The sun had not yet set when we reached Naukuchiatal. The smell of smoke which had hounded us through our journey through the northern part of Kumaon was gone. The lake district of Kumaon is within a day’s drive of Delhi, and normally sees lots of tourists. There is a series of these old glacial lakes in this region, and I prefer the one furthest from Naini Tal, because it has less weekend tourists. In any case, now, with the beginning of a resurgence of the epidemic, crowds had thinned. We had the hotel’s terrace overlooking the lake all to ourselves. A chai in hand, I sat and looked at the sun go down over the hills. A great barbet’s call filled the air. As it got darker, that sound was drowned out by the call of cicadas. Peace at last.