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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 4, December 2015

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Brijesh Raj
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India


Twilight

I was hurrying to work one evening, when his voice stopped me: “Dr Brijesh, hello.” Svelte in a crisp black shirt save for the hollowed cheeks. Strong, if clammy grip. A broad, happy smile. That at least remained unchanged I thought and said, “It’s been a while. Trust all is well?”

My mind went back to late one night years ago, when a voice on the phone beseeched me to see a sick kitten. I was tired at the end of a long day but I reluctantly agreed. I entered a dingy slum, treated a wormy little ginger pet, chatted a bit with his work-worn, doting mother and prepared to leave.

At the door, the boy touched my arm lightly. Abashedly he asked for help with his alcohol problem. I directed him to the local Alcoholics Anonymous and he thanked me humbly with a traditional ‘Namaste.’ Then he quickly pressed two bananas into my hands in lieu of payment, completely disregarding my stuttered protests.

Now he stood before me on the street, asking for my phone number again. His shaking, futile attempts to feed the number into his cell phone said it all. He had the DTs, just like my mentor so many years ago.

monsoon dusk
the sunlight fading
from his eyes

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