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Excerpt from Himalayan Dhaba by Craig Danner, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Himalayan Dhaba

by Craig Danner

Himalayan Dhaba
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2002, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2003, 288 pages

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Print Excerpt


"And we don't have any bata-deen. I'm not sure what it is you need."

Mary’s hands are shaking, thinks this baby can't be three weeks old; the baby doesn't have the strength to keep on gasping any more.

"I need something to clean the skin," and Mary’s also on the verge; she’s slapping at the other leg, still desperate for a decent vein. Chidda brings a cotton ball that’s soaked in something horrible; slowly mops the knee and thigh till Mary knocks her hands away. The baby is so deep in shock her veins have all nearly collapsed; with fingers trembling Mary blindly sticks the IV needle in. She knows that there’s a big vein somewhere near the outside of the shin; after several tries she finds it: tiny flash of something red.

"Damn it! I need tape!" she screams, her patience finally wearing out; she knows this baby’s going to die and everything will be her fault. Vikram’s letter said the staff would help her any way they could; all she needs to do is ask: the nurses are all excellent. And this was what he'd written in the letter underneath the book: that he would keep her in his prayers, that Richard would be proud of her. I'm going home to Kerala. My father's taken gravely ill. I’ll be back in a month or so. The hospital depends on you.

She knows that she’s not up for this, she hasn't got much in reserve - she came this far to find a ghost to hold her hand and comfort her. She looks down at this tiny girl, while Chidda draws the saline push; this dying baby’s face holds all the sadness in the universe. She knows that she will have to stay, if only for a couple days: she'll live but only if I keep this needle safe inside her vein.

Reprinted from Himalayan Dhaba by Craig Danner by permission of Dutton, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © Craig Danner, 2002. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced without permission.

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