Fiction

Queen of the Night

I first visited Nargis-begum on a dirty, muggy day during the endless monsoon of Delhi. The rain in Delhi is different from the rain in London, I found; there is less cold and more conviviality involved; less drizzle and more odour—so much more odour. The city invariably and inexplicably comes to a standstill but its occupants are accepting of it in the idiosyncratic Indian way of acceptance that arises more from a sense of ennui than of harmony. Children made miniature gondolas out of litter and set them to float along the narrow canals of water that had, for the time being, replaced the narrow lanes of the neighbourhood I mistakenly categorised as a basti—or a slum—in my head. The word “leptospirosis” chimed in my head like a West End chorus.

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Hong Kong Diary

Did you know Hong Kong is not one place but a group of a hundred and twenty six different islands? Did you know it is nicknamed Manhattan of East? (Mariam said people say it is in fact better than Manhattan of West. “Their subway nothing in front of MTR. And that damn city is frozen half of the year.”) Did you know its airport, where I will be landing in less than an hour now, is one of the busiest and the largest airports in the world and is constructed entirely on a land taken out of a sea! Did you know Hong Kong is the fourth most densely populated places in the world? Many people there, from all over the world, all kinds.

You are no good at Geography or General Knowledge. Like me you don’t know much about the world. What you do know is me, Kuldeep. That is all I know too.

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Cirque

Twenty years after college, Penny and Dave turned up in Miami. Back in dorm days, they used to phone the always sober and perpetually single Lucky Tang to pick them up on weekend nights when they got too stoned or stranded. Now, Penny and Dave had cars of their own, plenty of money (somewhat mysteriously)

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The AR Reading List

An ongoing assortment of books by contributors, staff, and books we've featured in reviews.