Dear reader,

Fast food places are fast because there isn’t a learning curve, is there? There is the kitchen. There is the cashier. There is his bell. There are the spoons submerged in lukewarm water. There are the tables, and the people standing at them. And there are the caramelized menu cards.

Or so I thought before yanking a woman’s medical reports off the table earlier this year.

On official tours, I typically spend most of my time inside my hotel rooms. A big reason is that writing through many nights leaves me little in terms of energy. And then there are the uncontrollables. In Srinagar, you don’t step outside after 7pm. Peak summer Kolkata was too sticky and peak summer Chennai too oppressive – the heat as well as the Uber driver who shamed me for being a journalist that can’t speak Tamil.

But the most significant reason is that, apart from when I’m at the cricket, I seem more likely to make mistakes on tour. I would never claim to be completely in control, but at home in Bangalore, my spirit baselines at a decent rate. It’s not elite journalism (it’s being delivered in English, for starters) but I have anecdotal evidence to back this.

On my first tour, my only instructions from the AirBnB host was not to leave the balcony open in the evening, lest their rogue cat go looking for fights. I failed on the very first evening. I also missed my flight home from that trip; it remains the only flight I’ve ever missed.

In Hyderabad, I changed my long-standing Uber payment method to attract more cabs, only to forget to hand over the cash at the end of the trip. It wasn’t pleasant to have speeding headlights screech behind me to take what was theirs, but I can’t blame them.

With these bits of wisdom, I should have known not to break the my self-imposed hotel arrest in Vizag. But there I was, in the hunt for chole kulche, looking down at a CARE Hospital folder. If I could go back, I would commend the woman and her friend for managing to tone down their shocked, flailing hands in quick enough time to avoid any damage; for all they knew, there could have been a new kind of thief on the loose. The Radiograph Robber. The Autopsy Assassin. The PET Scan Perp.

As it turned out, there was little damage to anything but my own ego, and the laws have always ruled this an acceptable outcome. I did get my chole – they had the menu cards under and just by the cashier’s bell in this place – that May evening. As I began to eat, I felt for the first time in a while like breaking the four-month dry spell on this newsletter. An embarrassment of decent proportions? It was made for you.

But it has been three months since that evening, and more than six since the last edition. In short, the silence had to do with exhaustion, poor mental health, and what I’m pretty sure was a brief period where I no longer enjoyed writing. I wasn’t even reading a whole lot. It only felt fair on everyone to put this on hold.

It’s back though! Would it really even be I Must Tell You if every third edition wasn’t a comeback?

If you’ve forgotten what you signed up for, here is the new landing page. To the entitled children who demanded a newsletter in all caps for six months – IT IS ON! GO TELL THE WORLD.

And to the ones who sent thoughtful emails asking what was  up – thank you. Your respectful solicitation of my most embarrassing moments is oddly comforting.

Nothing changes but the frequency. I originally aimed for weekly, but it will now be a fortnightly newsletter. Which is to say I’ve given my guilt twice the padding when I, no doubt, go AWOL again. This never was meant to be a fast food kind of thing.

Yours,

Varun

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