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28 December 2006

My first year in India

TODAY MARKS my first year in India.

One year ago, I was lodged in Mumbai's northern suburb Powai and writing my family about the previous night's safe journey from the United Arab Emirates.

Dearest all,

Allah-u-Abha!

I have arrived safely in Mumbai. I felt like travelling in Cebu [cenral Philippine city]! The roads, the trees, the CROWDS, the climate—all are very provincial. Today I will sort out formalities (registration at the Foreigners Registration Office, Philippine Consulate, etc) and get my cargo in.

I am lodged at The Residence Hotel, which is right in the middle of mountains and forests, really, like Antipolo [hill town outside Manila]. The rent on my flat will start on Sunday, 1 January, so I will be in the hotel until then. If you want to hear my lovely voice, you can call me at +91 (22) 2857 5000 at room 707.

Once I get my new SIM, I will text you my new cell phone. Until then, Happy New Year to you!!!

Love,
:: Paul A.

Revisiting another letter that I wrote my friends, I realized that I still carry with me the same fervor that I had a year ago, and that there is still something I need to fulfill.

I have previously been to Mumbai and seen its glorified wealth and stratospheric poverty, so I know that this is the place I want to be in.

This is where I can have a deeper impact, where the balance of my spiritual and material development will again be tried, tested, and put to work.

I will carry with me new insights that I gained in the United Arab Emirates about human interaction and moral leadership, and the beauty of Islam as manifested in the grassroots way of life. (No, I have not converted to Islam, but I love the Teachings!)

Until then, Salam alaikum (Peace be with you) . . . and Merry Christmas!

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