Long silence from me in this space, mainly because December was such a crazy month filled with travel and preparations and all kinds of stuff. Much to catch up on in the new year, and I hope to get to that as the days go back. But in the meantime, this little story to kick off 2010.
Last October, the family and I spent a night in the VIP room at the Government rest house in Burhanpur in the middle of India. After dinner, I went in search of the attendant. I need a couple towels, I told him. Helpful till then, he looked puzzled by this unexpected demand. Towels! But helpful still, he led me down the corridor to a locked room. Opened it and pointed a crooked finger at the corner, where a large dusty wooden trunk sat. We walked over. He lifted the lid and pulled out a piece of cloth that may once have been white, may once have been a towel.
"It's the only towel we have", he said, "and the other attendant is using it right now. If you don't mind, you can use it too."
As politely as I could, I declined.
I'm not letting on what we did use to dry ourselves after our Burhanpur baths, just in case the Government of Madhya Pradesh decides to come after me for misuse of Government property. But I wish you peace and joy in 2010 and always. As well as clean towels on your travels.