…and so does the countdown. Well, here we are thanks to his itchy feet. Landed at 12:00 am on 3rd June 2012. And within 45 minutes of setting foot in this country which, they claim, is “saare jahaan se achchaa“, we had paid our first bribe. Mr. M even got to bargain a bit (something he rather enjoys doing). It was almost like we were back at the Fake Markets of Shanghai again! We were obviously not naive enough to expect clean customs officials, but we sure didn’t expect them to be so shamelessly and openly corrupt. There was no attempt being made by them to be discreet or secretive about the fact that they were asking us to pay INR 15,000 without a receipt.
Anyway, the company car brought us home and we quickly settled in, an art we have mastered through moving houses every year since we got married. We tucked Ka into bed and right when she opened her book for her routine bedtime reading (yeah, she reads herself to sleep even at 2 am), she had her first power cut. She didn’t quite understand the phenomenon. She thought there was a big switch somewhere which someone had accidentally flipped. Anyway, thanks to 24-hour full power back-up, we had electricity back again in about 5 minutes. And Ka read herself to sleep soon enough.
The next morning, we showed Ka the mini-slum we can see from our balcony. The residents are mostly construction workers working on the site across from our building. Ka seemed totally confused. She doesn’t understand why people who know how to build houses can’t build some houses for themselves.
I am sure over the next 3 years, there will be a lot of things she will not be able to wrap her head around. And that is one of the most beautiful things about her. Her idealised, simple, innocent view of the world and her desire and need to see everybody happy and comfortable.