But it is good to be back. I picked up my Mumbai Mirror this morning to see that the problem page had not deviated from its single preoccupation, namely the solitary past time of young men. (So many variations on a theme!)
And here, at my car window, is the man without fingers, a-gently tap-tapping with his tin, in the rain. Aw Mumbai, I’ve missed you.
I thought Mick was so pleased to see us as we came out of Arrivals but his eyes were firmly fixed on the luggage: “did you get the sausages, please tell me you brought sausages?”
“Give it here” Mick says, snatching it off me. He studies it carefully, takes the batteries out, puts them back in again but he cannot find the reset button either. I get on a chair to see there if there is a manual way of switching on the a.c . There is not.
The sticker also gives a 1-800 toll free number, a helpline? We exchange glances. I roll my eyes. I know with almost 100 per cent certainty that the phone call will be fruitless. Is there any point?
He repeats the question, again, silence, then “hellloooo?” This goes on for about fifteen minutes but it’s all too much for Mick and he finally hurls the phone onto the sofa - but not before calling into question the person’s ability to help.
So, I have been back a few hours and already we are being challenged by new and interesting problems. The flat is humid and smelly, we have no air con and , to add to it all, new noisy neighbours (two-year-old twins with squeaky shoes and massive hooters on their identical trikes which block the hallway) I soon fall into a daydream about my return trip to the UK in September when I will be taking my son to start boarding school.