The law of retirement


Who is this girl? I am not sure but I think she’s one of my grandmother’s sisters, married at the age of 14 to a rich zamindar, owner of mango and banana plantations, and several houses in British Calcutta, annual host of an obligatory kangali bhojan (“the feast for the poor”) – fast forward a few decades, nothing remains except an old decaying house in suburban Bengal, and this girl dies in absolute poverty with no money for proper medical treatment. Her daughter, now an old woman and former prostitute, practices black magic in Jaipur. Some think she murdered her doctor husband.


A cat on my father’s scooter. This is 1997. You might think I will tell you something about this beloved cat of the neighbourhood, but the truth is I remember nothing about this cat. I do remember that there was a stray dog I used to feed every day, I named him Johnny and would call out to him every afternoon, and he would come from wherever he was. Until one afternoon when I called and he didn’t come.


This is me, with a goat. Well, a stuffed goat – a toy. I used to love it very much, but one morning a pack of monkeys saw it outside and (I imagine) mistook it for a real goat and massacred it to bits and pieces. Cotton on the floor like flesh, I remember.

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