What with the Taliban's doings in the Swat valley, the great principled battle that is the Lok Sabha elections (waged in extremely Gandhian fashion by kum. Mayawati and Shri Mulayam), the Whatchamacallit Premier League and other things that the newspaper chaps like to put on page 1, I daresay I haven't been missed.
It's not that nobody loves me. The folks at Loop Mobile keep calling me up to find out how I am doing, and whether I would take up their brotherly offer of a free sim card. ICICI bank is another one keenly interested in my financial health and offers me very attractive insurance proposals that can have nothing but disinterested love motivating it. But the people who count don't seem to have really suffered the agonies of separation.
But first, footnotes. On a lunatic impulse, I decided to take off to Sikkim with three other friends namely Harshad Tirodkar, Sushil Soman and Sanjeev Thakur. The first named is an avid trekker and Himalaya freak. He waited for us to book our tickets and hotels and then told us that we would be trekking at high altitude. And, to further bolster our spirits, he suggested we save money by not booking our return tickets because, as he charmingly put it , "body free mein aati hain", a reference to the possibility that we might not make it back alive.
His concern was touching. All of us rushed out to get our blood pressures and electrocardiograms checked. Someone suggested we carry an oxygen cylinder, which mercifully we did not (not available at the chemist's shop), because as it turned out, at the locations we went to, the other tourists were aunties and uncles way past their seventieth year, showing no sign of distress. We would have been the laughing stock of north sikkim.
On further lunatic impulse, we decided to go from Mumbai to New Jalpaiguri by train. Some 48 hours of train travel. The idea behind this was to sample the flavour of the country but we chickened out and traveled by AC 2 tier instead of 2nd class..........