VC packets have begun to arrive this week which means I have to be chained to the computer for the next 5 days. No, it's fine. If I'm going to be the peripatetic writer person I want to be, writing across states and continents, perhaps even living in more than one place, I'd better get used to this. And really, once I started work, I did quit wanting to call a taxi to go somewhere, burying myself instead in viewpoint and dialogue and places in a character's journey. Still, it helps that my desktop now has these pictures: the trellis work in Humayun's tomb, Delhi, a memory of mine from childhood visits there; the Taj in marble looking as if it might float away if you untethered it; the gravestones of Company wallahs in St. Mary's Church, in the heart of the East India Company's Madras, a striking number of whom seem to have died at the age of 25; Cornwallis in marble at Fort St. George (was he really as uninspired as he looks? No wonder he lost to Washington); the rock walls at Mahabalipuram; and the goat mother and her babies by the trail. The babies pure velvet, all that newly minted life just there.