During the dust storms that would howl through the city in advance of the Monsoon rain, stacks of paper would dislodge and fill the great swirling pink miasmas with billowing squares, and from a behind a window the city would seem to fill with tutti-frutti ice-cream. Until airborne grit began to batter the panes, and the trees outside shook, bent, and were shredded. No word about whether there were consequences to the destruction of a billion people’s paperwork ever reached me. Any gaps were simply forgotten or spackled over with forgeries I would imagine. Paper leached out of the system all year long. Mail was stolen, plundered Western magazines sold to fishermongers; shacks plastered with folio files pilfered from the jute sacks of inter-office communications cyclists. That written word was all but useless to the hordes of subhuman illiterates sniping at our leftovers. That Delhi achieved anything at all seems miraculous now, given the condition of its phone lines and primitive bureaucratic apparatus, but back then it seemed an abomination to sensitive little me.