I lay awake for hours last night, worrying about being eaten by a giant rat. I knew I would. I watched my mind make up all sorts of stories about what this huge creature would do to me and I watched my adrenalin levels rise at the thoughts.
Eventually I started to force my mind to think about all the places I had slept knowing there were rats in the room, the ceiling, under the bed etc and finally I fell asleep. This morning, all my machinations to stop the rat entering my premises had worked. These included sticking all my shoes under the door. It looked pretty wild when I went to bed, a long row of shoes all higgeldy piggeldy along the floor, but I triumphed and live to tell more tails.
A friend came to see me last night. He is a jeweller, someone I had come to berate for not sending lots of silver that I had paid for. He was charming and hopeless and there did not seem much point getting cross. In the course of talking he turned to admiring my hair.
I have had lots of things said about me over the years. Some of them kind, lots not, many different projections draped over me, some possible others highly amusing, but I have never been told I look like a doll. It fair stopped me in my tracks. I burst out laughing, but as he thought it was the highest compliment (I could tell from his face) I swiftly turned my amusement into a girlish giggle so as not to offend. But there we are, I currently look like a doll. And that is a good thing.
The stories of life here are hard and surprising. 6 months ago it was a booming economy. There was no stopping the building, the tourists, the money was apparent everywhere. Now, not entirely due to the bombings, there is nothing happening at all. I am the only westerner I have seen so far and usually they, we, are all over the place. The petrol hikes have caused financial havoc, wages have risen, orders have fallen. The manufacturer I saw yesterday was in dire need of medication, he was so gloomy. His financial state was appalling and the issue with me was peanuts and he was not even going to argue the toss. Business had fallen by 11%, huge orders had been returned and he had closed one entire factory.
I had been talking with another retailer in London who manufactures in Delhi and he was surprised that I was coming in June. For me, it has always been a good time to do business, despite the heat, because there are usually fewer travellers, less manufacturers and wholesalers and so for the traders here money is tight and the prices are better. Well it seems that this year it is very much the reality.