The envelope was hand-delivered to our house in Golf Links, Tan enclave in New Delhi whose name captured the clubbable lifestyle of its leisured and propertied Indian residents, soon after we had arrived in the middle of a north Indian winter to begin a long assignment. It contained a large card, with a picture embossed in red and gold of the elephant-headed deity Ganesh, improbably carried on the back of a much smaller mouse. Dhirubhai and Kokilaben Ambani invited us to the wedding of their son Anil to Tina Munim in Bombay.
In January 1991, just prior to the explosion in car ownership that in later winters kept the midday warmth trapped in a throat-tearing haze overnight, it was bitterly cold most of the time in Delhi. Our furniture had still not arrived-a day of negotiations about the duty payable lay ahead at the Delhi customs office where the container was broken open and inspected-and we camped on office chairs and fold- up beds, wrapped in blankets.