Back at the Chateau Windsor there was a rat-like scratching at the door of my room. Vinod, the youngest servant, came in with a soda water. He placed it next to the bag of toffees. Then he watched me read. I was used to being observed reading. Sometimes the room would fill like a railway station at rush hour and I would be expected to cure widespread boredom.

All over India, all over the world, as the sun or the shadow of darkness moves from east to west, the call to prayer moves with it, and people kneel down in a wave to pray to God. Five waves each day – one for each namaaz – ripple across the globe from longitude to longitude. The component elements change direction, like iron filings near a magnet – towards the house of God in Mecca.

What hurts me is the fact that in India, a good doctor is one whom you have to take an appointment with even before you fall sick. Else, you will die but not get treated. A good school is one that won’t admit you even if you are in Lower Kindergarten. A good minister is one won’t meet you till are some VIP. I want to change this in my lifetime by democratizing education and opportunities.

To know India and her peoples, one has to know the monsoon. one has to know the monsoon. It is not enough to read about it in books, or see it on the cinema screen, or hear someone talk about it. It has to be a personal experience because nothing short of living through it can fully convey all it means to a people for whom it is not only the source of life, but also their most exciting impact with nature.

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