The week before we leave here, I like to feed our staff. They love meat and I have to admit that in my illness I crave it, too. I generally eat it very infrequently and very sparingly. I recall how Alfred Russel Wallace, the scientist who co-discovered the Theory of Evolution with Darwin, was a strict vegetarian till he developed a severe case of asthma and had to go on a diet of meat. Raju, our cook, following a recipe I concocted, made a huge pot of four kilos of mutton and a kilo of yellow moong daal. Great gravy, buttery and yummy, the kind you want to eat with your hands and lick your fingers. Even Payson who had such a horror of eating with his fingers when I met him, got down and dirty. I ordered tandoori rotis from a local dhaba, and we had a feast. I can still taste it, and feel nourished and comfortably full.

It is that time of the year when the herders take their sheep/goat stock down to the plains for the winter. They overnight near our home. The other day I saw a tiny lamb across our stream and though I had little energy, I got out of body and walked over, picked it up. As I was stroking it, I was reminded of the most ironic thing about life, and I turned to this little creature in my arms and said, I love you, and I eat you. That, is the crux of life.

Payson took a picture of us with our staff and I will post it when he sends it to me.

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