The Green Blazer stood out prominently under the bright sun and blue sky. In all that jostling crowd one could not help noticing it. Villagers in shirts and turbans, townsmen in coats and caps, beggars bare-bodied, and women in multi-coloured saris were thronging the narrow passage between the stalls, and moving in great confused masses, but still the Green Blazer could not be missed. The jabber and babble of the market place was there, as people harangued, disputed prices, haggled, or greeted each other; over it all boomed the voice of a Bible-preacher and, when he paused for breath, from another corner the loudspeaker of a health van amplified on malaria and tuberculosis. Over and above it all the Green Blazer seemed to cry out an invitation. Raju could not ignore it. It was not in his nature to ignore such a persistent invitation. He kept himself half-aloof from the crowd: he could not afford to remain completely aloof nor keep himself in it too conspicuously. Wherever he might be he was harrowed by the fear of being spotted by a policeman: today he wore a loin-cloth and was bare-bodied, and had wound an enormous turban over his head, which over-shadowed his face completely, and he hoped that he would be taken for a peasant from a village.
LRB 5 June 1980 | PDF Download