We never fucked after we stopped
being in love.
Day: 12 February 2017
I had been here before – in this ‘Mecca’ of Calcutta’s street food as Shankar, my chaperon from the Embassy, puts it. Nice man, Shankar. Seems to have an intuitive sense of when he’s needed and for how long, knows exactly where he belongs in the scheme of things. He’s got everything sorted – notes, maps, my travel itinerary, the ballroom in a posh club booked to host a reception for the winners, a day trip to Tagore’s school in Shantiniketan squeezed in between.
Most nights his work is a refuge. But sometimes Ray meets it with fury. Hauls the enemy garbage, accuses the dustpan. Punishes the sinks, toilets, the endless reeking urinals. He relives the day’s earlier confusion: Delia, hurling a vase with his priced-to-clear bouquet. Chrysanthemums, it turns out, she expressly hates. Delia, playing every guy at the bar while Ray sits, fuming. Who’s keeping her company while he empties the bins?
But wasn’t that the problem before she died? Was there any say in the hands that closed on her throat, the knife or the gun, the knuckles on her skull? The girl wants to drift away from these tiresome questions, leave her body to the officials, the coroner, the inquest. Her body still is speaking, still has more stories to tell, but she no longer has any say in which stories get told.
“Alright! Man! There is a solution right? That’s my point, that’s why I went back history lane, there’s a solution–” Roland took out a business card and a pamphlet from his bag and passed them to the man. “Take those, read the pamphlet, read it carefully, then you can call and let’s discuss how you can join the movement to change the country.”