New and old India: Open and shut
Mumbai: When the Indian central bank raised rates this week, for the fourth time this year, the Bank's governor, Duvvuri Subbarao, said he hoped the change would help keep a lid on the country's inflation - but to really make a difference he was counting on the rain.
"If it rains, the monetary policy works", he said. "We are all of us chasing the monsoon." A poor rainy season last year was the big factor pushing food prices up.
The best reason for thinking inflation may come down in the autumn are the heavy rains that lashed down on the UK delegation in Mumbai (it has rained a lot, as I think I may have mentioned before).
The day after his comments, local papers splashed with the news that two of the lakes that provide the massive city's water supply had already overflowed, weeks earlier than last year. It's a reminder that some facts of life about India have remained the same, even as its economy has started to take off.
Another thing that hasn't changed is India's suspicion of global finance. As I noted in my piece for the TV bulletins last night, George Osborne spent most of his time in Mumbai courting business for Britain's financial services firms.
Before the crisis, people used to say that India's closed financial system was a source of weakness. Not any more.
As you would expect, the Western-oriented businessmen and women attending the receptions and events in the chancellor's honour were often on the side of reform. They would tell me they were hoping to use Mr Osborne as their proxy, pushing the case for greater openness with the likes of governor Subbarao.
But these same pro-market voices also had to admit that with the crisis of 2008 the case for reform was not what it was.
Even when world trade collapsed in the autumn of 2008, the India only shrank by 0.2%. That was the only quarter in which the economy went backwards. There has been no banking crisis in India. There have been no bailouts. (Or, at least, no exceptional ones.)
The chancellor rather danced around the issue in Mumbai. In his big speech to the city's bankers he made a strong pitch for releasing the constraints on UK financial firms in India. As he noted, the likes of HSBC and Standard Chartered have been in India for many decades.
The sticking point is they can only set up a fixed number of local branches, and there's a limit on how much they can own (see my post Osborne in India). Business is good - Standard Chartered made a decent chunk of its profits in India last year - but it is capped.
Mr Osborne was careful to distinguish the question of openness to outside firms from that of regulation, praising the Indian authorities for their "highly effective macro-prudential policies" before the crisis. But I wonder whether the Indian regulators would recognise the distinction.
India's most effective "macro-prudential" tool in the lead-up to the crisis was simply not to let banks do stuff that banks in more open markets could do. Invest in US sub-prime assets, for example.
One senior Indian banker told me about a recent conference of financial regulators from countries - like Canada, Australia and India - that had come through the crisis fairly unscathed.
Along with the mutual congratulation, and surreptitious gloating over the travails of others, they also considered some of the lessons of their experience.
The "most subversive", this banker told me, was an official from Canada. "He said the main reason that Canada didn't get into trouble was they didn't let any foreign firms operate to any great extent in the domestic market. Even the Americans." Naturally, the Indian participants were all ears.
In the wake of this crisis, the case that Mr Osborne - and the domestic supporters of financial reform - have to make now in highly regulated countries like India is that not all financial innovation is dangerous. Even if it is made in the UK.
No wonder Mr Osborne jumped at the chance to launch Monitise, a British joint venture with Visa to bring mobile banking, not just to the 200 million people in India who have a bank account, but also to the much larger number - 600 million plus - who now have a mobile phone.
Even in this new India, people still rely on cash for more than 90% of their transactions - just as they still rely on the monsoon.
That may change in the next few years as a new digital generation comes of age. But after watching what Europe and the US have been through over the past few years, Indians will hold on to its traditional scepticism of clever western banks.