We woke at our haveli as sunlight poured in through our barred windows. I untangled myself from yards of mosquito netting, bathed in a cold shower, and emerged into the courtyard of our guesthouse. We overlooked the central pool in town, and a tiny concrete escarpment jutted from the grassy, verdant property into the water, creating a rocky island on which to eat breakfast. The cook took our order, disappeared into the kitchen; we sat under the shady boughs, basking in the warm mid-morning air, and wondering why this haveli run by several old Indian people had such an enormous German Shepherd milling about in the backyard.
Preparation for breakfast took longer than expected, because the long-suffering cook would have to regularly emerge from the kitchen. He would snatch up a large staff from the stairs and begin snapping it against the walls, against the ground, fighting off a swarm of devious interlopers.
The chef was also the property’s primary monkey security officer.