‘There were rules to the game. I could not lose my virginity and I had to be careful not to let a boy go further than I wanted to.’
‘When Enebeli Okwara sent his girl out in the world, he did not know what the world did to daughters.’ 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize – regional winner for Africa.
About Her and the Memories That Belong to Her
‘If I were to forget, then it would be the same as it never having existed at all.’
‘Hara had stumbled on a kind of play, as if they were sisters left alone by their parents for the first time to explore the different ways a day could be deconstructed.‘
The Instant of Passage
‘Praying for the unknown dead, for the vague remains of the existences of total strangers, was sadly abstract.’
‘She felt things under the skin: scars where the body had torn during childbirth, clumps of cellulite, lobules and ducts.’
‘I have heard the item girls singing each to each. / I do not think they will sing to me.’
The Gentlest Village
‘You are learning – learning a great deal. It is too much for you, so your body bows out. Then you wake up and you can continue.’
‘You didn’t know where you wanted to end up, had never considered how much time you had left.’
To Rio de Janeiro
‘In the end, what one understands in Rio de Janeiro is that joy is the only coherence of a living being.’
Honk Honk to Udvada
‘Oh Uncle, it’s such a historical day,’ said Zahra. ‘The eight hundredth anniversary of our arrival in India after we faced so much persecution in Iran, and we’re going to such a big bash, and all you can think about is emus. What will Dr Billimoria think of our family?’
The Wrong Square
‘Something as fundamental to intelligence as counting was eluding him.’
Poor Lucky Kolyvanova
‘The red girls’ school stood opposite a grey boys’ school, built five years after it as if to proclaim the rational symmetry of the world.’
Dreamed in Stone
’You were a chasm that cracked and turned into stones, and then the stones lay there, beautifully laid, in a wall.‘
‘Things started going wrong at my ten-year college reunion – or I guess I mean that I realized how wrong they had gone.’
Younger Daughter’s declaration that ‘Othello sucks’ prompts a conflicted response from Father.
‘Selecting the right kind of a tomato was crucial for the scam to work.’
Her Lousy Shoes
‘On good days, he could believe that that was exactly what he appeared to be: pedestrian, a pedestrian, a walker, walking, going places, on the ups, possessing two healthy feet at least.’
This is New
‘None of this would have happened if I’d just taken a deep breath, suppressed my emotions and said to the young woman, “Leave. Now.”‘
Look Out, Narendran!
A madman is dead set on blowing up the Taj Mahal, and there’s only one pair of detectives who can stop him. Tamil Pulp Fiction at its best.
‘A single pod of cardamom! Was that enough? To flavour an entire life’s pot of time?’
Every Person’s Little Treasure
‘It occurred to Ana that this was a woman who often left things hanging.’
‘Like scraps of leather, oddly shaped, things from life, people and sayings and objects, found themselves spliced together.’
‘He’s not himself’, Mum says in the kitchen. Well, who is he then? Is he 40 per cent of his young self? Ten? Do I still have to love him as much as ever, this 90 per cent stranger?
The Florida Motel
‘Suddenly she understood what she was doing here. She was among strangers, the place where Bill had chosen to spend his life.’
A Double-Income Family
When Mrs Mehra leaves Delhi she retires in one of ‘the vast new satellite townships on the eastern fringes of the metropolis’.
She had already imagined it all, so much so that when she finally did see him, she felt unable to speak.
Krapp Hour (Act 2)
‘this is my theory of her awake all night worrying about little wild animals active in the dark’