Disagreement with a published opinion resulted at worst in throwing the offending journal across the room in disgust or, if you were British, in a restrained rustle of newsprint to express your irritation. There was time to cogitate and ruminate before a response was required, not the instant flick of a ‘like’, hasty hashtag or damning emoji. Wafer-thin blue airletters were written to parents and friends, and queuing expectantly and often disappointed at poste restante near the Sundhara was part of a backpacker’s routine.
Not that I’m regretting the communication limitations of the old days, as the daily hours spent gazing at the sleek black beauty of my iPhone will testify. But a different approach was demanded in the 1970s when we had to laboriously punch a tape to send a message by telex, or wait for a cabled telegram to be delivered to our Darbar Marg offices. Telephone was confined to a crackly line via India, if you were lucky.
Often guests would walk in through the glass-panelled front doors, adorned with tiger head logo and the blue Pan Am symbol, before news of their arrival had landed on our desks. All reservation lists and communication with the outside world from our Chitwan lodge was by hard copy in a livid green drawstring cloth bag hand carried on the daily flight.