It's time to go home. We've been assigned to the city of Kolkata, India for 2 years, beginning in August 2006. I suppose it's necessary that I go and live in India. Just because I was born there, mind you, not for any other particular reason. I'm not sure what to make of it. Instead of going to my roots in the south, I'm going east. Where does one start, really, with a place like India? How about the National Portal of India? Rashid the Political Officer knows so little about this country. Worrisome. So I might spend some time tracking down links that explain the functions of the Houses of Parliament, sites on language, figuring out what the hell my job actually requires me to do, and feeling humbled and disoriented by the entire mess. I might learn some Hindi before going. In Kolkata most people speak Bengali. A friend who has served there says I'll be treated like the diplomat-king that I am in my dreams. I don't know — Indians have a way of treating their fellow Indians (even Americans with Indian roots) that I suspect will be challenging. Is it a good time to work at the U.S. Consulate? Of course. The civilian nuclear deal may or may not happen, there are elections this year for the Assam and W. Bengal state assemblies, the world still hates the USG, India's cricket team beat up on Pakistan's, Durga puja is still supposedly a sight to behold, and at the end of the day no one will really dispute Kolkata's place as India's literary and artistic capital, even if things are falling down all over the place. My family seems to think this is due to W. Bengal's Communist government holding the state back from the progress the rest of the country is enjoying.