The writer recalls a visit to the Maharaja of Travancore, and how difficult it is for him to say “no”:

“But who among us hasn’t set off at one time or another–more likely many times–on these expeditions of presumed obligation, wondering, all the while, Why am I doing this? Why did I agree to do this? Why didn’t I just say . . . ?

“I‘m not talking about running errands to the grocery store (gotta eat, after all) or undertaking the miserable commute to work (gotta earn those bucks to afford to go to the grocery store) or visiting mom and pop in their retirement ghetto (maintaining family solidarity being a prime directive). I’m talking about, well, visiting the Maharaja.

“Did it ever occur to you to say (to yourself–to myself–first of all), No, I won’t, absolutely not, fuggidaboutit.”