A Forgotten Tale
MEET THE CHARACTERS: 2016
‘Now at thirty-two, Shiv Sahai had a preoccupied air about him. The thoughtful dark eyes gave in to amused friendliness when he relaxed his guard. He was a man with precise features and a thick mane of soft black hair always neatly in place. The overall impression was that of extreme tidiness and order – right from his well-ironed formal clothes to his shiny shoes.
Disorder irritated Shiv. His papers were always carefully ordered. So was his room. His mother used to be proud during his boyhood. But nowadays, she was irritated when he was home, cribbing about things which were out of place. Katie, his former girlfriend, a Psychology Major, saw Shiv’s fastidiousness as a symptom of the stress common among first generation immigrants. Shiv was pursuing his doctorate in Art History in Singapore when he had met Katie. She was drawn by his looks and scholarly air. But Katie felt that Shiv needed to loosen up. They parted with little heartbreak on either side when Katie went to the U.S to pursue her PhD and Shiv joined a research project at the University of Delhi.’
‘Shiv glanced around the air-conditioned room. According to the seminar details, the paper ‘Intimate Encounters: Everyday Colonial Interactions and Literary Returns’ by Dr. Ruth Aiken from London, was a result of the speaker’s research on the Anglo-Indian interactions in early colonial literature.
Ruth Aiken began her talk, pushing up the wiry rectangular glasses that threatened to fall off her nose.
Behind the glasses, the brown eyes lifted from the paper regularly to meet those of the audience. Her features were clear-cut and the dark brown hair was wound into a neat bun at her nape. According to the brochure, Dr. Aiken had particular interests in the field of nineteenth-century colonial studies and women’s travelogues. Shiv wondered if she would have heard about Navgarh and if he could talk to her about it.’
Excerpts from 1857 Dust of Ages: A Forgotten Tale
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