Month: August 2016

My Trumpet Is a Doctor by Peter Ngila

  My trumpet friend is shining golden like the evening sun. He looks expensive. Perhaps Mother has sent him to pick me up. Showing off, trying to make me feel inferior? The road show people are passing again. I wonder why they always have to disturb the peace of the neighbourhood this early in the morning, when I’m still asleep. My left leg bumps into the bed’s back frame as I kick the blanket away, and I wince in pain. I know Father will be standing by the door, face wrinkled like a guard. He will not ask me why I haven’t taken tea. I’m not as tall as Father. Thank God I’m as handsome as him. Perhaps I inherited my wide ears from Mother. I know I will never keep long hair as my trumpet friend. Our single room is almost half-full. I scamper past sacks of clothes as I head towards the door. When Father’s construction job pays badly, the little cash I get from selling the clothes help in feeding me, feeding him, and paying for my school fees. Listen, I would have been Father’s loving boy if his heart was as handsome as his face. His thick beard is always trimmed at the edges, like a Muslim. He speaks with this sweet tenor voice. His drinking of chang’aa always retains his slender shape. And he...

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The Outlander by Rajarshi Chattopadhyay

    That he saw was nothing. And nothing saw him. It was all set in a dark shabby one hundred-and-twenty rupees-a-month rented room. You know, better than I, how it looked in early eighties in suburbs of the city. A family of five, and, a ten-by-little more than ten, stinking room. Stinking with no further possibilities. A kitchen bare with accessories. And a passage that led to a hell of a four by four where stood an Indian washbowl. He was diddling himself with his left hand. He knew when to stop and how. And he then digged into the mirror. Mirror that hanged on a strip of the wall between two windows through which hardly any air passed or light but, the stink of failures. He was scared of one tiny thing if anyone could read whatever the mirror shot. It was all lack of light in the corridor he ran along. He ran and ran until he stumbled and found the little earthen goddess, all stained with red vermilion that his mother worshipped most and his father barked at. He knew that she was so little but beautifully curved. He knew it, too, that she was she who would pick him up, sing him into sleep, caress him in his dream. Lullay! Light lit in the world of little idols. There were many. As many as...

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The One Who Had It All by CG Fewston

  In 2015 I first learned of the global law firm Mossack Fonseca—primarily based in Panama but having its busiest and most suspicious office in Hong Kong—when the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung dumped 11.5 million documents, totaling 2.5 terabytes of data, onto the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists—along with the Guardian, the BBC and Le Monde in Paris—to sort through the files that had hid the wealth of the elites for the past forty years. This was what first prompted me to find the one who owned the world’s hidden wealth. A year later the leaked files became known as the Panama Papers. From heads of states, ministers, elected officials in more than fifty countries, my search dragged on for months with power players like the President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, the Prime Minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson—who has since resigned—the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Al Saud, and the members of the British parliament who held offshore connections that I carefully tracked and catalogued until I worked my way up the long, sordid list. Covert maneuvers by banks to obscure the true owners of shell companies proved difficult to navigate but I knew if I kept digging the truth would eventually emerge. The ICIJ estimated $21 to $31 trillion usd had been stashed and washed over the years until the true owner of the assets became like...

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Over the Wall by Jason O’Rourke

  Here, the dawn seems to last for an age. It begins out in the unknown expanse beyond The Wall, a creeping pale grey gloom, which gradually intensifies, sometimes taking on warmer yellow hues, until – snap! The skies crack and in an instant we are bathed in the direct light of Sun Number 1. I love this time of the day; the ultraviolet rays of Number 1 shimmer in blue and pink tones on the rocks, imbuing the blues and greens of the vegetation with a vividness that is almost liquid. For a while I forget my circumstances, and gaze in wonder at the beauty of my surroundings. But it’s not long before Sun Number 2 appears, its fierce white light washing out the colour just enough to interrupt my reverie, and bring me back to my life’s purpose, survival. It mightn’t be pretty, but the intense light of Number 2 is undoubtedly the reason for our lush and verdant landscape; for that I can forgive it its brashness. The plants are nutritious and supply us with most of what we need to stay healthy, and this diet is supplemented with the small protein-rich creatures that crowd into the gullies and ravines every few days from beyond The Wall. We quickly hunt them to extinction, safe in the knowledge that the next spike in population growth will deliver...

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Was He Rama, or the Ravan? by Ranak Zaman

  – So, how are you now? – Dead. – Oh, I’m sorry! What happened to you? – Nothing happened. I just died at my 85 years of age. – So, what are you doing here? I mean, nobody is allowed to enter here in Ramayana, except us. – I belong to here. I am Seeta. – No, you are not! – But I am! – How? Can you please elaborate? Who are you actually? – Wife of Rama, Rama Chandra. Do you know him? – Yeah, but did he marry again to you? I don’t get it. – I’m his first wife. –  What? You must be kidding, are you? Wait, are you here to change the story of Ramayana? Please, don’t! – Well, I’m here to add some story, of my life. Actually I’m not Seeta, neither my husband was Rama. – Oh, thank God! (Sigh!) – But my husband was a popular face in his area, everyone used to call him Rama. Because he was too strong, sturdy and lusty like Rama Chandra. – Then? – But he often seemed to me just like the Ravan. And I felt like Seeta. – Ravan? Were you taken by him? – Nope. He stole all the happiness of my life. – That’s a pity. – You know, Seeta got Luv and Kush in her life. At least she...

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