August 2, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Excerpts from Happy Birthday by Meghna Pant

1 min read

happybirthday_meghnaWe enter a narrow muddy path with jhopadpattis on both sides. Lalit apologetically turns his head towards me; the car can move no further. Seven or eight dusty children in ragged clothes surround our car, their noses pressed flat against the windows, their teeth white through the tinted glass. If we leave the car here they’ll scratch the silver-grey paint, sit on the hood or steal the rear-view mirrors, so I tell Lalit, ‘I don’t trust these slum people. I think you better stay in the car.’

‘Memsahib, I can take you to Mary’s house,’ he says gently.

‘How would you know the way around this kachra place?’ I ask.

‘I live here,’ he says, and our eyes meet in the mirror.

I look away and croak a reply, ‘Wait for us here.’

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