Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Missing Story

A couple of months ago my friends lent me Tagore's selected stories, recommending one in particular, 'Kabuliwallah'. When I looked it up I thought I had the wrong page because the story was not there and after checking several  times, I realised the story was missing, it had been removed. So I read another couple of stories instead and loved 'Exercise-book', a story about a little girl who loves writing so much she will write on any surface she can get her hands on. His stories can be saccharine but there are gorgeous details, and unexpected harshnesses that stab you like drawing pins in a warm bath. When I mentioned the missing story to my friends they explained they had given me the wrong book, that they had another identical edition, and that 'Kabuliwallah' had indeed been carefully removed a long time ago to fax to someone. So we swapped over the books and they gave me the edition that did have 'Kabuliwallah' on page 115. As  I was reading it, the pages fell out and I thought what have I done, only to realise that these were the few pages that had been removed from the first edition, now slotted into the wrong book.  In the end, I got two 'Kabuliwallah's; these are the tiny beautiful details that make the world go round.

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