But my usual last-minute flurrying happened anyway. You can only pretend to be someone else so long. 3:45 is still too early for me to function well and even though I had tucked my ticket in my purse myself, I panicked at the last moment and searched fruitlessly for it in my computer bag. My thyroid pills! Toilet paper for the train! And that ticket! Where was it again?
But in amidst all the scurrying back and forth from the kitchen to the bedroom, I made myself a cup of tea and sat down gratefully to drink it, in honor of a Russian custom which I love: apparently, in Russia, everyone travels the way I do. Total chaos with the entire family racing madly in all directions, shouting instructions to each other which no one pays the slightest attention to, while luggage piles up in teetering stacks, only to be opened again to shove in some forgotten item.
Then suddenly, on some private family signal, everyone sits down together for a moment of calm and repose. They pause, breathe, and sip a bit of tea. Then they all leap up again and continue hurtling about as if that moment of quiet and reflection had never happened.
But it had. And it did. I'm on the train now and that sweet pause in my preparations is with me even now as the train hurtles forward, intent on getting us to Delhi. I sit by my large window, gazing out at the sun rising over the crest of hills we are leaving behind and feeling lucky to be here, however sleepy, grateful that I slowed down even for two minutes to drink the tea, to take the photo, to find a quiet pocket in the morning, to remember.