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The girls take their clothes off while they wash the car.
India was the largest emerging market in the free world and she had the chance to run the entire region. That she could handle herself in the boardroom was by now well known. What she had to still prove to them was that she could handle the complexities and challenges of a place like India.
Despite her initial reservations, she had discovered that didn't really dislike India. She had arrived with the standard expectations of poverty, inefficiency and corruptions and her initial impressions were exactly what she had perceived. However she had quickly realized that in the city that was shared equally by hope and despair, there were many ways of conducting business. Having acclimatized quickly she found herself insulated from the rampant misery that miraculously co-existed with obscene luxury in this remarkable city. There were as many male chauvinists in Mumbai as there had been back in New York, but somehow a good looking blonde American woman with enough funds at her command to buy a small country carried a lot more weight in the third world.
Her head office in Mumbai was now decorated far more tastefully than its sanitized Wall Street counterpart, at one tenth the cost. Her stunning ocean view apartment was a palatial former residence of some Maharaja or the other and truth be told, after six months in Mumbai; she was actually toying with the thought of extending her stay in India. For the select few, a club in which she now belonged, life in India could be very enjoyable.
If she had the time to enjoy it, that is.
This trip into the remote heartlands of the state of Maharashtra however was turning out to be far less pleasant. Geologists from one of their subsidiary companies had recently discovered a potentially huge vein of diamonds deep within the mountains. The paperwork in acquiring mining permits and ownership had been child's play given she knew exactly which pockets to line and a lot of funds to line them with (The wonders of the exchange rate made one US Dollar go a very long way in India!).
Unfortunately the actual mining was proving to be much more problematic. Apparently there were some local tribesmen 'Adivasis' who also laid claim to the site on religious grounds and were preventing construction. While civil servants were ever ready to sign off on permits given a little palm greasing, displacing a bunch of backward tribals from what they claimed to be sacred land was far more complicated. The subsidiary company's management had shown little progress in over a month and the situation was threatening to spiral out of control into a long drawn out affair involving courts and NGOs.
While she detested superstitious morons who would rather stand in the way of progress and instead worship pagan gods, she also desperately wanted to avoid any sort of public incident. Human rights lawsuits could stall her expansion plans for months and then she could kiss that General Manager's post good bye for at least another year or two. So far into the mountains, law and order meant little and she was close to hiring local mercenaries to provide a little muscle, but she wanted to make one last attempt at an economic solution before she resorted to that. If a white woman in charge could engineer such impressive results in Mumbai without resorting to thuggery unlike most of her male counterparts, why couldn't she do the same in some backwater tribal village?
This was the reason why she was trekking through this god-forsaken hinterland on something that may have once been a dirt road in the middle of the monsoons where a mobile phone couldn't even be charged let alone be used.
Just as she was starting to feel her confidence returning, there was a loud bang and the car lurched to one side. Too startled to scream, she watched her driver 'Pande' struggle futilely with the steering wheel as they crashed headlong into a large ugly tree beside the track and then her world went dark.
Her vision was fuzzy when she woke and her head swam without warning.