I was traveling by taxi from Delhi to Dehradun. It usually takes about seven hours over a very rough one-lane road. We were almost home, at the loneliest, darkest part of the trip, crossing the mountains into the final stretch. There were few cars about and the sky was inky black.
As we hurtled along, occasionally dodging an oncoming car, I thought I saw someone lying on the embankment. It took a few moments to register before I asked Sandeep, the driver, if he had seen someone too.
He laughed. “Probably some drunk fellow or one of the village idiots. He’ll get up on his own.”
“We should go back,” I said. “Maybe he’s been hurt.”
Sandeep laughed again, incredulous now. “Didi [Elder Sister], you must be joking! We’re in a jungle. This isn’t some foreign country. If I stop, I’ll be blamed for whatever has happened to him!”
At that very moment, my daughter Cathleen called my cell phone from Boston. “Mom, it’s a blizzard here!” she said, excitement in her voice. She was in great spirits. She had gotten her grades and had made the dean’s list, and her holidays had just begun. I tried to share her excitement, but she sensed my distraction and distress. “Mom, are you OK?”
I told her quickly what I thought I had seen. Just hearing my voice describing it and her instant...