It's getting late. On the streets beyond our sheltered niche, shops down their shutters, workers down their tools, and the world slowly heals itself in preparation for a long, bruising tomorrow. Rickshaw pullers and cigarette sellers, salesmen and repairmen, painters and plumbers, mazdoors and mistrys count out the day's wages and make their way to the liquor stores on the cornerstones of every crossing in this heaving market.
Shielded from the din of the streets, Lalloo snores gently to himself, Rehaan curls up like a baby. The joint lingers like an unanswered question. Ashraf and I sit stoned on our respective stairs, staring at each other through glazed eyes. 'It's still burning, Aman bhai. Pass?'
Reprinted from A Free Man: A True Story of Life and Death in Delhi by Aman Sethi. Copyright © 2011 by Aman Sehti. First American edition 2012. With the permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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