Tag Archives: literature

The Sultan's Battery by Aravind Adiga

The Man Booker Prize winner Adiga’s Short story appeared in Guardian 

The Sultan’s Battery, which appears on the way towards Salt Market Village, is one of the prime tourist attractions of Kittur.

He walked fast towards the white dome of the Dargah, a fold-up wooden stool under one arm, and in the other a red bag with his album of photographs and seven bottles full of white pills. When he got to the Dargah, he walked along the wall, without paying any attention to the long line of beggars along the wall: the lepers who were sitting on rags, the men with mutilated arms and legs, the men in wheelchairs and the men with bandages covering their eyes, and the one creature, with little brown stubs like a seal’s flippers where he should have had arms, a normal left leg, and a soft brown stump where he should have had a second leg, who lay on his left side, twitching his hip continuously, like an animal getting galvanic shocks, and intoning, with blank, mesmerised eyes: "Al-lah! Al-laaaah! Al-lah! Al-laaah!"

He walked past this sorrowful parade of humanity, and went behind the Dargah.

Now he went between the vendors squatting on the ground in a long line that extended for half a mile. He passed rows of baby shoes, bras, T-shirts bearing the logo "New York Fucking City", fake Ray-Ban sunglasses, fake Nike shoes and fake Adidas shoes, and piles of Urdu and Malayalam magazines. He spotted an opening in between a counterfeit shoe-seller and a counterfeit bra-vendor, and unfolded his stool there, and put a glossy black sheet of paper with gold lettering on the stool.

The golden words read:

RATNAKARA SHETTY, SPECIAL INVITEE, FOURTH PAN-ASIAN CONFERENCE ON SEXOLOGY, HOTEL NEW HILLTOP PALACE, NEW DELHI

APRIL 12-14 1987

The young men who had come to pray at the Dargah, or to eat lamb kebabs in one of the Muslim restaurants, or simply to watch the sea, began making a semicircle around Ratna, watching, as he put down on the stool a mauve photo album, and the seven bottles of white pills. With grave ceremony, he then rearranged the bottles, as if their position had to be exactly right for his work to begin. In truth, he was waiting for more onlookers.

They came. Standing in pairs or alone, the crowd of young men had now taken on the look of a human Stonehenge; some with their hands folded on a friend’s shoulder; some standing alone; and a few crouched by the ground, like fallen boulders.

All at once, Ratna began to talk. Young men came quicker, and the crowd became so thick that it was two-or three-persons deep at each point; and those at the back had to stand on their toes to get a partial glimpse of the sexologist.

He opened the album, and let the young men see the photos in plastic folders inside. The onlookers gasped.

To read more click here …The Sultan’s Battery by Aravind Adiga | Books | The Guardian

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If you can dream

 

 If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

                                               —-Rudyard Kipling

Source : If