We arrived in Kolkata on December 16, after a difficult 32+ hour trip that entailed Swiss Air losing one bag and destroying another on the way to Delhi, the drama of which caused us to miss our connecting flight to Kolkata. A true shame, since we were arriving at 4:30 in the morning and some friends had agreed to pick us up…and we couldn’t call them because our India phones were not yet active. And the next flight was 6 hours later. And while we had talked our way into Swiss Air allowing us to put 5 suitcases in baggage with no extra charge (you are now only allowed ONE free bag, the 2nd is $100 and the 3rd $200!) we had no such luck with JetAir, which hit us up for $200 on the spot. We were not happy campers.
We took a taxi to the same flat we’ve now rented 3 years in a row. Our same security guy greeted us. Then, bleary-eyed, we noticed a skinny young man leaning against our building looking in our direction. It was Max! He had planned this surprise for months. He had been in Mumbai doing a TEDx talk/performance (link posted soon) and flew down just for a few days. He was concerned that we hadn’t yet arrived, since he knew our original schedule. Turns out, he got there 5 minutes before we did. We were in the same taxi line at the airport but hadn’t seen each other. What a way to forget your troubles.
We spent the next 2 days showing Max the neighborhood, introducing him to friends, our artists and neighbors and taking care of exciting things like re-establishing our phone service and attempting to get internet, which should be easy in hi-tech India…but isn’t. Max brought his dulcimer and played his gorgeous music for a few friends, who seemed transported.
Max left on Friday morning, after which we began the task of packing up our Following the Box exhibit and getting it shipped to Delhi.
FedX made 4 trips to the Birla Academy, where our exhibit was stored, before they decided it was too difficult to carry the huge crates up from the basement. BlueDart had no trouble. They had 10 young Bengali men lug the crates up the stairs and onto waiting trucks. It took an hour and our precious cargo was on its way to Delhi.