Side trip to India…
As Secretary of State Clinton woos India during her trip there I feel compelled to take a “side trip” there, too. I’ve been to India four times over the past three years, although it’s been since April 2008 since my last visit (for one week). My first there was for three weeks in May 2006 and that was pure fun, but subsequent trips have all been for business, although they’ve been quite enjoyable (for the most part), too.
I was ripped apart last Thanksgiving Weekend when I watched the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai on fire, burning out of control. I’ve stayed at the Taj and during my April ’08 trip there, although I stayed at other accommodations about a five minute walk away (“The Radio Club”), I had all my business meetings at the Taj. Leopold’s restaurant and bar, also attacked by terrorists last November, was a nightly haunt of mine: good, honest food, cold Kingfisher or Foster’s beer, and always interesting patronage from around India and around the world.
Back in February 2007 I traveled to India for a couple of weeks with a “trade delegation”. While in New Delhi I traveled out to Gurgaon, a district outside of New Delhi, for a business meeting. The experience took me back to some of my adventures in Japan when I was a college exchange student there in 1984: I quickly found myself the naive American trying to maintain some semblance of composure and confidence during a serious of circumstances I had never quite navigated before. I had to remind myself that I was the “fly in the ointment”, that I was the “odd man out” and anything that may have struck me as out of whack was, in fact, quite normal and that I was (literally) the foreign element in an otherwise harmonious landscape.
If you read my (another very true) story, “India Brain Game”, you’ll note that in the latter part of it circumstances take a turn towards the scatologic, as they did in my story “Obligation”. I promise that this is not a recurring theme or thread that will pop up in every third or fourth tale of mine. Chalk this up to coincidence only.
Again, as with all my stories, everything that you read in “India Brain Game” was as it occurred (or, at least, as I remember it occurring).