20 October, 2020

Life Flowing On The Ganga, As Seen From My Sick-Bed

A steadily accreting generosity amid the bedlam that wraps one in a lasting warmth

Illustration by Sorit
Life Flowing On The Ganga, As Seen From My Sick-Bed
I spent my last days as a completely whole human being, physically equipped with everything God gave me apart from my milk teeth, in Bihar. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong—there were no warnings, nothing I could look back on and say, ‘There at that point, confess it, you felt a little off-colour.’ In the Rajdhani chair-car from Delhi to Dhanbad, I read Anthony Burgess’s Inside Mr Enderby, which my Delhi landlord, the incomparably well-read Sham Lal, had given me as "something that will make you laugh on the train". Mr Enderby’s insides provided the comedy. As a dyspeptic, he was always groaning, belching and farting—sounds that Burgess transcribed with words like Whhhagggguppp and Rrrrruurooosst—as he composed his poetry on the lavatory. Now I come to think of it, the title of this book could have been a sign—an omen about my own insides. But as I stepped from the train at Dhanbad, I felt perfectly well, and went on feeling well throughout my several nights at Dhanbad’s Hotel Bonanza and my many meals of channa dal...


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