New Delhi, Aug. 25 -- Finally, I am beginning to feel it: the inner peace, that meditative old monkishness, the nearness to the goal of my journey. But I am not quite there, the ferry timings are in flux: An hour ago, I was told the motor launch to the Buddhist archaeological site at Nagarjunakonda island would depart in minutes, but the ticket counter is yet to open.

I could have spent the time enjoying a leisurely breakfast at one of the eateries across the road from the terminal. I could even have taken a postprandial stroll on the massive Nagarjuna Sagar dam, where it is said more than a few overenthusiastic selfie-snappers have fallen down the gorge and been swept away. But watching the blue waves has a calming effect, and just then...