Young Raju had always had antennae. He surmised, made deductions, never asked questions. It was not thought proper for a child to do so. A child must always be ready to listen and obey. There was one exception. Pradeep loved to reminisce about the things that had happened to the family, and Raju wishing to know all the details was encouraged to question him then. At an early age he had already sensed his grandfather Jayant’s passion for Dadima Shanti. No one had told him. The adults used to joke and say that people should be careful when the boy was around. If you mislaid a glance, they said, the boy would pick it up and learn secrets from it. He knew the meaning of two quick blinks of the eye, a hardly imperceptible turn of the head as an eye-contact avoidance measure, the slightest hesitation at the start of a sentence.
Image credit: CC-BY-NC-SA Alex Wu
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(Mauritius, Late 1840s)
Raju, without seemingly listening to the endless stories of hardship and hard work, knew how proud the two grandparents were of their prosperity. Jayant neve...
(Calcutta, India, 1840s)
With a forced smile Raju had followed the older man. The moment the family was out of earshot, Sukhdeo was all smiles and back-slaps, and he said that the be...