With a wound that refuses to heal on her shoulder, nine-month-old Ruksana lives with her parents - and hundreds of others patients from across India - on the footpath outside the Metro station of Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). After waiting six months amid the noise, dust and traffic, they finally have an appointment with an AIIMS doctor - a year from now.
The car window winds down and new age author Paolo Coelho asks for directions to the expressway. "Here, have this map," I reply, handing him a folded piece of paper with "Follow Your Dream" on it.
Okay, that hasn't happened yet, but scientists say we live in an infinite multiverse which means that it is statistically guaranteed to happen somewhere at some point.
"We need to talk," my wife says. I sit nervously on the edge of a chair. She continues: "I want to hear your views on the comparative merits of the warp propulsion systems of the Millennium Falcon and the Starship Enterprise in tedious detail." For ten seconds, I am the happiest man who ever lived. And then I wake up.
Clad in denim, white tee shirt and possessed of the self-confidence of a Mumbai collegian, Babban Chavan, 25, looked distinctly out of place in the ragged tarpaulin-and-bamboo migrant camp that houses drought refugees in the teeming central suburb of Ghatkopar.
The attire and confidence belie Chavan's reality.
“I grew up in a small village where my family couldn’t afford to send me to school, because we couldn’t make ends meet. When I was 6 years old, my neighbor who was like a brother to me said that he will take me to Bombay and will provide education to me. So desperate was my thirst to learn, that without telling my parents I went off with him. It was the biggest mistake of my life. He sold me to a Nepali family for 50,000 Rupees and ran away.