We stepped out of the plane into the blast of a hair dryer. At home, a concrete lined moat two feet wide ran the length of the street, just outside the gate. Our neighbours, forewarned, had moved their cars out and across the street -- only ours are trapped inside. The taxi had to stop on the road, and we entered with our suitcases over two wooden planks. To add insult to injury, a big heap of earth had been dumped exactly in front of the gate.

Inside, Lakshmi swept up small heaps of what I thought was red dust from the roadwork; but they were piles of dead ants. The switchplate into which the washing machine was plugged wasn't working; when the electrician came and opened it up, it was stuffed with ants too.

And so we settle again into Summer. I will develop my photographs and scan my sketches. Then I will write about our sojourn in Spring, and the people we met there.

Coonoor bouquet

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