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[It is builder's tea
: , we dunk biscuits into it. Sunaina's Brother
: Dunk? Evelyn
: Means lowering the biscuit into the tea and letting it soak in there and trying to calculate the exact moment before the biscuit dissolves, when you whip it up into your mouth and enjoy the blissful union of biscuits and tea combined. It's more relaxing than it sounds.
: Nothing here has worked out quite as I expected. Muriel
: Most things don't. But sometimes what happens instead is the good stuff.
: I invested our, well, my retirement money in our daughter's Internet company. She assured me that as soon as the startup actually, um, started up and the conversion from virtual to actual became sufficiently viable, then she'd be able to pay it all back. Evelyn
: I'm not sure I understand what most of those words mean. Douglas Ainslie
: Well, it turns out neither did she.
: [about their new environment
] Initially you're overwhelmed. But gradually you realize it's like a wave. Resist, and you'll be knocked over. Dive into it, and you'll swim out the other side.
: There is no past that we can bring back by longing for it. Only a present that builds and creates itself as the past withdraws.
: Is it our friend we are grieving for, whose life we knew so little? Or is it our own loss that we are mourning? Have we traveled far enough that we can allow our tears to fall? Madge Hardcastle
: When someone dies, you think about your own life. And I don't want to grow older. I don't want to be condescended to. To become marginalized and ignored by society. I don't want to be the first person they let off the plane in a hostage crisis.
: Didn't you have a girlfriend? Sonny
: She is my girlfriend no longer. Evelyn
: This is a disaster. Sonny
: No, no. Then we must treat it just the same as we would treat a triumph, madam. Is that not what your Mr. Kipling tells us? Although, of course, here we have a problem, because I, Sunil Indrajit Kapoor, have never had a triumph. So, of course, I do not know how to treat one. No, all I've had is a constant series of disasters interspersed with occasional catastrophe, an unending stream of total... Evelyn
: Sonny, Sonny, do you love her?
: You're still here. Douglas Ainslie
: I... I missed the plane. Evelyn
: What about Jean? Douglas Ainslie
: She didn't. I had... I had quite an interesting night actually. I... I met the same... um... taxi driver, but this time I let him take me to his brother's hotel, which turned out to be less of a hotel and more of a... more of a brothel really. And... and they gave... they gave me this pipe, said it was apple tobacco but that's not what they called it when I was a student, so... so I made my excuses and left. I needed time to think. This city at night is extraordinary. I think the apple tobacco helped... probably.
: What's the use of a marriage when nothing is shared?
] I just need some water...
[downs the contents of Madge's glass
] Madge Hardcastle
: That was a gin and tonic! Evelyn
: I know that now.
: Can there be anywhere else in the world that is such an assault on the senses? Those who know the country of old just go about their business. But nothing can prepare the uninitiated for this riot of noise and color. For the heat, the motion; the perpetual teeming crowds.
: The only real failure is the failure to try. And the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment. As we always must. We came here, and we tried. All of us, in our different ways. Can we be blamed for feeling we're too old to change? Too scared of disappointment to start it all again? We get up every morning, we do our best. Nothing else matters. Evelyn
: But it's also true that the person who risks nothing, does nothing; has nothing. All we know about the future is that it will be different. But, perhaps what we fear is that it will be the same. So, we must celebrate the changes. Because, as someone once said "Everything will be all right in the end. And if it's not all right, then trust me, it's not yet the end."
: How was America? Muriel Donnelly
: It made death more tempting.
: Sometimes it seems to me that the difference between what we want and what we fear is the width of an eyelash.
: I don't know why I tell you anything. Muriel Donnelly
: Because I'm older and wiser. Evelyn Greenslade
: Nineteen days older. Muriel Donnelly
: That's the entire lifespan of a wasp.