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Chapter 36
The cities are large and memorably crowded in India,but when you leave them you travel through vast stretchesof country where hardly a soul is to be seen. I rememberwondering where 950 million Indians could be hiding.
I could say the same of his house.
I'm a little early. I've just set foot on the cement steps ofthe front porch when a teenager bursts out the front door.
He's wearing a baseball uniform and carrying baseballequipment, and he's in a hurry. When he sees me he stopsdead in his tracks, startled. He turns around and hollersinto the house, "Dad! The writer's here." To me he says,"Hi," and rushes off.
His father comes to the front door. "Hello," he says.
"That was your son?" I ask, incredulous.
"Yes." To acknowledge the fact brings a smile to his lips.
"I'm sorry you didn't meet properly. He's late for practice.
His name is Nikhil. He goes by Nick."I'm in the entrance hall. "I didn't know you had a son,"I say. There's a barking. A small mongrel mutt, black andbrown, races up to me, panting and sniffing. He jumps upagainst my legs. "Or a dog," I add.
"He's friendly. Tata, down!"Tata ignores him. I hear "Hello." Only this greeting isnot short and forceful like Nick's. It's a long, nasal andsoftly whining Hellooooooooo, with the ooooooooo reachingfor me like a ............
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