08 September 2013

A Plate of Rice

“He’s a wise little boy.”

The words uttered by the wrinkled old man sailed across the entrance of the compartment, staving off the oncoming gush of wind that was blowing in as the train furiously glided through a narrow bend in the tracks.

I was lost in thought, having surrendered to the stifling heat which nevertheless demanded beads of sweat as humiliating evidence of its influence. The old man pointed, and I followed the direction of his finger.

Next to the entrance at the other end of the compartment was a small boy. Given the opportunity of a bath and a visit to the tailor, the kid would have looked charming. Presently looking like any other street urchin, dressed in a dirty, yellowish white banyan that exposed his pencil thin arms, his face was pockmarked with dirt stains that did nothing to diminish the self-assured, arrogant look that he wore. With silky black hair that flopped onto his forehead, he seemed happy as he leaned against the compartment wall.

The Armchair Soldier

It is possible that Satish Gupta did not think of ‘The Armchair Soldier’ that evening, as his Chevrolet Cruze purred up the driveway of the plush hotel. After all, it was a story his communist-hating grandfather had told him several decades earlier. Besides, the lady in the passenger seat had his full attention. 
The Hyatt Hotel had over the years swung open its electronic glass doors to countless couples, but none might have matched the beauty that Esha Gupta radiated that evening. Dressed in the royal blue salwar that her aunt had hand-picked for this occasion, the 24 year old nursing graduate knew her husband had been floored. But he was charming enough to not show it too blatantly.