‘Dr Jay?’ The phone crackled twice and became clear. ‘Yes. Who this be please?’ After all the e-mails I was finally speaking with Dr Jay of Madurai donkey sanitary. ‘Conrad.’ – ‘Sorry sir’ he asked again. ‘Conrad.’ I tried not to shout, ‘I have been e-mailing you regarding walking with donkeys and the ….’ ‘Mr Conrad! Yes, yes. I have been expecting your call. Thank you.’ I was not sure why he was thanking me. I already loved his rich friendly voice, his easy manner, cheery nature, and kindness; a voice with empathy. I am prepared to gamble that he carries a ready smile around a board fluffy moustache, and I am sure his wife squeezed his rich girth about his waist. ‘Dr Jay, it is a pleasure to speak with you.’ – ‘Are you in Madurai? – ‘No in Cochin.’ I replied ‘Do you have your Landy?’ – ‘No it is on a boat and due in a week or so. Did you get my e-mail? I am hoping to see you this week.’ – ‘Of course, a pleasure, and I will show you the donkeys’ – ‘I would love that, how about Thursday? I can get the overnight bus.’ – ‘Oh Mr Conrad, I am so so pleased you are here.’ And this is how our conversation continued for the next ten minutes. I hope Dr Jay’s expectation of meeting a donkey lover is not reproachful towards me. In his e-mail Dr Jay expresses, with the most enthusiastic tone, how my walk can be a message to promote donkey’s welfare. ‘Let’s work together on donkey welfare’ and then adding, as if I am the donkey messiah returning, ‘together we help all abandoned donkeys of Tamil Nadu as an emergency.’ There is a lot of expectation in his jolly keen voice. I will care for my donkeys like my own children. At the back of my mind a friend keeps telling me they bite.

I felt better having spoken to Dr Jay. His enthusiasm alone lifted my expectations and I hope once I have met Dr Jay, I will become confident my donkey plan are gaining momentum.

At the back of my mind this visa problem is niggling at me.

In the evening the skies become alive again. This time it seems as if the lightening has provoked an old wizard who used his magic wand to rip deep electric angry words, a warning I don’t understand across the sky. The thunder followed and the rain came down from the heavens.