Mark Tucker : Journal

Moment Jar: my moment

Posted in Personal by marktucker on December 17, 2009

I saw this interesting page on the Swiss Miss blog about The Moment Jars, where people click on an empty jar, and then write a little snippet about a pivotal moment in their life. The one that rushed into my mind won’t fit in a jar:

In May 2001, my friend Libba Gillum invited me and four others to join her on a trip to New Delhi. She was going for business, but a few others tagged along to make the adventure and to shoot photographs. She went early, and I flew by myself. The instructions were to get a cab, stay at this one hotel, and find each other the next morning. So the flight is like 22 hours, start to finish. I had no idea. But I can remember landing in Delhi at 2am local time, and somehow locating my bags, and trying to stay awake and alert, and find a cab. I can remember leaving the airport building, and wandering out into the street, and trying to find what I thought was a reputable cab driver, whatever that means. So off we go, into the night. All I had was an address scratched onto a piece of paper to give the cabbie. We’re driving along, pretty dark roads, and an ELEPHANT walks across the road in front of the cab. Somehow he dodges it, mutters something, dodges a sleeping cow that’s lying in the road, and keeps driving without much notice. I just thought, “F___, was that what I thought it was? Was that an elephant, in the middle of the road?

So we continue, winding thru the crazy streets, with the windows down, and it’s two in the morning, but it’s still like 85 or 90 degrees. We pull up to the hotel, and the cab driver goes into the hotel, and there’s some commotion, but then, some guys come and fetch me, and check me into my room. As I’m walking up the concrete steps to my third floor room, I noticed in the dark, that there were the bodies of many children asleep on the floor, in the hallways of the hotel. I tried to act cool, and so I just start step over the bodies, like i was playing Twister or something, trying not to fall down, or wake up these kids.

I make it to my room, and it’s like 140 degrees in the room, and one tiny window that would not open, and this clackety clack clack air conditioner that was mounted in the wall, but it only blew hot air into the convection oven that was now going to be my home for the next 24 hours. I lie down on the bed, and realize that the bedspread is wool. “Just great” I think to myself. “Wool, and it’s 140 degrees in here”. I dropped my bags, thought I’d sit down on the bed for a second to catch my breath, and the next thing I knew it was ten hours later. You know that feeling, when you wake up, and for those first quick seconds, you have no idea where you are, and your tongue is stuck to the roof of your mouth, and you’re still fully dressed?

4 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Peter Marquis-Kyle said, on December 17, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    Mark, thank you for that story which evoked memories of a room I stayed in in Chandi Chowk. See

    I notice that the links from my website to your Indian pictures, and your Salton Sea pictures, and your Cuba pictures, are all broken. I guess you have taken all of those photos down. A great pity, I think, since I would like to look at them again.

  2. Tamara said, on December 18, 2009 at 12:16 am

    Ahhhh. Such fond memories and even though I was a day later my experiences are so similar-elephants, cows and 100 degrees. “The Death of Vishnu” – “A Fine Balance.” I could go back tomorrow

  3. Dave said, on December 18, 2009 at 2:05 pm


    Awesome.., I was in Calcutta in 2001. Same feeling, only had my main bag stolen and barely made it home before 9-11. No passport, no credit cards and no ID in the arm-pit of the world. I would probably still be there if it had been a week later. Crazy thing, I would go back in a heartbeat. Beautiful and terrifying at the same time.

  4. dovile said, on January 5, 2010 at 5:07 am

    nice story.

Comments turned off.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 337 other followers