There isn't a corner in India that hasn't been pissed in.I thought this as I traipsed worriedly through the Haridwar train station. It was 5am, still dark, and I knew that sooner or later I was going to vomit.I'd woken up before my 4 a.m. alarm with that familiar and sickening feeling: Oh no! It's going to happen to me! Delhi-belly! India's legendary greeting. Now it was my turn.I could expect vomiting, crapping, or both at once. Worse, I wouldn't be able to sleep it off in my hotel room: I had 8 hours of travel ahead of me: 1 hour taxi to Haridwar, 6 hour train to Delhi, 1 hour subway to my friend's apartment in the suburbs.I'd have dubious bathroom options all along the way.I half expected to be let off easy. Maybe I just feel a bit funky this morning. After all, I was eating a lot of strange food these days.So, putting on a false optimism, at 4:15am I dressed and walked down from above Rishikesh's Swargashram area where the budget hotels clustered, past closed shops, my favorite chai-wallah's stand, down between the begging sadhus (saints) now asleep by the side of the uneven pathway, over the Ram Jhula suspension bridge that spanned the left and the right banks of the now-darkened Ganges.I was hopeful that I could overcome that nagging feeling.My taxi driver, Mukesh, arrived on time at 4:45am and drove at breakneck speed through Rishikesh town to Haridwar. We arrived early---plenty of time for me to realize that the growing ache in my belly was not going away.I picked my way through the lobby of the Haridwar station, stepping over people asleep on plastic sacks covered in wool shawls rolled up like big soft cigars.Too poor to get hotels for the night, they stretched out on the marble floor. They were lone men, families or a few women together with their children, misshapen lumps with not a foot, hand, or tuft of hair visible.The bathroom options were not good. I went to explore the “first class” waiting room. The toilets were wet and filthy. The whole place stunk of urine and ammonia. At a sink stood an old man noisily horking up phlegm.I walked back out onto the platform and into the dark, hoping there might be a private place away from the main station building. Near the side of the building, say, or near a field.The first darkened corner I came to a man was taking a piss---as thousands, if not millions, had before him. Men are always pissing by the side of the road, in alleys or darkened corners here. Also in broad daylight. Nix that option.The field next to the Haridwar train terminal reeked of all manner of rotten things, from simple garbage—paper chai cups and foil snack bags—to nastier stuff like kitchen waste, rancid cooking oil, and probably some toxic old paint, construction materials and fetid water. It smelled awful. There was no chance I was getting closer.The degree of filth in India has taken some getting used to. I'm generally not squeamish but the piercing smell of unflushed human excrement affects some primal part of me. I veer away instinctively. If I have to use the toilet, but the only options are filthy, I will somehow lose my need to go.But even the clean public bathrooms have at least a whiff of acrid urine or the putrid stink of sewage. Then there's all that moisture on the floor, usually laced with sandy dirt from the bottom of people's shoes and sandals—footwear that has been out walking the streets littered with centuries of cow-dung, human feces, urine, laundry soap, and many other liquids that have spilled there over time (chai, fruit pulp, samosa crumbs, dog vomit etc).Normally, the surfaces in the bathrooms look dubious too: if there's a flush toilet, uncertain fluids rest on the toilet seat as well as in it. The sinks have a noticeable filigree of black on the porcelain and the taps are usually crusty. I never want to touch anything.In short—-between the smells, the fluids, the dirt, and the obvious presence of others who may or may not wash their hands regularly, public bathrooms in India are generally an unpleasant adventure.I wouldn't even want to throw up in most of them.My belly continued to churn, ache, pinch, and cramp. The situation was well past the stage of mind over cucumber, tomato, olives, and cheese cubes with a honey olive-oil dressing matter. This was a question of when.And about that salad.... Yes, I know, I know: all the guidebooks, and every friend who's ever been to India gives the same warning: avoid all uncooked fruits and vegetables except ones you peel. Especially avoid salad!Contact with contaminated water tends to be the culprit. Bad water leaves many a Westerner, used to impeccable hygiene, vomiting, crapping or both at the same time.Then there's all the roadside dust (tremendous quantities), diesel fumes and—-- importantly--—the cow dung that India's produce is exposed to on its journey from field to table. All potential culprits.But the Health Cafe in Rishikesh washed their produce in fresh water, not tap water (they said), and used the fresh, organic ingredients. I'd eaten a few salads there already no ill effect. It was such a relief to eat fresh food!But I'd taken things a bit too far. This one was not going to stay down.Maybe because the three skinny and serious guys running the cafe had been distracted while cooking that particular night. There had been some Borat-style sketch comedy clips on the Internet; the men had gathered around to watch and laugh. Maybe they hadn't paid attention to how those veggies got washed that night.Back in the Haridwar train station, I ran out of ideas for where to do my business. Then, I saw someone I recognized from Rishikesh and realized that I had forgotten to find out what platform my train was leaving from. So I waved down the tall guy with clear Dennis Hopper-style glasses and a wildly scraggly beard.“Platform 4,” he said, looking surprised to be recognized. In spite of the fashionable stuff going on with his face, I knew him as a friendly person. At the Health Cafe, we'd talked briefly about yoga teachers in Rishikesh.“Where do you go?” I'd inquired.“Well, Surinder at the Raj Palace Hotel has been sick lately. But for me he's the best. There's Usha across the river at Omkarananda but it's 500 rupees ($10). Otherwise Kamal the Astanga guy is pretty famous.”“I'm done with Astanga,” I said. “I leave it to other people now.”He laughed, “Yeah, too hard on the joints!”We were on the same page.At the railway station, we found the pedestrian overpass to Platform 4 and climbed the stairs together. I wondered whether to tell him that I was on the verge of upchucking. It was all I could think about. On Platform 4, we sat ourselves and our packs down on a metal bench and I noticed there were no places to get sick here. Except onto the tracks themselves. In front of everyone.I hate making a demonstration of myself in public. It is one of my worst nightmares. It looked like I was going to have to either be very brave, or very creative, in how I managed this situation It had all the signs of being painfully embarrassing.But for now, here was Jaime, 24, tall and lanky and Italian-looking. He spoke with the carefree, go-with-the-flow Italian poise; I'd seen him around town with several different people. I could imagine him on a scooter, drinking coffee at an outside trattoria, waving “ciao!” to his friends.So I was surprised to learn not only that he was Mexican but that he suffered the same curse I do: worrying. In fact I was worrying right now, and had been since I'd woken up.But it was hard to imagine him worrying. He looked so chill. But like me, he was an over-planner, thinking that if all the details were in place ahead of time, everything would go well.I had new respect for him.“Do you remember what Mooji said?” I asked him. The charismatic Jamaican-English teacher had been in Rishikesh giving satsangs (question and answer periods) and I'd seen Jaime get up and ask a question.“No, what?”“He said, 'You can't breathe tomorrow's air.' ”“Wow, I don't remember that, it's a good one. Really great,” said Jaime, nodding. “I also like to plan, but actually,” he raised a long, thin finger, “it doesn't make things better.”“I know, right? Because you get so frustrated and disappointed when things don't go the way you want them to.” This seemed to apply well right at this moment. “And you can't stop them.”“In fact, I think it makes things worse,” said Jaime. “India really forces you to deal with this...it's simply impossible to maintain your plans here. Too chaotic. Everything changes. Nothing goes the way you think it will. ”“Totally."As Jaime and I bonded over our own poor attempts to control our reality, I realized I was not thinking about my stomach ache. Maybe if I kept talking to Jaime, I would actually be fine.Or maybe if Jaime and I kept talking about Mooji and the overwhelming feeling of peace and love that the accomplished Vendanta teacher brought into the room, I could overcome my food poisoning altogether. Maybe I could use mind over matter. And somehow just the memory of Mooji would guide me.Dawn was beginning to light the railway tracks. Many more people had gathered on the platform. A woman asked Jaime to move his pack so that she could sit down on our metal bench. A poor man wrapped in a dirty white cloth and a dirty brown cloth, carrying a gnarled walking stick, came to beg for money. He touched me on the head several times and pointed to his cloudy eyes. A woman stuck a portable Durga shrine lit with sticks of incense under my nose and insisted on coin donations.But then, suddenly, quickly the train arrived, a few minutes late, and the growing crowd on the platform surged towards the train with their packages, scarves, slippers, small children, tiffin pots full of portable lunches. As we got up and shrugged into our packs, a surge of nausea hit me. I wasn't going to escape so easily.Jaime and I said goodbye: he was in a car at the opposite end of the train from me. All our seats were pre-assigned so I knew I wouldn't see him again. He would transfer in Delhi for a 31-hour train to Goa on the coast.As I slipped into my window seat next to a devout Muslim man who later gave a copy of his Qur'an, I prayed that, if throwing up was truly inescapable, please let me have the safest, cleanest, most peaceful experience of being sick possible, one that was not humiliating.And when the time came, I found a passable porcelain sink in a reasonably un-smelly bathroom. The door locked. I managed to keep my balance on the wildly swaying train. Given the options, this little set-up was a bit of a miracle. I managed. I figured it out. It was kind of okay.This was definitely one of those things I couldn't plan for and couldn't know how to manage ahead of time. It wasn't great—because throwing up is by definition awful—but of all the options I had been given, it was okay.And that was a decent compromise for me.