Aravind Adiga: Last man in tower

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1,6589,578,fic,eng,20120805,20121021,5,Aravind Adiga: Last man in tower
20120805-20121021, 578 pages, 5* SalesInfo

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1 (2)
‘Oyoyoy, my Ramu. Out of bed now. Or Mummy will whack your bottom harder. Up, or the Friendly Duck will say, Ramu is a lazy lazy fellow.’ Mrs Puri coaxed Ramu into a bath half filled with warm (never hot) water, and let him play with his Friendly Duck and Spiderman for a few minutes. Mr Puri, an accountant, left for work an hour before Ramu woke up, with a metal lunch box that his wife had packed. It was a long trip for him - auto, train, change of train at Dadar, and then a shared taxi from Victoria Terminus to Nariman Point, from where he would call Ramu punctually at noon to inquire about the state of the Friendly Duck’s health that day. ‘Rum-pum-pum,’ the naked, dripping boy said, while she scrubbed his pale, downy
2 (14)
The visitor knocked on the door with the back of his hand. Is there a place to rent here?'The man
3 (14)
Municipality. Have all the children in the Society received anti-polio drops?
4 (15)
Dark-skinned, tall, upright, in well-ironed Oxford-style shirt and pleated cotton trousers, the visitor gave the Secretary no reason to doubt that he was in a solid field like Drug & Chem. so that it was impossible to know if the present tenant was Hindu, Christian, or a member of a hybrid cult practised only in this
5 (15)
want a legal history of Towers A and B.' 'A what? 'A summary of lawsuits filed, pending, or likely to arise in the future?
6 (16)
Very good. Are there any "peculiar situations'?*
7 (16)
We live in a dangerous time, do we not?'Dangerous/the Secretary conceded. Very.'Terrorists. Bombs in trains. Explosions.'The Secretary couldn't argue.
8 (16)
He thought of the visitor's jagged upper tooth. 'Fellow might not even be in chemicals. Might not even have a job.'
9 (17)
'Not a Mercedes-Benz, is it? Just a scooter.'
10 (17)
Your son plays
11 (17)
Mrs Puri (3C), who was the closest thing to a friend the Secretary had, insisted there
12 (18)
They had one son, Tinku, a noted player of carom and other indoor sports, fat and white-skinned, with an imbecilic smile pasted on his face at all times - although whether he was truly stupid, or whether, like his father, merely hiding his 'nature',...
13 (18)
His ability to keep the maintenance bill steady, despite the pressure of inflation in a city like Mumbai, was considered his principal achievement as Secretary, even if some whispered that he pulled this off only by doing nothing at all to maintain t...
14 (19)
Vou weren't here yesterday morning,' the servant said. 'He was here.' She went back to her sweeping. What did he want yesterday? The same thing he wanted today. Answers to lots and lots of questions.'
15 (19)
'Oy, oy, oy, my Ramu. Slowly, slowly. We don’t want you falling into that.' A pit had materialized in front of Vishram Society. It swallowed everything but the heads and necks of the men digging inside it, and an occasional raised muddy arm.
16 (20)
They asked all these questions. I answered some, and I told them to speak to Mr Pinto.'The
17 (20)
What did they want to know? the Secretary asked Mrs Puri. Whether it is a good place or a bad place. Whether the people are good. They wanted to rent a flat, I think.'
18 (20)
The other man, the tall dark one, wore a nice white shirt and black trousers, exactly as
19 (20)
'Maybe we should tell the police about this,'the Secretary said. 1 don’t understand why he came again today. There have been burglaries near the train station.' Mrs
20 (20)
'Men with gold rings are the biggest thieves in the world. Where have you been living all these years? - and walked away.
21 (21)
most evenings they walked as a pair, she with her blind eyes, and he with his open mouth, as if sucking sight and breath
22 (21)
Mrs Puri caught up with him. Is it true, Kothari, what they say the early-morning cat found in 3B's rubbish?
23 (21)
the residents of the building knew from the rubbish who was a vegetarian and who merely claimed to be one; who was a rum-man and who a gin-man; and who had bought a pornographic magazine when on holiday in Singapore.
24 (22)
Turning to her left, Mrs Puri called: 'Ramu, have you fed the dog?
25 (22)
have a growing son—' She dropped her voice. 1 dont want him living with the wrong kind of people. You should call Import-Export Hiranandani now.'
26 (22)
Not checking the identity of this girl tenant, he had taken her deposit and handed her the keys to 3B, without asking the Secretary or his neighbours if they wanted an unmarried woman - a journalist, at that - on
27 (23)
but when the condoms come tumbling on to your doorstep, well, then!
28 (23)
Have you seen anyone going into her room? the Secretary asked.
29 (25)
Masterji, what happened when the dinosaurs died out? Show us again how the meteor hit the earth."And tell us about global warming again, Masterji/
30 (25)
The four boys who had been sitting on the sofa - Sunil Rego (1B), Anand Ganguly (5B), Raghav Ajwani (2Q and Mohammad Kudwa (4Q - got up. Tinku Kothari (4A), the fat son of the Secretary, struggled to his feet from the floor. 'Enough, boys, go home!...
31 (26)
There is a boy who goes into and comes out of that room with her,' Masterji
32 (26)
When this building first came up, there were no Hindus allowed here, it is a fact. Then there were meant to be no Muslims, it is a fact. All proved to be
33 (26)
Now, young people, unmarried girls, they should also be given a chance. We don't want to become a building full of retirees and blind people. If this girl and her boyfriend have done something inappropriate, we should speak to them. However../ He look...
34 (27)
told Masterji about the inquisitive stranger who had come twice to the Society. Should they make a report to the police? Masterji stared at the Secretary. What can this man steal from us, Kothari?
35 (27)
The old teacher shook his head. 1 live on a pension, Sunil: ask someone else for a donation.
36 (28)
Take them. You have taught our children for thirty years. Shall I cut them for you? Hi sweets every day - once a week: and today is not that day.'
37 (29)
Though she had not actually given Masterji the mangoes, Mrs Puri felt the same sense of neighbourly entitlement that would have resulted from the act, and moved to his bookshelf. 'Are you becoming religious, Masterji?
38 (29)
The Soul's Passageway after Death. She read aloud from it: In its first year out of the body, the soul travels slowly and at a low altitude, burdened by the sins of its..."Purnima's first anniversary is not so far away. She wanted me to read about G...
39 (29)
Does it say on my door, Agatha Christie lending library? Masterji asked. T wont have any books to read if people keep borrowing them.'Tm taking this for my husband. Not that I dont read, Masterji. I was such a reader in my college days.' She ...
40 (30)
Yogesh Murthy, known as Masterji, was one of the first Hindus allowed into Vishram on account of his noble profession and dignified bearing. He was lean, moustached, and of medium height: in physical terms, a typical representative of the earlier gen...
41 (30)
On the positive side of the ledger, Gaurav, his only
42 (30)
After the loss of his wife, he had continued to keep himself clean and his home tidy; had continued to teach children, to lend murder mysteries, to take his evening walks around the compound at the right pace and to buy his vegetables in appropriate ...
43 (31)
12 MAY
44 (31)
‘Oyoyoy, my Ramu. Out of bed now.
45 (31)
The Puns' 834 sq ft of living space was a maelstrom of newsprint. The sofas had been lost to India Today and Femina magazines, while the dining table was submerged under office papers, loan applications, electricity bills, savings bank statements, a...
46 (32)
while searching for a bank cheque or letter and shout: Why don't we clean this house up!' But the mess grew. The enveloping junk only enhanced the domestic glow from the neat beds and the well- stocked fridge.
47 (32)
Done with the laces, Mrs Puri spat on the shoes and gave them a final polish with a th Ramu to the toilet, so he could admire his good looks. The moment the boy stood
48 (33)
She looked at her boy. Eighteen years old. Never growing, yet somehow picking up new things all the time - just like the city he lived in.
49 (33)
50 (34)
'Mr Ibrahim Kudwa/the guard said, without looking up. 'He asked me what I thought of the joke and I said, I can't read English, sir. Is it a good joke?'
51 (34)
We are impotent people in an impotent city, Ram Khare, as Ibby often says. Jokes art
52 (34)
When her boy was diagnosed with Down's syndrome, Sangeeta Puri, before telling her mother or sister, had told her immediate neighbours. Masterji, listening to the news with a hand on his wife's shoulder, had begun to cry. She
53 (35)
Masterji, despite his well-known atheism, had even approved of her trips to holy shrines to seek divine favour on Ramu's slow brain.
54 (35)
small Tamil temple. This was the landmark she had been trying to remember: this temple. Somewhere here she had seen that plumber. A
55 (36)
'Mummy,' one of the cricketers shouted. 'Mummy, it's Mrs Puri Aunty.'
56 (36)
'Nice-looking boy. Growing tall and strong.' Mrs Puri smiled. 'Mary, that plumber who lives here, I need to find him for some work in Masterji's flat.'
57 (36)
They've all gone to see the Muslim man's hut."What big news is this, Mary^'Havent you heard, madam?' She smiled. 'God has visited the slums today.'
58 (36)
Their higher average income, lower average age, and a sense of being'somehow more modern' meant that Tower B residents kept to themselves, used their own gate, and celebrated their religious festivals separately.
59 (37)
offer of 81 lakh rupees (81,00,000) to that Muslim man for his one-room hut.
60 (37)
Amiable and dark, Ramesh Ajwani was known within Vishram to be a typical member of his tribe of real-estate brokers. Ethics not to be trusted, information not to be doubted. He was a small man in a blue safari suit. He punched at his mobile phone; th...
61 (37)
Ajwani looked at the text message and said: True.'They
62 (38)
Wouldn't it be nice if someone gave us 81 lakh rupees? Mrs Puri said, after Ritika was out of earshot.
63 (38)
'Careful,' Mr Pinto whispered. 'Battleship is here. Careful.' Mrs Rego - the 'Battleship' for her wide grey skirts, formidable girth, and stentorian voice - was returning home with her children.
64 (39)
'Have you heard, Mrs Rego, about the 81 lakh offer? For a one-room in the slums?
65 (39)
What is the definition of a dying city, Mrs Puri? I will tell you, as you do not know: a city that ceases to surprise you.
66 (39)
That Muslim man is never going to see his money. These developers and builders are mafia. The other day they shot a member of the city corporation dead. It was in the papers.' Mr
67 (39)
Without migrants, this city would be dust. We are ruled by fascists,
68 (39)
1 don't know what a fascist does, but I know what a Communist does. You don't like developers who make people rich, but you like the beggars who get off at Victoria Terminus every day.'
69 (39)
1 am a Christian, Mrs Puri. We are meant to care for the poor.' Mrs
70 (40)
Mrs Kothari, the Secretary's wife, put her head out of the window and shouted: Water!'
71 (40)
now. After giving Ramu his evening bath, she made sure to collect an extra bucket of water for the old man, in case the Municipality, for giving them water they were not meant to have, punished them by annulling their morning water supply.
72 (40)
Masterji puzzled over his dream, until he
73 (41)
With eyes closed, imagine a human soul with your wife's face - and with wings like an eagle... yes, eyes, nose, cheeks like your wife's, wing-span like an eagle's, suspended in mid-flight over the ocean...
74 (42)
A noise from the kitchen. The very noise Purnima used to make when chopping onions. He tiptoed into the kitchen to catch a ghost, if one was there. An old calendar was tapping on the wall. It was Purnima's private calendar, illustrated with an image ...
75 (42)
The bell rang: bushy-haired and bearded, Ibrahim Kudwa, the cyber-cafe owner from 4C, with dandruff sprinkled like spots of wisdom on the shoulders of his green kurta.
76 (42)
Kudwa slapped his forehead. 'Sorry, I changed it from "work is in progress, inconvenience is regretted", to the other way round. I thought you would like to know.'Very impressive,' Masterji said.
77 (43)
The boy had questions: what is the name of that in the water? - who is the tiger yawning at? - why are the birds yellow? Masterji enjoyed giving names to the animals, and added a humorous story to explain why each one left his native land
78 (43)
A green tarpaulin on the roofing made a phosphorescent glow through which the dark animal came,
79 (43)
What is its name? Masterji could not say. The syllables were there, on the tip of his tongue. But when
80 (43)
At once the boy seemed frightened, as if his grandfather's power, which lay in naming these animals, had ended. To
81 (43)
ate on the grass; Masterji thought he was in a happy time of his life. The battles were over, the heat and light were dimmed.
82 (43)
His grandmother and I. Life in Bombay in the old days. War in 1965 with Pakistan. War in 1971. The day they killed Indira Gandhi. So much more. 'More peanuts? he asked. The boy shook his head, and looked at his grandfather hopefully.
83 (44)
Gaurav, his son, had just sent her a text message. He would not be coming home until midnight. Busy day at the office. Why don't you wait? she suggested. You can stay overnight. It's your home, after all...' 111 wait,’ he said. He tapped his finge...
84 (44)
When she came back to Mumbai, she said nothing for days. Then she confessed. 'They locked me up in a room and made me sign a paper." Her own brothers! They threatened her until she signed over
85 (44)
Her favourite saying. "Man is like a goat tied to a pole." Meaning, all of us have some free will but not too much. One shouldn't judge oneself harshly.'
86 (45)
He got up from his chair with the book. 111 go back now."At this hour? Sonal frowned. The train will be packed. Wait an hour here. It's
87 (45)
Hyena,' he said suddenly, and closed the book. That was the word he had not been able to find for Ronak; the striped animal in the cage. 'Hyena. My own daughter-in-law is a hyena to me.'
88 (46)
He did not want to go home. He did not want to lie down on that bed again.
89 (46)
After his wife's death, Mr Pinto came to him and said: You will eat with us from now on.' Three times a day he went down the stairs to sit at the Pintos' dining table, covered with a red-and-white checkerboard oilcloth they had brought back from Chi...
90 (46)
The Pintos asked for nothing in return, but he came back every evening from the market with a fistful of coriander or ginger to deposit on their table.
91 (47)
Oval Maidan. The
92 (48)
Now for the worst. The lights turned on in the train as it came to a halt. Dadar station. Footfalls and pushing: in the dim first-class compartment men multiplied like isotopes. A
93 (48)
He remembered a line from his college Hamlet. The thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to? Shakespeare underestimated the trauma of life in Mumbai by a big margin.
94 (48)
At Bandra, he realized he had only one stop left, and began pushing his way to the door - I'm getting out too, old man. You should be patient. When the train stopped he was three feet away from the door; he was pushed from behind and pushed those ahe...
95 (49)
'Masterji. Someone was asking about Vishram Society in the market/'Asking what? What kind of people lived in it, what their reputation was, did they fight with each other and with others, lots and lots of questions. He was a tall fellow, Masterji...
96 (49)
'Did he wear a white shirt and black trousers? Yes, I think so. I told him that any Society with a man like Masterji in it is a good Society.' Thank you, my friend,' Masterji said, having forgotten the pest control man's name. So
97 (51)
Consoling his belly with a massage, Shah moved to the next window. He ate the view from here: the football field that occupied most of the Cooperage, the green Oval Maidan beside it, the gable and deep-arched entranceway of the University, the Rajaba...
98 (52)
It is a bit worse each time I see you, Dharmen. That thing that is growing in your chest and head. Chronic bronchitis. Worse and worse each time. You have infected mucus in your lungs and in your sinuses. The next stage is that you have trouble brea...
99 (52)
I've been warning you for months. Its the construction business that is doing this to you. All the dust you inhale. The stress and strain.' Tve been at construction sites for twenty-five years, Nayak. The problem began only a year or two ago.'
100 (53)
Materials were used then that are banned now. Asbestos, cheap paint. They get into your lungs. Then these places you like going to, these slums.' The place is called Vakola.'
101 (53)
listen to me. I gave up three paying appointments for this. You're picking up fevers, coughs, stomach illnesses. Your immune system is weakening. Leave Bombay,' said the doctor. 'At least for a part of each year. Go to the Himalayas. Simla. Abroad....
102 (54)
He's coming over to my side now. Know what he did the other day? Paid eighty-one lakhs for a one-room in a slum. Just so everyone would talk about him. In my own territory. Even sends me this brochure in the mail.'
103 (54)
You have Santa Cruz airport there, you have the Bandra-Kurla Complex there and you have the Dharavi slums there. Why is this line golden? Air travel is booming. More planes, more visitors. Then' - he moved his finger - the financial centre at Bandr...
104 (55)
Asia's biggest slum will become Asia's richest slum. This area is boiling with money. People arrive daily and have nowhere to live. Except* -
105 (55)
Shah turned to look at him. 'How else will we improve? Look at the trains in this city. Kopioitu leikepöydälle >urts. Nothing works, nothing moves; it takes ten years to build a bridge.'
106 (57)
'Only once."Solid people. Tower B is modern. Finance, high-tech, computers. Tower A is old. Teachers, accountants, brokers. Both are solid.'Teachers? The fat man winced. What else about this Society? Has anything bad happened there?'One suici...
107 (58)
The contractor told me this morning that everything was all right and there was no need for me to be there. You know what that means.'
108 (58)
first, we saw him doing this...' The policeman made a circular motion to indicate the action of spraying. Shah listened. The fingers of his left hand rubbed the thick gold ring on the fingers of his right. Then he did this. Then this. They finished p...
109 (59)
Shah put his hand on his heart. *So grateful.' Giri went at once into his master's study. A wooden drawer opened, then closed.
110 (61)
Hitching up his trousers, Shah walked up to the cow; he touched its forehead three times for good luck and touched his own.
111 (61)
How is the cement pouring today? he asked. Very well, sir.'
112 (61)
Then why are you people standing here, wasting time? He
113 (62)
One of the group of mutineers, a small man with neatly parted hair, explained. We can't work in these conditions, sahib, please forgive us. We will finish the day's work honestly, and leave in the evening. Ask the contractor. We have been your best...
114 (62)
He spat something thick, pink, and gutka-stained. He stroked the cow again, and spoke. kindle
115 (62)
You say you want to go home. Dont I know what you'll do? Work your farms? No. You'll lie on a charpoy in the shade, smoke, play with a child. When the sun sets, you'll drink. You'll run out of money, come back on 15 June, when it's raining, and beg ...
116 (63)
The workers looked at one another: indecision rippled over them, and then the one
117 (63)
'And you—' he jabbed a gold-ringed finger at the contractor's chest. 'Next time something is wrong at the site, don't tell me: "All is well, sir." Does it hurt your mouth if the truth comes out of it once a year?'Forgive me, sir,'the contractor sa...
118 (65)
Taking out his blue-checked handkerchief, which his wife laid folded for him every morning on the breakfast table, he wiped his face: temples,
119 (66)
The foundation of the 32-year-old friendship between Masterji and Mr Pinto was the 'No-Argument book' - a notebook in which every financial transaction between them had been faithfully recorded. In
120 (67)
'Okay,' Mr Pinto said. 'But you owe me two and a half rupees.' Two and a half?'
121 (67)
'Nonsense/ Masterji said. 1 have no students writing for that paper.' Mr
122 (68)
1 have a rule. I cant eat this.' It was true: he had a 'one-rat rule' - never revisit a place where a single rat has been observed. Vou and your rule.' Mr Pinto helped himself to some of his friend's biryani. 1 dont like competing for my food wi...
123 (68)
Having paid for food and the broken glass, the two were walking back to Vishram Society. 'Rats have always fought humans in this city, Mr Pinto. In the nineteenth century there were plagues here. Even today they outnumber us: six rats for every human...
124 (69)
A fifteen-minute walk later, the two old men reached their local market, a row of blue wooden stalls, lit by white tube-lights or naked yellow bulbs, in which the most disparate trades were conducted side by side: a chicken shop smelling of poultry s...
125 (70)
'How dare you, Mr Pinto. Spying on me. 111 go to the bathroom when I want to. It is a free country.'
126 (70)
The old accountant said: 'Come to our room and have a small peg, Masterji.' 'Not tonight, Mr Pinto.' *We have the Amaretto. Tony's gift. Let's have a peg. A peg each.'
127 (71)
You seem to think I am a broker, miss?* Ajwani's dark, pockmarked face was so unusual for his community that clients routinely mistook him for a South Indian - a good thing, he felt, because South Indians, unlike Sindhis, are known as an honest peop...
128 (71)
T will not do what every other broker in this city does. I will not lie to you. Will not say a building is "virtually new" if it is forty years old; will not gloss over peculiarities in the neighbours, seepages and leakages in roof or walls. I belie...
129 (71)
The woman in the blue sari did as she was told; in between the deities she saw a
130 (72)
*Do you know the name of this god, miss? He is called 'Information". Make him your master too. Now, please sit down.'
131 (72)
Fitness is my fourth god.'
132 (72)
The girl tried hard to suppress the urge, then put her hand on her mouth, and succumbed. She shook with laughter; the broker beamed. 1 also enjoy making people laugh. Especially young women. Their laughter is the sweet...'
133 (75)
Tonight Mr Pinto was enjoying a bout of insomnia. He stared at his ceiling. For thirty years that ceiling - with the chandelier hanging from the centre like a glowing fountain of intelligence - had been an image of his neighbour and friend's mind.
134 (77)
A key had been left in the lock of the almirah; he turned it to find the shelves empty, except for one that was paved with newspaper and defended by camphor mothballs, with just an old silk sari lying in it.
135 (78)
Instead of the image of his wife's soul, Masterji saw himself, with the body of an eagle, flying over an ocean: as if his own death, and subsequent trial, had already begun. When he heard a loud, steady knocking on the door, his first thought was tha...
136 (78)
General Offer of Redevelopment: To Vishram Societies, A and B. Proposal Made by Confidence Group (Headquarters Navnirman Building, Parel, Mumbai). Attention: Secretaries, Society A and B, and all residents In consideration of the proposed development...
137 (79)
a generous offer is made to all owners at the uniform rate of Rs 19,000 a square foot.
138 (79)
If the residents accept this generous offer, the said sum is payable in three instalmer within three months into the nominated bank account. In ...
139 (80)
ir signing the agreement, one upon the vacating of the building, and one payable
140 (80)
About the Confidence Group: Our motto is: from my family to yours.' Founded in 1978, we are one of Mumbai's leading developers, with new projects also
141 (86)
They pulled my mother out of a well one day. That is the very first memory I have.' She came out of the kitchen and wiped her hands. 1 was four years old. She jumped into the well in our house in Krishnapur.'Why did she do it?' He shrugged. 'A ye...
142 (87)
Why go back? In the village, a man lives as a social animal, Rosie: pleasing his
143 (88)
Smuggling was for small men, he found out; the real money in this world lies on the legitimate side of things. Starting out as a contractor for another builder on Mira Road, he soon realized that much as he loved cement and steel, he loved people mor...
144 (89)
'How is your spit today. Unde?' - Rosie shouted at the bathroom. It was a role every mistress sooner or later took to playing, that of surrogate mother. 'Clear, Rosie.' He coughed and spat, then dipped his finger in the spit and inspected it. Last D...
145 (90)
for lielp' in setting up a hair-dressing studio of her own, which Shah promised she would receive. At the end of their relationship. But until then, if she made eyes at anyone else, she would fly headfirst into the Indian Ocean.
146 (91)
Why don’t you introduce me to Satish, Uncle? I'm in his age group, I can talk to him if he's in trouble,' she asked, when he emerged, still rubbing his hair. 111 bring you a model of the Shanghai, Rosie. Its so beautiful, you should see it. Gothi...
147 (92)
He knocked on her door: 111 count to five, Rosie."No. I'll never come out. You never take me to your home. Never—"One,' he counted. Two. Three. Four.'A woman's face peeped from behind the opened door.
148 (93)
'Explain.'Shah slurped tea from the saucer. The ten-by-two room is thirty-three per o twelve twelve is r plus five is nine, nine nine is eighteen feet of wall to build. Ten plus two twelve. Kopioitu leikepöydälle
149 (94)
this is construction. We have to speak the truth in this business, or nothing will ever get built. Do you know what a left-hand man is?* Shanmugham had not known at the time.
150 (94)
When it comes to work - hurry, hurry, hurry. When it comes to payment - delay, delay, delay. Caste, religion, family background nothing. Talent everything. Be 10 per cent more generous to people than you feel like being.
151 (94)
Do not trust connections made with bank...
152 (95)
When her eyesight had begun to dim, over a decade ago, Mrs Pinto had kept a strict count of the steps (even retracing her path when she lost the count), but that was no longer necessary.
153 (95)
*... if one person says no, you cant tear down the Society. That's the whole idea of a Co-operative Housing Society. One for all, all for one.'
154 (97)
Society. They've filled up the hole now, but there was a sign there. It said: "Work in progress, inconvenience regretted", but I changed it to 'Inconvenience in progress, work regretted".'
155 (98)
Everyone in Vishram knew of Mrs Puri's closeness to the boy; it was one of the triumphs of their communal life - one of the cross-beams of affection that are meant to grow in any co-operative society.
156 (99)
At five
157 (99)
any case, what had they done? Just spray a few cars and a van. It was nothing compared to what his father did in his line of work.
158 (99)
The bastard works in construction, Satish thought, and he has the guts to tell me I am the bad one in the family. Thinking
159 (100)
Youl! be seventeen in a few days. Do you know what I was doing when I was your age? Have you thought about those people whose cars you damaged? You will never
160 (101)
BlWWIIimmiPIIW Looking down from his window, Masterji saw Mr Pinto sitting in the middle of the ai I l( Jnt vvhite seat next to him, looking up. Masterji raised his right hand - coming. coming.
161 (103)
This child that he had made, the tracks had unmade. Her brains, oozing from her broken head, because the passengers did not want to be late. Surely in the men's
162 (105)
Tty our Lord Jesus Christ I will fight you. I know builders, and they are all liars and criminals. Better you leave now. Right now.'
163 (106)
His wife got up from the bed. 'Don't be angry. Please go upstairs and wake Masterji. We should all have some soup and bread.' 'All right,' Mr Pinto said, and put on his shoes.
164 (107)
'Shanmugham. Six years you've worked for me and still you are an idiot. I've underpaid by a thousand rupees a square foot.'The traffic jam began to clear; Shah looked at his assistant's eyes in the driver's
165 (108)
posh people
166 (108)
square foot in Maker Towers would be worth today, what, 2,000 or 3,000 times my initial investment. That land is now worth more than land in London, more than land in New York. One day, ten years later, I came by Maker Towers, and I saw that building...
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Tn my experience, some older people oppose a redevelopment project because they are frightened of any kind of change. Some just want more money. And then there is one kind of person, the most dangerous.
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My wife is a good woman. She made me become the Secretary of Vishram: so I would do something for others. I am grateful for any... extra kindness you show me. But I cannot accept until I ask you this: what about everyone else in Vishram Society? Will y...
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In the old days, a builder in this city thought he could get rich only if he cheated his customers. He would cheat them as a matter of routine - on cement, on steel rods, on finishing. Every monsoon one of his buildings
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*But I tell you one thing, Mr Kothari. Old builder or new, the basic nature of my business has not changed. Do you know what a builder is? 'A man who builds houses,' Kothari said.
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and they were together once again at the lake in Kenya. Ashvin Kothari fell asleep with tears on his cheeks. Kopioitu leikepöydälle
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What is this black book? Mr Shah took it from his
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assistant and turned it over. It has dates, and things we deal with, and wise sayings I hear from you. My wife encourages me to write things down, sir.' Shah flipped through it. If
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Fruit- and vegetable-vendors drew towards the red stool, looking its occupant up and down with wonder, as if he had been struck by lightning and survived. 'My greatness - if there be any - is to do with my students,' Masterji explained.
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Twenty thousand rupees per square foot! You could buy her new eyes with so much money.'Trivedi grinned. You're teasing me, aren't you, Masterji?
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The broker continued: It's usually the Secretary who is picked. The Secretary of Tower B, Mr Ravi, is a good man. But our Secretary is a nothing man.' 'Nothing man? Shanmugham asked his tea.
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1 came to Vakola to deliver boxes of sweets to your Society. You will find one for you at the gate, Mr Ajwani. Other than that, I have nothing to give you.'The broker stirred the sugar into his tea. You will never get Vishram Society to accept you...
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cyber-café was a potential terrorist. User name, phone number, address, driving licence or passport number - the café owner was legally obliged to keep detailed records of every customer, and the police swooped on Kudwa's books for any excuse to exto...
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'Of course we do,'Ajwani said. *By the way, that was a lovely joke the other day. What you wrote on that sign outside the Society. What was it, "Inconvenience is regretted, but work...""Inconvenience in progress, work regretted.' Kudwa beamed. Maria...
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He did all his best thinking in the market. At least once a week he came here with his two boys to teach them how to bargain. An essential part of their education. If a man could not be cheated on his food, he could not be cheated on anything else.
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At first there was a hotel by the train station, the Wood-Lands, that rented rooms by women were happy; he was happier than they were. Tha... Kopioitu leikepöydälle iner room in his office. A coconut to sip on, as they lay side by side in bed. The
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Ajwani picked up a papaya and smelled its base for ripeness.
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Begin 19
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The people of Vishram Society did not praise servants lightly: but Mary they trusted, service not one complaint of theft. True, there was alwa... kindle
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The builder has made them an offer. Everyone leaves on October 3/
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Someone will go to court. You dont have to worry now.'
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tarpaulin tents iterial, often cloth such as canvas or polyester coated with urethane, or made of
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A new official had been put in charge of clearing the city's illegal slums. He had smashed miles of huts in Thane and promised to do the same in Mumbai. Every day their slum survived should be considered a miracle. The huts
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Wiping her hands on her sari, Mary came out to talk. Today was a false alarm, Mary, but sooner or later they will come to demolish this place. You should move while you can.'This is my home, madam. Would you leave yours? She asked the Battleship ...
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The issue here - individual right vis-à-vis collective well-being - was so complicated that if a single resident of Vishram went to court, the demolition would be postponed for years while the judge scratched his head over the case and tried to find ...
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Society too."Masterji? Mrs Puri laughed. 'He's just a big jackfruit. Prickly outside, soft and sweet inside. He's a born quarreller, not a born fighter. Always complaining about this, about that. But the moment the Pintos say yes, hell say yes. I...
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Have you read the notice, Masterji? she asked, her fat fingers still at the light switch. They beat us to it. Tower B. They have accepted the offer.' You are interrupting the physics top-up, Mrs Puri.' 'Oy, oy, oy...' She flicked the light switch o...
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'How is your boyfriend? he shouted. From somewhere near the ground floor, she laughed. 'My boy friend is scared of you, Masterji. He won't come here any more.' He listened to her charge out of the building. Exactly the way Sandhya, when her friends ...
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Rego and her children went from floor to floor in Vishram Society, inspecting the do< acceptance of his plan, and Mrs Rego knew from Kopîoity lerkeptiytlg.'fe ets had arrived from the builder last night, to celebrate Tower B's (unanimous)
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Please... just for ten minutes.' She went into her office and closed the door. She took up the papers on her desk and read. A reply from a German government-run social welfare body; yes, there was funding
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monuments of the city - VT, the Rajabai Tower, the columned façade of the Asiatic Society library. Beer, prawn, curry, butter, oil mingled in the chilled air. The manager waited for Mr Shah to say something.
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want that down, word for word - do you have that? Yes, sir.' 'And please send a waiter for our order.' The builder looked at his nervous guest. 'Now: if anything happens to you, I will go to jail. You are a social worker: the press and the televisi...
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Do you want to fight over small things, Mrs Puri? I know I am the black sheep of this Society. I do things you good people will not do. But now you must listen to the black sheep, or all of us will lose the money.' He whispered, 'Mrs Rego was offere...
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Ajwani winced. 'A man cant put pressure on a woman beyond a certain point. A man cant."So that's why you came here,' Mrs Puri said. T am not going to speak to that Communist woman.'
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The Confidence builder gave me a bribe, Mrs Puri. To accept the offer.' Mrs Puri nodded. 'I know. Ajwani told me."How does Ajwani know?
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Yesterday Mrs Saldanha smiled at me when I walked out of the gate. But she didn't smile when I came back. In those five minutes she must have heard the ticking of the deadline dock.' 1 haven't noticed anything changing,' Masterji said. 'Our neighb...
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1 do not want to take Mr Shah's offer,' he said. 1 have lived in Vishram Society with my friends and I wish to die here with them. As there is nothing more to say, I will see you at dinner.'
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'Masterji, I am not a brilliant human being as you are. I just have one question for you. Why do you want to stay in a building that is about to fall down? He knew, from the absolute nature of the silence, the ceasing of all ambient noise, that the ...
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I have them, too. I have one of this very spot. Do you remember, Masterji, that day eighteen years ago, when I came here and told you what the doctors had told me about Ramu? Purnima was at the door and you put your book down on your teakwood table....
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Thirty years,' Mrs Puri said, Tve come to you for advice. Now I ask you to listen to a foolish, fat woman just this once.
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'Masterji, my two sons are your biggest fans. R and R. I am your third-biggest fan in the world.'
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Mrs Kudwa, bringing along little Mohammad, in his white tae kwon-do outfit, came to see him next. The boy hid his face behind his mother; he had skipped Friday's science tutorial. When she was gone, others followed: Mrs Ganguly from the fifth floor,...
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Tather-in-law, there are questions of... income tax, estate tax. Life insurance. We have to plan. Sooner you say "yes", the better for all of us.' Masterji glared at the chikki as he spoke.
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Physically it has fallen behind but the memories of my late wife...'You mean my mother.'
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'Have you seen the new buildings in Parel, Father-in-law? Leaning back, so that he coi is sold already. NRIs from England. You know how... Kopioitu leikepöydälle spoon, dripping with yoghurt, Sonal smiled. They're duplexes. Not yet built and each
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Gaurav picked up the Radium packet and sniffed. 'Father, this is a cheap thing, not good for the boy.' He let it fall. Masterji got up and went to the balcony. Spotting Ronak playing down in the compound, he clapped. Without turning to his son, he sa...
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In the kitchen Sonal did mathematics. It's 810 square feet, you say, Father-in-law?
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It might be a good idea,' Masterji said. To be close to Ronak.' His son reached for the bar of chikki, broke off a chunk, and began chewing again. Sonal smiled at her husband. 'Of course, if Father-in-law doesn't want to stay with us, he can always...
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Purnima, he prayed, Purnima. His blood sugar was sputtering like the engine of an old autorickshaw. 0, Purnima. Explosions of glucose - comets and supernovae - lit up his private darkness; a bacchanalia had begun in his hyper-metabolizing cells.
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Is it possible, he wondered, that Sonal gave me that pineapple juice precisely to make this happen? She kept insisting.
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Why is it taking him so long to come back? Mrs Puri asked.
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Tm getting worried. Look here../ He smiled at the Secretary.'... why don't you type out our Acceptance form now? Just type a form saying, All Members of Tower A have agreed and signed. As soon as he comes, get him to sign it.
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If asked to decide who made the most incompatible couple in their building, the residents of Vishram would have had a hard time choosing between the Puris and the Kudwas. Before
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It had been an arranged marriage; even in the earliest, happiest days, Mumtaz had noticed odd things about her husband. If Ibrahim was treated like an adult, he acted like a child. Grateful to be included in a group, he would do anything others wante... kindle
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potassium nitrate toothpaste for Ramu's sensitive teeth, for instance - and Ibrahim, incapable of saying no, had forced her to smuggle six tubes out of the dentist's clinic (It's not stealing, it's for a neighbour*).
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Feeling too weak for the evening train, Masterji had hailed a taxi outside Gaurav*s building. Why not? A rich man could travel like a rich man.
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NOTICE Vishram Co-operative Hsg Society Ltd, Vakola, Santa Cruz (E), Mumbai - 400055 Minutes of the extraordinary general meeting of 'A' Building, held on 6 July
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ITEM NO. 1 OF THE AGENDA: All members have agreed, unanimously, to accept the offer made by the Confidence Group. The residents of the Society have agreed unanimously to the dissolution of the Society, and to the demolition of its physical structure....
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The Secretary emerged from his office with a smile. What is this?" Masterji asked, his index finger on the noticeboard. 1 just got back to Vishram. I haven't signed anything yet.'
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Masterji's index finger had not moved. 'Did I agree? when did I agree? I said I was going to speak to my son. That was all.’ The Secretary stopped smiling. It was not my idea, actually. Ajwani’s idea. He forced me to put it up before you came back.....
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Dislodging Masterji's hand from the glass, the Secretary lifted it open. He tore off the notice, one half of which fell to the floor. There, Masterji, are you happy?- He was not. Who gave you the right to say I have agreed? Why do you say IVe sign...
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Masterji took the crumpled form from the floor and straightened it out. He read it again. It is a signature,' he whispered. 'My signature.' 'Mrs Puri...' The Secretary looked up. You are his champion in the building. Talk to him, wont you?'
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A voice boomed: 'Don't blame us, Masterji. We just put that notice up half an hour ago. Why did you take so long to come back?"
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It's true, Masterji,' the Secretary said. If you had come back just half an hour ago...' 1 couldn’t come sooner, because... I wasn't feeling well...' People looked down from various places along the stairwell: Mr Ganguly, Ajwani, Mr Puri, Ibrahim Kudwa,...
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He spoke so all would hear:'... have not said yes, have not said no.'
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1 don't care about that old teacher and his mood swings. Now you tell that Secretary, he won't see one rupee of his sweetener - what did we promise him, an extra one lakh? - unless he earns it. Didn't I tell you from the start, that teacher was goin...
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Mr Shah threw the mobile phone into a corner of the car. He
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He had hoped there would be no fighting this time. With an offer this generous. But t Kopioitu leikepöydälle
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What he wouldn't have built by now if he were in Shanghai - hospitals, airports, thirteen-storey shopping malls! And here, all this trouble, just to get started on a simple luxury housing... The kindle
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The mucus in his chest thickened; his breathing sounded like a feral dog's growling. Shah
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Footsteps came towards Vishram Society. He turned to the gate and said: 'One minute, Masterji. One minute.'
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Masterji closed his eyes for a beat. 'Are you threatening me, Ram Khare?'No, sir. I am informing you that there is a snake in my mind. It is long and black.'
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'And I wanted you to see this black snake too. Every day Mrs Puri or Mrs Saldanha or someone else comes to your door and knocks, and asks: "Have you made up your mind? Will you sign?" And everyday you say: Tm thinking about it." How long can this g...
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Retreating to the mirror in her bedroom, Mrs Puri brushed her long black hair to soothe herself.
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Wiping her mobile phone clean on her forearm, she re-dialled a number. 'Gaurav, it's me again,' she said. Why don't you come here, Gaurav. Speak to him. Bring Ronak. He will change his mind: he is your father. Don't be obstinate like him, Gaurav. Yo...
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What a selfish, greedy old man he has become, Ramu. He wants to take our wooden cupboards away from us. The Evil Eye must have found out about my good luck. This time too.'
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The door opened at last, but Ramu wouldn't get up from the toilet bowl. Breathing as normally as she could, to show that she was not angry with him, that he had not made a stinky mess in the toilet. Mummy washed his behind clean with a mug of
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'He plays with his Rubik's Cube all day long. But does he have a solution? Mrs Kothari, the Secretary's wife, asked. 'He's just a block of darkness.'
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They went silent as Mrs Puri passed. She knew they suspected her of sympathy with Masterji. She took a left at the gate and walked past the slums. Soon she was at the site of the two new Confidence buildings. Under
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'Mrs Puri,' Shanmugham smiled. You are a person of initiative. Just last year, in a redevelopment project in Sion, we encountered a problem like this Masterji of yours. There are many things we can do, and we will try them one by one. But you must t...
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The lift at Vishram Society moved like a coffin on wheels. When a button was pressed, a loud click followed: ropes, levers, and chains went into action. Through the lattice of the metal shutter guarding the open elevator shaft, you could see a dark w...
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Masterji saw the lift pass him before slamming its dark mass into the fourth floor. A latch clicked and the door opened, but he heard no one come out. It was one of those phantom trips that the Otis sometimes took on its own - compensating for weeks ...
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No children yet. He went back to his room, leaving the front door open. It was seven o'clock on a Monday. Time for the first science top-up of the week. The ceiling lights were turned off in anticipation, and the lamp light projected on to the far wa...
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Ten minutes later, Masterji ran down the stairs and found the boys playing cricket in the compound. Mohammad Kudwa was bowling; Anand Ganguly held a bat high. Sunil Rego was fielding at cover point. 'Masterji, don't stand there,' Mohammad called out,...
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'Boycott? Masterji asked, stepping back to avoid the bouncing ball. Is this a new excuse not to come to the top-up?
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'And refusing an offer of 250 per cent the market value of his flat is not madness, Ramu? Some people should not speak of madness, Ramu.' 1 haven't said no. I'm still thinking about Mr Shah's proposal.'
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Still thinking? You've always been happy to share your deep thoughts with us, haven't you, Masterji? Have we ever asked you to be Secretary of this Society? What does that tell you about how we felt about your deep thinking? 1 haven't said no. But...
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Masterji opened the door. His rubbish bin had been overturned. Pieces of rubbish - the banana peel, for example - had been flung far from his doorstep, as if someone had kicked them there. He got down on one knee and began gathering in the errant gar...
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This is the early-morning cat, Ms Meenakshi,' Masterji said, massaging his knee-cap. 'Mrs Puri has not done this.'
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Perhaps because Kudwa, the only Muslim in the building, was considered a fair-minded man by the others - or perhaps because, being the owner of a not-so-busy internet café, he could leave his business in the afternoon - he had been designated a 'neut...
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You say you'll sign, then you go to see your son, and say you won't sign.' T never said yes, Ibrahim.' Masterji wagged his finger. 1 said maybe.'
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'Masterji, when the builder's offer was made, I suffered, because I did not know what to do with the money - I took an Antacid to sleep. Now that there is the possibility of the money I never had being taken away from me -1 need two Antacids to slee...
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He was looking so intently at the dog that he almost missed the handwritten sign that had been stuck with Scotch tape to the wall above it. Some facts about 'a certain person'who has received respect from us for thirty years. But why? Now we find ou...
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When he bent to his sink a few minutes later to wash his face, the water burned his eyes and nose. But a man is what his neighbours say he is.
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But that evening another appeared glued to the lift door, different in handwriting, similar in its complaints ('never taught English to students even though he knew Shakespeare and other big writers who were part of the examinations') - and then ther...
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If, in the early days of the 'boycott, there was an apologetic smile on the Secretary's lips when he evaded Masterji's attempts to make small talk, now there were neither smiles nor apologies. They treat me like they would treat an untouchable in th...
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'... if only Purnima were alive, wouldn't she be ashamed of him?'... his own son. A man who does not care for his own son, what do you...' So this is what they mean by the word: boycott. Even in his bed he felt it, their contempt, like the heat radiating...
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Tinku ran in and shouted: Unde! He's here!' Arjun, the Christianized assistant, had climbed up to the glass lunette above the doorway of the café to fix a loose rivet with a screwdriver. From up there he looked down, monkey-like, on the fat boy who...
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r. i .. mmmm 'May I recommend the view from the terrace, Masterji? It is the best view of the city you have ever seei sweetened view it is of Bombay.' Masterji followed the m... ntee it.' 'Of course Masterji will appreciate the view,'Ajwani giggled. *Such a
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His hands on the balustrade of the terrace, Masterji looked at the towers under construction in the dark. He thought of the shining knife on the desk. Each building
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'Construction,' Shanmugham said, coming close to Masterji. 'Do you know how many cranes there are below us right now? The work continues all night. Dozens of buildings are coming up around us. And when all the work is finished... my God. This part of t...
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blown back at him from this creature's mouth. 'A...
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'And what was that redevelopment project you were telling me about, Ajwani... where the old couple refused to take the offer, and then one day... did they fall down the stairs? Or were they pushed, or... old people should take care. It's a dangerous world....
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In the light of the towers Shanmugham's thoughts seemed to crystallize into giant letters in front of Masterji: This is how I will flatter the old man, and very subtly, bully him. I will show him the kingdoms of the earth and give him a hint of the ...
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a bottle of whisky. Why? Because he loves money more than he loves his wife's blindness.' So he is examining our rubbish, Masterji thought. But a man's rubbish is not the truth about him, is it? You don't know a thing about Mr Pin... Mr Pint... Mr Pint..
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and glared at him: 'Did you
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The old man's left hand slapped at the tray; it slipped in and out of Giri's hands, then crashed to the floor. Shanmugham and Ajwani moved their feet to dodge the rolling pakoras. Giri stared with an open mouth. When the three of them looked up, they...
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*So you just left? They were threatening me,' Masterji said. 'Of course I left.' Ten thousand appointments are missed in this city because of too much traffic, and you missed Mr Shah because of too little traffic. Fate, Masterji/ Mr Pinto said, a...
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1 still don't understand. You and that broker - all you had to do was keep that teacher there till I got back/'He became violent, sir. Ask Giri. He hit the tray and then he ran out/
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The Sahib meant to give you a ten-rupee note. He gives money and then he changes his mind; he'll send someone down to take you to the police/
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1 wonder why God made old age at all/ Mrs Pinto said. Tour eyes are cloudy, your body is weak. The world becomes a ball of fear/
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'Are you the one making the phone calls, Kothari?' Masterji asked. 'Are you the on
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M AAA ••• ••• • «
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then he hears phone calls. And soon hell see men with knives and hockey sticks coming after him/
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He picked it up. 'Old man: old man/ This time it was another voice: lower, gruffer. Masterji was sure he had heard this voice somewhere. 'Act your age, old man. Grow up. Take the money and leave before something bad happens."Who
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'Either someone in the building is calling, or someone in here is giving a signal to the callers. Their timing is too good. I'm sure I recognized one of the voices.' She laughed. 'Mine?
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'No, things have become worse. Tinku Kothari, the Secretary's son - hungry eyes - saw them at the school today. He spoke to the old librarian and got the facts. They were looking up the numbers of Masterji's old students and calling them from the lib...
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That I don’t know. They may bring something back with them. Business card, brochure. It will end up in their rubbish/let's call them right now. You call them. You're so good at it.'
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Three years ago. A tough redevelopment project in Chembur. One old man had refused to sell his flat. Mr Shah said: 'Get him out of there, Shanmugham.' He had hired two boys to smash chairs to pieces outside his window. No implements. The old man star...
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Tell me. Please. What have you done? Broken a leg? He dropped his voice. 'Killed a man? Shanmugham looked at the black knife. 'Just a year ago. A project in Sion. One old man kept saying no, no. We kept offering money, and it was always no, no. Bo...
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The old man signed on the spot. I was scared, I tell you that. I thought I might go to jail. But... the truth is, even if they say no, deep down' - he pointed the knife at Ajwani - They want money. Once you make them sign, they're grateful to you. Ne...
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'But tell me.' He tapped the Tamilian's forearm. There must be girls in your business. Pretty girls.
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The broker got up from the cot. 'Lets finish this phone call business now."Not from your phone— threw it to the broker. 'Old man/Ajwani said into ...
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'Shanmugham produced a small red mobile phone. This one has a SIM card that they cant trace.' He kindle
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Illustrated History of Science
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If things became really bad they would have to make him pee or shit on the road, like some street urchin. But he had to come along: that was the sacrifice she was going to make to Lord Ganesha.
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'Ramu, Ramu,' she said, shaking her son awake. It's only an other hour from here. Get up.'
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When they had gone to America in 1989, Mr Pinto had acquired, on the black market, a small stash of US dollars from a man in Nariman Point. The government in
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If it is a gift, we can only send out 10,000 dollars per annum. But if it is investment,
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Just tell me how many square feet this place is, woman. Let me worry about things.' '812 square feet,' she said. We had it measured once.'
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Don't fight with anyone today, Mr Pinto/ she said, let's be quiet and stay out of trouble.'
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Dut Masterji said not to leave the building till he came back with a lawyer.'
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they were probably paying the same rent they were in 1950, and he was retaliating by refusing to provide even the basics - light, safety, hygiene. You could almost hear him praying every night to God: make my tenants fall down the stairs, break their...
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Tou are here to see...' he asked, taking out the pencil. 1 am a man in need of legal help. A connection of mine told me about Mr Parekh.'
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Putting down his mobile phone, he sipped the last of his tea, turned to one side to spit, and said: 'State the problem in your own words.'
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'A slum rat.' He smiled at Masterji. You've come to the right place, sir. You're looking at a man who deals with a baker's dozen of slum rats every single day. But first, we must know, what is your position in the eyes of the law. And the law has ve...
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'A teacher? Mr Parekh's jaw dropped. He blew into his hand-kerchief. It is against Hindu Dharma to threaten a teacher. I have studied Western law and Indian Dharma alike.
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had brought the document in a manila folder, and produced it now. It is in your wife's name.'ln her will I am named as the inheritor.'Tt should have been transferred to your name. We can manage. As long as you have her will in your secure posses...
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His certificate - his claim to a piece of Vishram Society - was being multiplied. His ca* office with the original certificate and three Kopioitu leikepöydälle The thumps and footfalls repeated in reverse - the young man re-entered the
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There is also another petitioner in the matter,' he said. 'Mr Pinto. My neighbour.'The senior Parekh spoke first. 'Excellent. That doubles the sovereignty in the matter. Now, as per Mofa Act—'A
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'As per Mofa Act, 1963...'The old lawyer paused; breathed.'... and also the MCSA Act 1960, which is to say, Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act 1960, you are the sole sovereign authority of said flat. Now the Society cannot force you to sell said fl...
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Masterji nodded. 1 cannot pay you. It is a case you must take in the public interest. The security of senior citizens in this city is at stake.' 1 understand, I understand,' Parekh said. He swiped his hand through the air, like
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Eventually there will be a settlement,' Parekh corrected him. 'How long do you and your Mr Pinto plan on resisting this slum rat?'For ever.'
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With a papaya wrapped in newspaper under his arm, Masterji returned to Vishram So and the guard. Kopioitu leikepöydälle gate were Ajwani, the Secretary, Mr Ganguly from the fifth floor, Ibrahim Kudwa,
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Ajwani removed his hand from the latch. As Masterji walked in, the guard said: 1 told you, Masterji, that this would happen. God has seen that I have done my duty.'
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When she saw Masterji, she let out a sharp cry: 'Here comes the madman!'
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to hurt... my wife - at her age - old enough to be his grandmother. He... said he was going to come with a knife next time... he... and then I got frightened and fell into the gutter.' *Who told you this? Masterji knelt to be at eye level with his oldest fr...
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whimpering, and I went outside, and got down into the gutter to save the puppy. Then this boy, he had a gold chain on his neck, eighteen-nineteen years old, and a hockey stick with him, he stood over me and said, are you the man from Vishram who want...
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Masterji stood up. 'Don't worry, Mr Pinto. I'll go to the police at once. I'll tell them to arrest Mr Shah. I
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Tm going to the police station, with or without you,' he said. This builder thinks he can frighten me? In my own home? Mrs Puri got up.
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The police? You want to make things even worse? She put a finger on Masterji's chest and pressed. Why dont we take you to the police? From another side, another finger poked him: Ajwani. You
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Mrs Puri said: 'A man who fights with his own son - and such a lovely son at that - what kind of a man is he?
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Ibrahim Kudwa stood behind her: “Sign Mr Shah's agreement now, Masterji. Sign it now."I will not be made to change my mind like this,' Masterji said. *So shut up, Ibrahim.' Kudwa tried to respond, then sagged, and stepped back. Moving
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He barricaded the door with the teakwood table. When he went to the window, he
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So I'm the last man in the building now, he thought. He
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'How can they threaten good people in daylight? When did things change so much in this city, Mr Parekh?'
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He had been too scared to protect Purnima from her brothers: he would not be scared this time. 'Go away,' he said. Slithering down his legs, the black snake left.
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tolerated. I have been to the police station and received every assurance from the Senior Inspector that this is not a
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Vishram Society Tower A is my home, and it Will not be sold Will not be leased or rented Will not be redeveloped Signed (And this is the real signature of the man) Yogesh Murthy.
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Did Masterji have breakfast, Mr Pinto? He must be hungry/'A man won't die if he eats less for a few days, Shelley. When he gets hungry he'll come back/1 don't think so. He is such a proud man.'
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Hell have to apologize, and pay my hundred rupees back, before he can eat at my dinner table again."Oh, Mr Pinto, really... not you, too. They abuse him so much in parliament these days.'
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stood by the window, and sent down aerial roots to suck up slander and abuse. That must be his new diet, Mr Pinto thought. He is chewing their thorns for lunch and nails for supper. From mockery he is making his protein.
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'My wife says I have a high ratio of nerves to flesh,' Kudwa said, as he handed Mariam over to Mrs Puri. 1 should never be asked to make decisions.'
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'A simple thing, this is/Ajwani said. In extreme cases, a Housing Society may expel a member and purchase his share certificate in the Society. It's perfectly legal.'Ibrahim Kudwa's arms were free: yet he would not touch the piece of paper lying...
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download. And if the police come here, who will they arrest for pornography? Not him.'
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You have seen how a cow turns its eyes to the side when it shits, and pretends not to know what it's doing? Masterji knows exactly what he's doing to us, and he's enjoying it. Repressed, depressed, and dangerous: that's your beloved Masterji in a nu...
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1. Has persistently failed in payment of his dues to the Society 2. Has wilfully deceived his Society by giving false information 3. Has used his flat for immoral purposes or misused it for illegal purposes habitually 4. Has been in habit of committi...
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his upbringing had done to him. Instead of a man's soul, he had developed a cockroach's antennae inside him. What did this man think of the way he dressed? What did that man think of his politics? The way he pronounced English? Wherever he went, the ...
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Black, fibrous, stinking, that swampy gutter was the worst thing he had ever seen in his life. But he knew his neighbours wanted him to get that ball; pressed down by their expectations, he had dipped his hands into the muck, up to the elbow, to find...
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The lawyer cleared his throat. 'Point two. Under Essential Commodities Act 1955, cutting off waterqr electricity without court order is a criminal offence.
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At the start of summer, there had been talk of power cuts in Mumbai, and in anticipation, he had bought candles. One of them sat burning on the teakwood table. The wax dripped; the blackened wick was exposed. He thought of Purnima's body blackening o...
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a barber's shop caught his eye. Famous Hair Cutting Palace. This was the landmark near the office.
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But me, I have to do what the boss says. He throws the stick, I have to catch.
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Masterji stopped on his way up to his lawyer's office to kick the pain out of his left leg. He looked at the restless silhouette of the bird. He thought: Where did the rains go?
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another set of cards placed on the ground, if they maintained a No-Argument book here. PAREKH AND SONS ADVOCATE 'LEGAL HAWK WITH SOUL & CONSCIENCE' The courtesy in the lawyer's office was much improved this time.
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Vakola market - of being mistaken for a millionaire. Sipping the ice-cold water, he considered the mystery of his situation, when the peon said: You can go in to see Mr Parekh, sir.' Head down, Parekh was on his mobile phone, the three silver strand...
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from him, squinted, and threw it back at him. This is not the right good news. Not relevant to Masterji's case.'The assistant left; Masterji waited; feet moved across the ceiling.
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But you have stayed true. You have proved yourself sovereign of your plot of earth.' Masterji nodded. 'Men of our generation, we have seen much trouble. Wars, emergencies, elections. We can survive.' True,' Parekh said. 'Men of a certain generation,...
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Masterji smiled. What is the good news? Still flipping through the pages of the document, Parekh said: 'A settlement. It will be a famous settlement. Shah versus Murthy."But who has given me this settlement? Mr Parekh turned to his assistant or...
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'Oh, Masterji,' he said. The builder, of course. And in fact - between us, Masterji - we have fooled Mr Shah.' He wiped his lips. 'Because you had a weak case to begin with. We can say it openly now.' 'A weak case? 'Of course.' Masterji turned from...
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Very true. In this city, MHADA is always there. Somewhere in background. Sometimes in foreground. We must not forget that the government is about to repeal ULCRA any day. Urban Land Ceiling Regulation Act? All this we have to think before we bring u...
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1 don't want a better settlement.' Well get you the best settlement.' 1 want no settlement. I will find another lawyer.' 'Now, Masterji.' Mr Parekh leaned in to him. The others will ask for a retainer and waste your time and tell you the same. F...
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other day. In broad daylight. Didn't you see it in the papers? Old men must stick together in this new world.' You are threatening me now? Masterji asked. 'My own lawyer? Mr Parekh sneezed into a handkerchief, and then said, 1 am threatening you,...
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Past the guards and their blind deity he walked, down the old stairs - past the pigeon, thrashing behind the blind lunette. Purnima, he prayed, swoop down and lift me from the land of the living. His wife answered him, as he ran out of the Loyola Tru...
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'Hire another lawyer,' Gaurav said, when his father, calling him from the pay telepho listen. 'No,' he told Gaurav. It wont work. The I...
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I have done good to others. I was a teacher for thirty-four years. The cow lifted her tail. Shit piled on the road. When they saw Masterji talking to the cow and telling her his woes, those who had been born in the city perhaps thought that he was a ... There are thousands in the city.' Masterji found his son's voice changed, ready to
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Now everyone believed India was going to be a rich country. He had known it ten years ago. Had planned for the future. Skip out of slum redevelopment. Start building glossy skyscrapers, shopping malls, maybe one day an entire
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And that meant there was only one thing to do with this old man. Only one thing could make the Shanghai happen.
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below him. They were speaking to the Pintos. He heard voices rising, and then Mr Pinto saying, 'All right. All right. But leave us alone then.' A few minutes later, the doorbell rang. When he opened the door, a small thin woman stood outside with a r...
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yellow Post-it note on its cover. All debts settled and
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She smiled. *But you don't worry, Masterji. God will protect us. They're trying to throw me out of my home too. I live by the nullah.'
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When is the boss going to give me an answer? the left-hand man asked. If we're going to break that old teacher's arms and legs, we have to do it now.'
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India office. Half expecting to find Shanmugham behind him, he kept glancing over his shoulder, and for this reason missed it until it was right in front of him.
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IMPATIENCE IS NOW A VIRTUE HIGH-SPEED BROADBAND INTERNET 512 KBPS <» 390 RUPEES A MONTH ONWARDS Turning it over, he doodled on the back with a blue ballpoint pen, and superimposed words on the doodles: Police Media
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Why not? One retired man fights a big builder. "Last Man in Tower Fights Builder." That sounds like a story to me.' Gaurav shrugged; he ate his ice cream. Masterji stared at his son, his mouth open. Did your connection really speak to Noronha? Do y...
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father, what is it you want from the Confidence Group? Masterji had never seen Gaurav sound and look so decisive. He felt the strength draining from him. 'Nothing.' The boy raised his upper lip in a sneer. Purnima used to do that. You're lying, Fa...
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1 am thinking of Ronak. This man Mr Shah threatened the Pintos. In daylight. Would you want Ronak to grow up in a city where he can be bullied or threatened in daylight? Gaurav: listen. Dhirubhai Ambani said he would salaam anyone to become the rich...
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'Maybe Sandhya would not have had to take the train if you had made more money. Maybe she would have been in a taxi, safe, that day she was pushed out. She was my sister, I think of her too.' *Son. Son.' Masterji pressed down on the piece of paper he...
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Tvery other parent in Vishram Society has thought of their children. But not you. It's always been this way. When I was in your physics class in school you punished me more than the others.'! had to show the other boys there was no favouritism.' '...
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posters near the construction sites? 'Your own swimming pool, gym, TV, wedding hall, air-conditioning." When you sell dreams like that you can murder anyone you want. The deadline is just a few days away. Keep saying no to Mr Shah and well find you ...
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Sticking its tongue out it said: I have students in high places. He turned his eyes away. Another gargoyle grinned: I claim no credit for Noronha. And a third smirked: A teacher is not without his connections.
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crystallization of some hard truth in the newsprint. Masterji stopped to watch the newspapers. They shot an elected member of the city corporation dead. It was in the papers. He remembered that Bhendi bazaar, one of the recruiting grounds of the mafi...
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Wasn't Gaurav right - wasn't it just pride that kept him from running to Mr Shah and saying: 1 accept your offer. Now leave me alone!' D-arvA OH 1 Klnfn
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Masterji's blood. Until now he had only been conscious of fighting against someone: that builder. Now he sensed he was fighting for someone. In the dark dirty valley under the concrete overpass half-naked labourers pushed and slogged, with such littl...
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But for now their common duty was to fight. He heard the tuba again: the marching band, as if it had lost its way, had doubled back on its steps, and was heading again towards Victoria Terminus, greeting the hordes of new migrants with its blasts. Ma...
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1 know what you're thinking about, Mr Confidence.' What? 'Money. The only thing on your mind.' Her fingers moved into his pocket. Your phone is ringing, Unde.'
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That's my Shanghai, Rosie. Gothic style, Rajput touch, Art Deco fountain. My life's story in one building. Why does that old teacher keep saying no to it? In China, you know what they would have done to a man like him by now?
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Teachers are the worst kind of people, Rosie. All that time they spend beating children, it makes them cruel. Twisted on the inside.'
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'Come here,' he said, though the girl was already beside him. 'Come here.' He kissed her on the neck. It was first time he had done something like this in the car; Parvez, his driver, pretended not to notice. Shah did what he had not done for days. H...
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Tve made up my mind,' he said when the phone was answered. His fingers pressed up and down Rosie's arm; he heard his left-hand man's voice quiver with excitement. Tve got the man from Andheri, Boss. He's the one who helped me deliver the Sion pro...
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A pause. Then the voice on the phone said: 'Boss: are you sure? We're paying them? Why? 'Shanmugham,' Shah said, 1 found you in a slum in Chembur. Correct?
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Ms Meenakshi sipped her tea. You're all alone here, Masterji. Do you really understand this? A man with a gun could come to your door and shoot you. Its been done before.'
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There are more parties involved in this dispute than just Mr Shah, my neighbours, and me. Millions are involved. Even after you leave Vishram, you will still be involved.'
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A tabloid. My boyfriend works for the Sun, Masterji - the one you...' She smiled. 1 told him what is happening here, and he said at once: "It's a story!" He'll interview you. The paper will run your photo. Youll become famous. People will follow you ...
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Ms Meenakshi realized that this was a sign for her to leave.
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Well, Ram Khare, what is happening at Vishram Society these days? Has it been hockey sticks or knives recently?
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Having received their second instalment of money from the Confidence Group (paid by Mr Shah, in a surprise move, ahead of schedule), the families of Tower B were leaving for their new homes, one by one.
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WeVe got two-thirds of the money now - all those zeroes in our bank statements, Sangeeta. Everyone has run out and put down a deposit on a brand-new place. No one wants to stay in Vishram Society one day longer than they have to.'
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Ibrahim Kudwa put both hands in his beard and scratched. It is very strange, Mrs Puri. Paying people ahead of schedule. There is some kind of plan here.' Plan, Ibby? What kind of plan can the builder have?
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Over Italian coffee and cakes, Mr Shah would offer her a little sweetener. For the work she had done with Mrs Rego. And a little more, if she could persuade Masterji.
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When I came to Mumbai I had not even the shoes on my feet. I was a beggar like you. No, I don't wish hardship on you or your neighbours. But principles are principles. I gave you my word when I came to your Society that I would not extend the deadlin...
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To: the Residents of Vishram Society Tower A I, GAURAV MURTHY, SON OF Y. A. MURTHY, AM PUTTING THIS NOTICE UP TO SAY I HAVE NO FATHER. I am shamed by the actions of the present occupant of flat 3A,
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Ajwani saw four young men in polyester shirts gaping at the foreigner. They had been chatting and cackling a moment ago, commenting on every passing car and young girl. Now they watched in silence. He understood.
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The Confidence Group is being mocked in public. If I were in your position...'Ajwani cracked his knuckles.'... I kept hoping something would have happened by now to Masterji. Not a thing. Even the phone calls have stopped. What is wrong with your boss...
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Ajwani did not. So Shanmugham, as the breeze blew in from the ocean, told the story of how Mr Shah came to Bombay on bare feet. Ajwani closed one eye and looked towards Malabar Hill. *So that's how men become rich. It's a good story. Have you paid at...
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Before midnight on 3 October. Don't call me after this.'Ajwani cursed. Crushing the newspaper, he threw it at the tetrapods; the startled scavenger looked up.
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*We are proud you're not letting that builder push you around, sir. He must give you good money if he wants you to leave.' 'But I don't want the money, boys. 111 explain again. India is a republic. If a man wants to stay in his home, then it is his...
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paper. She turned to the article with the photograph of Vishram Society. OLD MAN IN TOWER SAYS NO TO BUILDER Masterji skimmed:... only one man, Yogesh Murthy, retired teacher at the nearby school, has resisted the generous offer of the reputable... 'it ...
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According to one of Mr Murth/s former students, who did not wish to be named, 'He had no patience and he was always ready to punish. We used to call him names behind his back. To say that we remember him fondly would be the biggest...'
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let him smell what we think of him, Mr Kothari. That's what we women decided."... Krishna...'It's Ramu's shit - that's all.
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Masterji talked to the
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Sanjiv Puri saw what was on Masterji's door; he understood. What have you done, Sangeeta?' He looked at his wife. What have you done to my name, to my reputation? You have betrayed your own son."Mr and Mrs Puri,'the Secretary whispered. 'Please....
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Masterji stopped scrubbing. If you shout, Sangeeta, you will wake Ramu. No one did this thing. Sometimes plaster falls from the ceiling, because it is an old building. I say the same thing has happened here. Now all of you go to sleep.' The
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The Secretary got down on his knees and offered to help with the scrubbing, but Masterji said: I'll do it.' He closed his eyes and remembered the light from behind the buildings at Crawford Market. Those labourers pulling carts under the JJ flyover...
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The response to the story about him - the one her boyfriend had written - had been fantastic!'Would Masterji consider a follow-up? Would he keep a blog? Not a blong, a blog.
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Another truck had stopped in front of Tower B; beds and tables had been brought down from the building and were being loaded on to it. The last residents were leaving. The remaining children of Tower B were playing cricket by the truck with the child...
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This simple thing... will it hurt Masterji?"I don't know, Mrs Pinto, what the "simple thing" is any more than you do. It's Ajwani's idea. He has connections in the slums. They just want me to give him the duplicate key to
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Mrs Pinto sucked in the dark air of the stairwell. Will Mr Shah really not extend the deadline? The Secretary exhaled. 'Every time I hear a car or an autorickshaw, the tea spills from my teacup. It could be that Shanmugham fellow, coming to say. So...
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'My father was the greatest man I ever knew. If he had stayed in Africa, he would have become a millionaire. A prince. But the foreigners didn't want him to succeed. Isn't that always the story of
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In the lowest drawer of his desk, the Secretary of Vishram Society keeps a box of the spare keys to all the units in the building. To be loaned to the rightful owner in case of emergency: no key to leave the box for more than twenty-four hours.
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look here, Ajwani, if you're getting anything extra for this from Shah - and I know you are -1 want half of it. I did all the work today.' Coming close to Ajwani's ear, he whispered: 1 want a large glass panel in my living room in Sewri. For a ful...
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the Secretary knocked on the door.
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Wear it at night. Do you understand?* 'No.' Try. It is a simple thing, Mr Pinto.' She heaii mother flight of stairs, and then his voice saying: 'Double-lock your door tonight. Mrs Rego.' |
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In the dark Kothari walked over the carpet in his living room. Holding his comb-over in place, he lowered himself on to the sofa. No one should point a finger at him. Ajwani had arranged for the 'simple thing'. Yet he wanted to scream for help, or ru...
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A little after two o'clock, the Pintos heard Masterji's door open again. It was like the way you hear someone making love in another home, their bed creaking and their sighing, and you're trying hard to shut it out of your ears. They wanted not to he...
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Then there was a muffled wrestling - and then there was the sound of swatting, as if someone was hitting at a rat running around the room. Then - piercing the night - not a human cry, but the howling of an animal.
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He had grabbed the blue Illustrated History of Science at once - had some secret part of him been waiting for this, rehearsing this moment? - and rushed out of his bedroom; before they had even seen him he had hit the first one on the head with the b...
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just to survive, realizing they had been sent to bully and threaten not a helpless old man, as they had been told, but a live ogre. They ran into the compound and leapt over the gate.
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He let the water run into a pot; he turned on the gas, and brought water to a boil. He would pour it on their heads when they came back. On his knees, he examined the gas cylinder. Perhaps he could explode it in their faces?
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The vibrating green cushions and the green-painted walls of the carriage were luminous around them. 'Calm down, Masterji,' the radiant men in the white shirts said, Tor we are all with you.' He understood now that he had not struck the two boys down...
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thick and close; he felt hands come into his hand; and every murmur, every whisper, every jarring of the train said: You were never born and you will never die: you cannot hurt and cannot be hurt: you are invincible, immortal, indestructible.
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They had a spare key. Who gave them this spare key?* Mr Pinto turned and gestured to the table. 'Come have breakfast with us. It's the three-egg omelette. Your favourite. Nina - one more omelette, at once. Come, Masterji, sit at the table.'
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Did you know what was going to happen last night?* Masterji asked. 'Did the Secretary tell everyone to keep quiet when I screamed? That was something else I didn't think about until this morning. No one came to help me.' Mr Pinto gestured helplessly... kindle
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We wanted to save you, Masterji,' she said in her rasping voice. They told us if we kept quiet we would save you.' 'Shelley, shut up. Go back to the table. We didn't know anything, Masterji. We thank God that you are safe. Come
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He waited for half an hour. Then he got up and reached for the No-Argument book, still wrapped in a blue rubber band, lying on top of The Soul's Passageway after Death in the bookshelf. He undid the rubber band. He tore the pages out of the No-Argume...
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command, came out of Tower B and flew back. And not just you. Pigeon, crow, hummingbird; spider, scorpion, silverfish, termite and red ant; bats, bees, stinging wasps, clouds of anopheles mosquitoes.
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The broker slapped Dharmendar on the head. The simplest of jobs.'A second slap. 'All you had to do was scare an old man. A 61-year-old man.'Ajwani's forehead bulged and his scalp retracted. The tendons in his neck became taut. His spit came out in...
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The broker scowled. 'And now you're playing cricket/'Forgive us, Unde,' Kumar said. We're no good for work like this.'
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A plane with the red-and-white Air India colours rose into the sky. Below its roar, Ajwani cursed and spat into the grass. 'How many boys wait for a call like this? A chance to make some
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At three o'clock, when Mani came back to the inner room, he was still lying on the cot, looking at the ceiling. The way he dealt with those two useless boys, Mani. There's guts in a 61-year-old doing that. Even in an enemy I admire courage.'
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Kothari's voice was relaxed. You have nothing to worry about. He hasn't gone to the police."He isn't going to file a complaint against us?"No.'
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Decause,' the voice on the phone dropped to a whisper, 'he knows he's the guilty one. Not going to the police, what does it mean? Full confession. He accepts
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'But this means...'
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Do you know everyone in Tower B got their final instalment last week? 'So quickly? 'Ahead of schedule, once again. Ritika phoned. This man, this Mr Shah - he does keep his word.'
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He's not making a statement. He's mad.'The American winced.
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Kopioitu leikepöydälle
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Mrs Puri looked at Ramu. The boy was playing with Mrs Rego's children. 'No statement is happening here,' she whispered. 'Just madness.'
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year ritual, Trivedi.' The Page 359 -
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Tell him, everyone in Vakola knows that he is under so much mental stress. I am frightened to do anything in his place. Who knows what might happen to me in there?* 'Mental stress?*
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'Masterji: you are losing weight, your clothes are not clean, you
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What about those who smeared excrement on my door? What about those who are paying thugs to attack me? Those who call themselves my neighbours. If I am under stress, what are they under? 'Masterji, Masterji.'Trivedi turned again to the barber for
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I should have told my story better, Masterji thought, on his way back to Vishram Society. Ajwani and the others have convinced them I am losing my mind.
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Hospital, says he had shown classic symptoms of mental deterioration. 'Paranoia, passive-aggressive developments, and even schizophrenia cannot be ruled out given the subjects behaviour in his final days,' he suggests.
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The builder? Nagarkar knew that Shah was a smart man: too smart to become
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Sir: in the matter of the murder at Vishram Society. I have been thinking about it for some time. It is not a suicide. In Vakola they say either Shah did it, or the neighbours did it. And you didn't do it, since I didn't do it. So the neighbours did...
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Leave Mumbai with Rosie, find a city with clean air, have another son, a better one - you still have time, you still have... Shah took a deep breath and closed his eyes.... He saw the hawks again: circling with drawn claws, as they had been that sunlit...
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Where is Mrs Puri these days, Ibrahim? Any idea?"Goregaon. Gokuldam. In that new tower there. Nice place, new woodwork. TheyVe hired a full-time nurse for the boy.' That's the future. Goregaon. So much empty space.' Kudwa shook his head. 'Betwee...
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•Speech? Why does there always have to be a speech, Mrs Rego? We have to make a speech about Masterji. Do you think his son is going to remember him? We have to do it. In fact, you are going to start, Timothy.'The other boys gathered
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The late Mr Yogesh Murthy/ Mrs Rego corrected.'... late Mr Yogesh Murthy, was my neighbour, but I don't have much information about his life. He was born I think in the south and came here I think after his marriage. Wherever he came from, he came,...
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Doys: I would like to say hip-hip-hooray for Mr Ajwani - for his fine speech. Now I want everyone to clap for him. Will you clap, boys?"Hip-hip-hooray! Aj-waaa-ni!"Boys, I have a few more words for you.'Dont you always? - laughter. The semi-...
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worth? We will always have the ocean and that is why we live in the true capital of this country. All we need are a few more good men like Masterji and this island, this Mumbai of ours, it will be paradise on earth.
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we need are a few more good men like Masterji and this island, this Mumbai of ours, it will be paradise on earth. As it used to be, when I was a girl in Bandra. When I see you boys sitting here before me, I know that there are future Masterjis among...
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gentlemen of the cricket team, so as not to keep this speech going on any longer, let us all stand up, and put our hands together, and give a hip-hip-hooray in memory of our late Masterji, whom we promise to remember and honour."Hip-hip-hooray!' th...
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and with each root-tip that had beaten the barbed wire the old banyan said: Nothing can stop a living thing that wants to be free.
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Sanasto Vocabulary Словарь (Code: w)

1 gulmohar tree (64)
2 pittance: pit·tance n (113)
[usu. in sing.] a very small or inadequate amount of money paid to someone as an allowance or wage. Middle English: from Old French pitance, from medieval Latin pitantia, from Latin pietas 'pity'.
3 brinjal (113)
4 muck: muck n (118)
dirt, rubbish, or waste matter: I'll just clean the muck off the windshield. - farmyard manure, widely used as fertilizer. - INFORMAL something regarded as worthless, sordid, or corrupt: the muck that passes for music in the pop charts.
5 equinox (123)
6 nullah: nul·lah n (142)
INDIAN a dry riverbed or ravine. late 18th cent.: from Hindi .
7 cyst: cyst n (150)
[BIOLOGY] in an animal or plant, a thin-walled, hollow organ or cavity containing a liquid secretion; a sac, vesicle, or bladder. - [MEDICINE] in the body, a membranous sac or cavity of abnormal character containing fluid. - a tough protective capsule enclosing the larva of a parasitic worm or the resting stage of an organism. early 18th cent.: from late Latin cystis, from Greek kustis 'bladder'.
8 whorl: whorl n (156)
a coil or ring, in particular: - [ZOOLOGY] each of the turns or convolutions in the shell of a gastropod or ammonoid mollusk. - [BOTANY] a set of leaves, flowers, or branches springing from the stem at the same level and encircling it. - [BOTANY] (in a flower) each of the sets of organs, esp. the petals and sepals, arranged concentrically around the receptacle. - a complete circle in a fingerprint. - CHIEFLY HISTORICAL a small wheel or pulley in a spinning wheel, spinning machine, or spindle. ¦ v. [intrans.] POETIC/LITERARY spiral or move in a twisted and convoluted fashion: the dances are kinetic kaleidoscopes where steps whorl into wildness. whorled adj. late Middle English (denoting a small flywheel): apparently a variant of WHIRL, influenced by Old English wharve 'whorl of a spindle'.
9 wicket: wick·et n (188)
1 (also wick·et door or wick·et gate) a small door or gate, esp. one beside or in a larger one. - an opening in a door or wall, often fitted with glass or a grille and used for selling tickets or a similar purpose. - one of the wire hoops on a croquet course. 2 [CRICKET] each of the sets of three stumps with two bails across the top at either end of the pitch, defended by a batsman. - the prepared strip of ground between these two sets of stumps. - the dismissal of a batsman; each of ten dismissals regarded as marking a division of a side's innings: Darlington won by four wickets. ? a sticky wicket [CRICKET] a pitch that has been drying after rain and is difficult to bat on. - [in sing.] INFORMAL a tricky or awkward situation: the problem of who sits where can create a sticky wicket. ? take a wicket [CRICKET] (of a bowler or a fielding side) dismiss a batsman. Middle English (in the sense 'small door or grille'): from Anglo-Norman French and Old Northern French wiket; origin uncertain, usually referred to the Germanic root of Old Norse víkja 'to turn, move'. Cricket senses date from the late 17th cent.
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Aravind Adiga: Last man in tower
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20120805-20121021, 578 pages, 5* SalesInfo

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