Archive for the ‘A roadside market in Uttar Pradesh’ Category

Advertisements

Rising, whistling, anticipation and expectation. It was all a rush. We got in a cab, blurring and spinning through the streets. All black and shiny blue, the road streaked green, amber and red, lights sliding over the windows, and cleansing rain pushing the wipers back and forth across the windscreen. Shani’s smile and her sparkling, iridescent eyes radiated such intensity in the half-light, I felt like crying.
~

(more…)

Shani’s birth had an altogether more sobering influence on her mother, compared to the starry-eyed adulation her arrival had triggered in her dear Papa.
When she awoke from the anaesthesia, apart from feeling woozy and nauseous, and not altogether sure of her own whereabouts, Chahaya felt distinctly aware of some change in some part of her soul, or her being, her élan vital. She could not say exactly what, but something was missing. While she eventually came to the realisation that she had, quite literally, had a large part of her insides ripped out, for some time she could not explain the void she now felt within.
She was in hospital. Though not much else was, this much was clear. Doctors and nurses and orderlies and her beaming husband and a screaming baby all flashed past. Nurses and doctors and the screaming baby and nurses and then her worried husband, caught in a weird time dilation, and after what seemed to her like only a brief moment, a matter of minutes, she was suddenly being wheeled out to Yama’s Hillman.
~

(more…)

Yama Surya had, at the age of eighteen, followed his parent’s wishes and “come to U.K.”
Once there, he quickly began his quest of becoming a self-made man, driving through the streets of West London in a Glenalmond-green Hillman Husky, selling vacuum cleaners on commission door-to-door for Ravensdale’s Electrical Goods.
But he wasn’t just going to be some simple box wallah. He had grand plans, a good reference from Mr. Ravensdale himself and the beginnings of a deposit for, someday, his very own shop. The beginnings of an empire that would be built on machines used to suck up the dust of another, older Empire. But that was later, down the track. Plenty of people yet to walk through their homes with their dirty feet.
~

(more…)

“You cannot let her go, Yama. Do something!”
The door slammed and Chahaya turned, a pained look pinching her eyebrows together.
“Tell her no!”
He stood, looking at the door, arms hanging limply by his sides. The vibrato-buzz of the refrigerator in the kitchen was the only sound for a few moments before the front gate clanged shut outside. Bending slightly at the waist and leaning forward, arms crossed, Chahaya whispered hoarsely, “Yama, tell her.”
~

(more…)

Rug

During two months of drug addled inanity and childish mucking about on the road, it became increasingly apparent to her that this continuous need to “blaze up”, “take a trip” or “get wired” wasn’t necessarily just an indication of his addiction to the various illicit substances they’d come by on their journey. She had come to the conclusion that there was something really wrong, something flawed in him.
~

(more…)

Rishikesh

More than a few young men in West London, including myself, learnt of Shani’s existence and took great joy in catching sight of her as she made her way to or from Northfields Girls School, later the Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls, or from her father’s shop in West Ealing.
In the midst of replacing old meters along Argyle Road one day during my short-lived apprenticeship with the London Electrical Board, I happened to meet Yama Surya outside his electrical wholesalers shop. I knew who he was (or, more importantly, I knew who his daughter was) and felt that just by talking with him I was making a kind of weird connection with Shani. When he recounted his oft-spouted anecdote relating Shani’s birth I couldn’t help agree that the old man might be right. She was truly magnificent to behold. Unlike the sun on that first day, though, I could not look away.
~

(more…)

Eclipse

Shani Surya, the only child of Yama and Chahaya Surya, was born in West London at dawn on a freezing February; the momentous occasion coinciding with a complete solar eclipse. Such an auspicious beginning was bound to have some bearing on the girl’s character and path through life.
~

(more…)

Red Mite

“Bir Bahuti, Mister! A good aphrodisiac! Cures the paralysed too, na!” That’s what the man from Chhattisgarh had told me. But I was too far gone for this little red mite’s help now. No prospect of the former being of any use to me any time soon anyway. Assistance with my state of stupefaction perhaps, yes. That I could use. But oil from the scarlet rain bug couldn’t help me now because I was made of stone. A swirling, nauseating chaos and vertigo belying my outward appearance of frigid paralysis, I could only stand there looking at my feet. I was unable to raise my eyes to watch her leaving. Shani Surya: blindingly beautiful, the most amazing girl I had ever met and I was helpless to stop her disappearing from my life. Instead, I simply stared at the little red creature crawling by my foot on the unevenly-paved, dusty-fallow roadside.
~

(more…)