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Scarecrow

Paper Tigers

The first moment when I saw things the way I’d see them as an adult occurred during a French class in Grade 5. Our teacher, a pot-bellied Frenchman named Guy, was the very definition of a bon vivant. Instead of teaching the ins and outs of verb conjugation, he much preferred to regale us with [...]

iversonic

The Ghosts of Bandal House

I recently learnt that my mother’s ancestral home outside Kolkata, sold off about 15 years ago to pay outstanding debts, is haunted. And not just by anyone, but the ghost of my grandfather, who passed away in the late 80’s. Apparently the sprawling expanse of Bandal House as it’s called, three stories high, winding corridors [...]

Girl Playing Piano

Waking to a House Filled with Music

Living with a family member who has schizophrenia is like sitting atop a mountain high in the clouds; you can see normal people far below, but the prospect of joining them seems impossible. From age 10 onwards I’d witnessed my mother withdraw from the world, put on black clothing, answer to different names, and lend [...]

CubaLibre

Cuba Libre

In the weeks leading up to the vacation, my father, younger brother and I called it by a variety of jovial-sounding names. A Guy’s Getaway. The Majumdar Men take Cuba. I was 25 years old and living in the basement, feverishly working on what I hoped would be a sellable first novel while ducking calls [...]

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WinterRoad

The Palace of Justice

During the winter of 2005, I watched my father battle Quebec’s Public Curator office for control of my mother’s future. It was a low point for us all- the financial and emotional strain, coupled with the challenges of trying to somehow stay connected as a family at the tail end of over a decade of [...]

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Shoes2

The Shoe Hustlers

“Italo?” I could scarcely believe it was him. Pale, sickly skin and a haunted look in his eyes. Wearing a bright green workout shirt that’s tight around the belly. Flashy sneakers with trailing laces. As a kid, he’d been lean and handsome, with a smirk that proclaimed him to be untouchable. He nods without really seeming [...]

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Indian Dogs Are Snobs

On the morning of our third day in Kolkata, my wife and I woke to the pitiful cries of a dog and her puppies in the alley adjacent to my Aunt’s apartment. While animals are everywhere in the city, the sheer alienness of seeing cows dozing on sidewalks and goats bleating alongside beeping cars on [...]

Ambulance

The Ambulance

Ambulances arouse a strong reaction in me. During the years when my mother’s schizophrenia necessitated a series of forced hospital stays, the arrival of the boxy white transporter outside our home was proof that my father, younger brother and I had failed in our efforts to bring her back. Everything we’d done in support of [...]

Eric.Parker

Kolkata On 3 Wheels

After a few days in Kolkata being hosted by relatives, my wife and I decided to reciprocate by taking them out on the town. This is no small task. For starters, there’s a 40-year age difference separating us from the youngest of the 2 Aunties and 1 Uncle we’d be escorting: an entirely different generation [...]

thaddeusstewart

Twisted Metal

On a lonely stretch of road in LaSalle, Quebec less than a mile away from home, one part of my life ended and another began. Afterwards I saw things with a clarity only near-disaster affords. That although I desperately needed love in my life, I’d never really put myself out there and had little in [...]