A Bus To Triplicane

Just released a new short story on my Channillo series The Gulmohur Tales. Excerpt below.

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Madras, India

July 1996

John Perry sucked thirstily on his straw, tilting the coconut into just the right angles to get the straw into every last pocket of sweet water.


Using his free hand, he wiped the sweat from his brow and grinned to see his second handkerchief surrender to complete saturation. The first one still clung to the back of his neck and began to feel like a part of him. He handed the coconut back to the vendor with a nod and a sincere “Thank you”.

The man smiled back as he lopped off the cap surrounding the mouth of the coconut and and cleaved the shell open with a single perfectly aimed strike of his machete. He handed the open halves back to John, and gestured to him to use the fibrous cap to spoon the tender white fruit out with.

John responded excitedly, transporting chunks of the sweet kernel into his mouth.

“Good?” Asif enquired as he handed the vendor his own spent coconut and waved down the offer to cut it open.

“Mmm hmm,” John responded without interrupting his snack, his face contorted in a show of pleasure that needed no explanation.

It was John’s last day in Madras. Asif had played the role of tour guide extremely well. A chauffeur by profession, he was on  loan to John from a friend. Asif’s mandate had been simple. He was to show John a side of the city that only the locals saw. That was exactly what he’d done.
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