~ There is only one journey: going inside yourself. ~
- Rainer Maria Rilke


The Way We Are from CTR Press ~ Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Way We Are, the latest release from CTR Press, is out! It's an anthology of writings by and about Anglo-Indians, and concerns the directions their lives took after the post-Independence diaspora.

It features a short non-fiction piece I wrote called "Inheriting Remembrance".

Here's an excerpt:

...Everyone else would already have eaten, and so my grandmother and I would sit, and she would take out a few of her memories so that I could have a peek at them. I cherished those afternoons, for they provided me with a privileged glimpse into a present that is now long gone--a present that I would never have access to otherwise.

She talked of how she used to discuss the day’s menu with the cook in the mornings. Then she would see to her correspondence at her desk. In the afternoons, she would call on friends and have tea. Hearing those stories, I thought of the English classics, like Pride and Prejudice, and the lifestyles they depicted--except that every now and then, I’d be reminded that this was, most assuredly, not England at all.

“It would get so hot that you’d have to leave the windows and doors open. But then you had to be careful. I remember going into our bedroom at dusk. This was in Chunar--there was no electricity up there in those days. I saw a long, thin object on the bed. I assumed it was one of grandpa’s ties, so I reached out to pick it up--only to scream when I touched it.” She grinned at me. “It wasn’t a tie, it was a snake--a karait--that had slithered inside, to get away from the heat.”


“Our compound in Guwhati was right above the Brahamaputra river, and so on sunny afternoons, crocodiles would climb out and sun themselves on the stone steps leading to the water.”


“Your mother was off on a trip with her friend. They arrived late at the dak bungalow they had booked into. They were exhausted, so they settled in for the night with minimal fuss. As they were drifting off to sleep, they felt something dropping on the thin sheets they were using as covers. Your mother turned on her flashlight and said, ‘Oh, it’s just baby scorpions,’ then turned it off and went to sleep.”

“Baby scorpions?” I was horrified.

Granny shrugged. “They don’t develop venom until they’re older, so there was no danger.”

Snakes, scorpions, crocodiles: not quite the usual components of an English comedy of manners.

::Posted by Anduril Elessar @ 2:16 PM::::


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Anduril Elessar
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