Dust and yellow mustard fields. Single file coconut trees lining the muddy edges of rice paddies. Green shoots of rice in watery mud. The grainy edges of the Indian sun. Barefoot men bent under baskets full of sugar cane, walking single file. Heat beating down in wobbled yellow lines. And dust.
On a long ride, scenery through the window of a car repeats and reverses itself: India came in flips and flashes, as the big, black car streamed across West Bengal, from Calcutta to the coastal town of Digha. We were still miles away from a summer holiday at the sea-beach. My legs were stuck to each other. Sweat dripped from my collarbone to my waist.
Late August in a tropical country emits a feeling of endings. The heat should fade. The monsoon rains sputter. It is the last chance to lie under a fan, draw a picture, have orange biscuits and tea with milk. That summer I had just turned twelve. I played hide and seek and tag on the rooftop of our house in Calcutta in my bare feet. I hiked up my long skirt so I could run faster? and let the skin of my bare legs flash
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