when i was growing up, i always knew when my dad was trying to contact family in kashmir because of the bad phone lines. it would go something like this: repeated yelling of ‘helloooo?’, disconnection, silence as he re-dialled, repeated yelling of ‘helloooo??’ followed by a sentence in kashmiri i didn’t understand, disconnection, silence as he re-dialled…and so on. it took about 10 minutes just to exchange how are yous.

that’s why it was a triumph of technology yesterday when my brother webcammed from my aunt’s house in srinagar. not only did i get to see my family with a crystal clear picture, i got a live, up-close-and-personal view of the himalayas (see below)…i love skype!