In March 2004 I was 25 years old. With not a care in the world, no particular place to be and zero commitments to speak of, I packed up a rucksack and headed off to India. The future lay sparkling and I thought it would last forever.
Lal Quila, Delhi’s imposing Red Fort was a big old structure, coming into view long before we actually reached it. ‘‘Its towering red sandstone walls extend for two kilometres and vary in height from eighteen meters on the Yamuna River side, to thirty three meters on the city side’’ I read as Allan made several attempts at swatting a persistent fly. “Red Fort!” exclaimed our rickshaw driver exultantly, arms aloft as if he’d just built the thing himself. Thankfully his hands quickly returned to the steering wheel and seconds later we gurgled to a stop outside the entrance. Although excited at the cultural explorations that lay ahead, my overriding emotion was one of relief that we’d made it in one piece; that my rickety passenger door hadn’t fallen off along the way, with me tumbling after it.