He wakes up and puts on a sherwani. The topi sits heavily, constricting.
Going to a Starbucks, saying Rauf not Abdul. Going to Delhi on the national highway. Getting rear-ended by an Omni,
full of young men. Calling his mother, finishing with Walekum as salaam wa rahmatullah. Talking to the Omni driver. Asking him to apologize. Demanding money for repairs
They had hardly gone for five minutes when a man from Thakur sahib’s kothi called out to his father: ‘Oye, Shambu! Come, the master has called. The pipe needs your attention’. Chandan heard no more, for his father took Thakur sahib’s employee to one side and talked in low tones. Chandan heard snatches, his father protesting ‘It’s Diwali… Son…. Firecrackers…’ and the employee insisting ‘Malik… Guests… Two hundred’, and his father walked up to him, looking defeated and placed his hand tenderly on his shoulder, and said: ‘Go home. I’ll come in late tonight. Tell your mother. Don’t cry, we’ll go tomorrow’. Chandan stood, his lower lip quivering while his father followed Thakur sahib’s servant. Chandan went home, threw himself on his mat, and cried, hiding his face under the pillow, and fell asleep.