the number on the overheard board. The kid got very emotional with ‘mama’ crying this and that. He handed the phone over to me and I looked at like really? and said hello to which I got Hindi or any language I didn’t understand a single word of. I handed the phone back to the kid who then handed it to the man running the Internet/ISD-STD calling shop. After giving up the phone to the man, the kid vigorously wrapped his arms around me muffling his emotions into my shirt. I put an arm around him but I couldn’t help looking down at him and thinking kid you are full of total shit! I had no pity for this and the only emotion I had was anger for India being so sadistic to try and scam me in such a way. After the man got done talking after quite some time, the phone was hanged up and after some questioning on my part to fill in some gaps I was told that his parents would be coming here to Amritsar from Lucknow in roughly 24 hours tomorrow.
The parents knew where to find him and everything. I paid what was basically 25 cents and that was that. Where was the big scam? I am so confused!
Telling me about what happened to him, practically a “Slumdog Millionaire” story
He was on a school trip from his home in Lucknow to where on I don’t remember on India’s Independence Day a couple weeks back. When he was sitting with his friends, all of sudden someone came from behind and bashed him on the head. He couldn’t remember anything and awoke to being in some random room in what he found out to be Mumbai. His captors forced him to beg for money and luckily he escaped with his almost too good English by asking for help from an American (coincidentally I am one as well). The American bought him a train ticket to Amritsar and off he went to this city far away from the direction of his own home, bizarre. He had only been in Amritsar for two days but he acted like he knew the place well. Not sure where he had been sleeping
I asked why he hadn’t have anyone else around call for me and he said that he did but all anyone wanted to do was have him stay in Amritsar to work, they would give him food and a bad, another peculiar sign
Lunch of kulcha paratha and lassi but the kid didn’t want to eat, odd
Went to the silver temple, the dirty off the beaten path Hindu version of the golden temple, the kid was very helpful in getting us there by asking the locals in Hindi
Since I wanted to kill time at McDs to avoid the heat in their A/C I had to go back to get my devices at the pilgrim house
We walked back together and he came across an older man that the kid seemed to have known but maybe not. The kid said the man was helping him and it wouldn’t take long, I could meet him back here in five minutes. After taking care of my business, I waited there for ten to fifteen minutes and no one showed up. I left with the whole story being unresolved
Had an Indian friend call the number and she got dropped calls
McDs air-con Skype and killing time
One of the Sikh guards to the foreigners asked me about two men that I was with. I had no idea what he was talking about and he wouldn’t elaborate, creepy
Wanted to go back into golden temple for a dip but it never happened, which I regret
Wagah Border Ceremony
Went to taxi stand, they took forever as usual on their damn Indian time, led this way and that as the time ticked by and my sweat accumulated to bucketfuls.
Took cramped, hot, uncomfortable mini, mini bus/taxi to border 35 km away
Got checked through multiple security points, checking my passport
Waited in foreigner section for ceremony to start
30 m from Pakistan border
Mahatma Gandhi image and opposing man from Pakistan
Green and white with Islamic star and moon v. Indian saffron orange, white, and green
Tall guards with festooned hats being the man actors of the ceremony
Far more people on Indian side
Running of the Indian flag by girls and women
Hindi music blaring, some Pakistan choked and muffled back
Hot fucking hot! I constantly wiped my shirt across my face, on the surface of the sun
Hindi music with Bollywood style dancing, girls really getting into, extremely entertaining, Jai Ho song
Drumming, high stepping, chanting, waving of arms
Back and forth between both sides
Violent opening and closing of gate with stare downs
Who can I high step higher? With feet topping the heat of their already mountainous frame
Cute Indian women in uniform
Hot, hot, hot
Almost like a parade
Before taking ride back to Amritsar, man with limited English trying to talk to me before handing over his young child/baby to me so that his boy could pose with ‘uncle’, a respectful term
Continued talking in hot ass vehicle
Ate more kulcha back in Amritsar
Took too much of my sweet time to get leaving
Went to bus shuttle patiently waiting until locals started talking to me since it is impossible to have a moment to myself in Indian, they always have something to ask, so we got to the fact that the shuttle wasn’t running anymore in the time, they were panicking as if I had to go now like right now
Guy harassing me for a hotel even though I told him I was leaving Amritsar
Locals hooked me up with a cycle rickshaw for a fair enough price
Pedaling away, man working his ass off to get my fat ass going by revolving the creaking wheels at they banged over the rumble of the beaten streets and mushing me as he pushed forcefully up the hills for a wage that didn’t do his work justice
Confusion of which travel agency to go to get my confirmed ticket
Moved to a new one with the Slovenian girl
Waited around for awhile past the scheduled departure time spying a rat toy with my bag before I shooed it away
Led to bus by barely English speaking Indian
Wrong bus and no one was there, not even the driver
We refused to sit down or give up our bags until we figured out something
Eventually more people showed up but each time after boarding they would exit quickly and then join all of us standing outside, so confusing
Eventual an Indian guy my age helped with what was going on, following me over to the travel agency so that I could hear that they lied to my face earlier, after all this time traveling I think I deserve to bitch slap at least one asshole Indian each day, my given right for dealing with these sometimes extremely frustrating people
The bus we took was in fact the wrong one but was going to Delhi anyways in this cramped ancient contraption leaving over an hour and a half after we had originally planned
When the bus was moving I could bounce and bobble in my sleep but when we stopped for reasons no one could determine holy shit I felt like I was in a sauna
Overnight busses, simply lovely

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