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Saturday, August 18, 2012

‘Wildlife on Coal Island’ by Shivani Sivagurunathan

Staring at a vase
“We both got into medical school in India after two years at college. I was beginning to think that Amitabh had dropped his penchant for cutting open the world and looking deep into its light. But it was India that broke him again. The problem there was that drugs were cheap, accessible, too common. Students absorbed them like coffee and went on crazy bike rides around the infested streets, charging at stalls, yahooing at the colours of cakes and grains and saris. Amitabh was electrified. The issue I had with his new phase of drug-taking was that he had stopped talking about looking for the truth or the soul of the universe. This time, he had given up on philosophy in favour of fun – riding with the boys, cavorting with the girls, whistling at cats, laughing at inanimate objects. I caught him one day staring at a vase and mumbling something about darkness.’
“‘What did you say?’ I asked.’
“He looked up at me, sad, fearful, his hair sweaty and uncombed. ‘Sit with me a while, Shel.’’
“I sat, feeling that I had never caught this particular mood of his before.”
(pp. 75-6, ‘Wildlife on Coal Island’ by Shivani Sivagurunathan - Harper)

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