20 April, 2014


In the winter of 2009, I used to work as a guide in Corbett at a safari lodge.  It was a small lodge with nine employees and a max capacity of 24 guests, give or take.  The lodge was neatly tucked out of the way in a 6-house village with no electricity and forests on all sides.  All employees save for me and another naturalist were local.  Prakash was one such 20-year-old who was being trained by us to ID birds and speak English with guests.  He could also drive, so we were keen to send him out on safari too.  We felt it would be great if he could stay in touch with the guests after they'd left (most guests end up becoming good friends with their guides), so I was helping him open his first email account outside the kitchen.  We were hunched over the computer, filling in all his data for the registration process.  I was asking him his DoB and other details, and then for the security question, asked him where he was born.  Rinku (chef's assistant) and Pooranji (accountant) who overheard us, both asked, "Kundli bana rahe hain, kya?"  They know what online matrimony is but don't know what email is.