Hajji Musa and the Hindu Fire-walker

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Readers International, 1988 - Literary Collections - 276 pages
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A collection of stories on the lives of Indians under apartheid in South Africa

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Page 94 - I took him to the boat-house and hired one. The white attendant looked at me for a moment and then at Riekie. I knew what he was thinking about but I said nothing. He went towards the landing-stage and pointed to a boat. I told Riekie to jump in, but he hesitated. So I lifted him and put him into the boat. He was light in weight and I felt the ribs under his arms. A sensation of tenderness for the boy went through me. You must understand that this was the first time I had ever picked up a white child.
Page 10 - Don't worry, my good woman. I'll speak to Hassen. I'll never allow a Muslim brother to be abandoned.' Catherine began to weep. 'Here, drink some tea and you'll feel better.' He poured tea. Before Catherine left he promised that he would phone her that evening and told her to get in touch with him immediately should Karim's condition deteriorate. Mr Mia, in the company of the priest of the Newtown mosque, went to Hassen's house that evening. They found several relatives of Hassen's seated in the lounge...
Page 13 - ... went home. Salima sensed her husband's mood and did not say a word to him. In his room he debated with himself. In what way should he conduct himself so that his dignity remained intact? How was he to face the congregation, the people in the streets, his neighbours? Everyone would soon know of Karim and smile at him half sadly, half ironically, for having placed himself in such a ridiculous position. Should he now forgive the dying man and transfer him to his home? People would laugh at him,...
Page 117 - Moodley was one of the few women who kept the customs of 78 the 'dirty Tamils' out of her home. The widow's daughter was a weak-eyed girl, but very industrious, and Mr Moonreddy would occasionally bring her a delicacy, such as a grilled lobster, from the hotel where he worked. That Mr Moonreddy was a waiter was no fault of his. He was convinced that he had been cut out for a better vocation in life, but that he had been the victim of 'unpropitious circumstances, unpropitious circumstances, gentlemen.'...
Page 7 - ... to his lips. Catherine suggested that she drive Hassen back to Newtown where he could make preparations to transfer Karim to his home. 'No, you stay here. I will take a taxi.' And he left the apartment. In the corridor he pressed the button for the lift. He watched the indicator numbers succeeding each other rapidly, then stop at five. The doors opened - and there they were again, the three white youths. He hesitated. The boys looked at him tauntingly. Then suddenly they burst into deliberately...
Page 120 - Moonreddy would watch enthusiastically through a pair of binoculars. He spent a great deal of time and effort teaching the dog certain commands, and especially instilling hatred for other dogs. On the way home after the morning's expedition, Mr Moonreddy would encourage his dog to attack other dogs along the road, but he would not relax the leash; he felt satisfied with the dog's fierce tugging and the eager willingness to obey him. One night, after he had returned home, he took his dog and furtively...
Page 118 - In the train a number of other waiters rode with him. He rarely condescended to speak to them in a friendly way, and whatever conversation existed was of a cool distant kind: he would offer them cigarettes or borrow matches, briefly comment on the weather or make a curt remark about the drunk white guard. As the train journey was short, Mr Moonreddy's reserve never really caused any offence. As soon as they reached Lenasia station, they went their several ways.
Page 16 - Brother Karim dead," said Mustapha, the Somali muezzin of the mosque, and he cupped his hands and said a prayer in Arabic. He wore a black cloak and a white skullcap. When he had done he turned and walked away. Hassen closed the door and went out into the street. For a moment his release into the street gave him a sinister jubilation, and he laughed hysterically as he turned the corner and stood next to Jamal's fruitshop.
Page 89 - You should let me examine your back some day,' the healer said, finishing his tea. 'Why not now?' 'Not today,' he answered protestingly. 'I have some business to attend to.' 'But Hajji Musa, it will only take a minute or two.' 'Well, that's true, that's true.' 'Will you need the candle and water?
Page 16 - ... Orient House' he saw the night-watchman sitting beside a brazier. He hastened up to him, warmed his hands by the fire, but he did this more as a gesture of fraternisation as it was not cold, and he said a few words facetiously. Then he walked on. His morbid joy was ephemeral, for the problem of facing the congregation at the mosque began to trouble him. What opinion would they have of him when he returned? Would they not say : He hated his brother so much that he forsook his prayers, but now...

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