Navtej Singh Dhillon

All articles by this author

Shatabdi Express

Shatabdi Express

Soon the train passed and the world was still again

We walked along the tracks. I offered to fill her lamp with oil so she didn’t have to go home in the dark. We returned to my room but stayed outside. There were no stars for us to look at, so we lit a small fire with some of the wood I had gathered. She pushed back her hair and lowered her head. Her earrings were made of silver and etched with a curling vine. She leaned in, and I was afraid she was too close to the fire. Smoke blew on her face. She hardly blinked.

Homecomings

Homecomings

The transfusions would take place after dark

When I arrived at the cremation ground, a dry patch of land surrounded by verdant fields, the maid’s grandson was sitting on a low-hanging branch. He had remained there until dawn, watching my father’s body burn slowly and keeping the vultures away. Now he watched me as I took a stick and sieved through the ash, discovering a layer of pale gray powder first, and then some of my father’s nails.