June 2007


“Where from?”


“What country?”

“U.S. The States.”

“Oh, USA. Amedica. Very great country.”

“We’re all right.”

“Yes, very strong.”

“Very strong.”

“Very great.”


“What city?”


“Oh, Washington, D.C. The capital of Amedica. Very nice.”

“It’s OK. Where you from?”


“Oh, India. We love your country. Great country.”

“Yes, great country, India.

“Very great.”


Thus we changed the subject. Many times we had some variation of this conversation. Indians were less keen to discuss their own country, naturally. They all had a very high opinion of “Amedica.” Not so much the current state of affairs; but we did find one goat herder in Rajasthan who thought the world of George W. Bush.


Aarti in Haridwar, left, and Rishikesh


Part One

Part Two

Those were the days when you went for a beer in Paris and woke up in Corsica.

— Peter O’Toole

Everyone wishes a measure of mystery to their life that they have done nothing in particular to deserve.

— Jim Harrison

Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius.

— Edward Gibbon

The rapine of an hour is more productive than the industry of years.

— Gibbon

I like to think of myself as a patriot, but even more so as a man. Where the two disagree, I say the man is right.

— Hermann Hesse

JAIPUR, India — Angry villagers burned police stations and damaged railroad tracks as they continued their protest in northwestern India on Wednesday, a day after clashes with police left at least 14 people dead, officials said.

Thousands of villagers continued to block key highways in the region to press their demand for special status for the Gujjar community, ensuring them government jobs and spots in educational institutions, said Madhukar Gupta, an administrator in Jaipur district.

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