Full Moon Rising

It wasn’t our intention to leave for the family ashram on full moon, it just so happened to occur that way. We entered into it blindly, yet confidently. We paid our due bill at the Carlton, said our farewells and threw back the final sips of our sweet black tea, the glass still warm on my fingertips. Kailash was awaiting us downstairs. He knew what lay ahead. We sped out of Bombay on empty stomachs; there wasn’t time to eat that morning. The early hours were spent at the Police station filling out a report for my stolen bag the day prior. The officers made me chuckle, it was all too casual to be taken seriously. My report was lodged among discussion of the cricket and offerings of tea and coffee. I wrote my statement by hand and they proofread it, slowly, their English not strong. The chief officer complimented my writing and with a smile of pleasure said “you write a good police report, you want to be a Police Officer?” I laughed. “Because I can arrange that,” he said. I laughed again. Becoming a Police Officer was one career prospect I hadn’t considered until that moment, let alone in India. “I find your uniforms very charming, I think I’d look good in one, perhaps someday, but not today,” I responded. It was his turn to laugh. My report took time. A pleading man was dragged through the room; he held his hip in pain. The next time I saw him he was unconscious, being carried out the front doorway on a stretcher with a thick stream of dark, red blood emerging from his mouth. A Hindi woman sat in the booth next to me nursing a child with tears trapped in the rims of her dark eyes. She was searching for something within mine, but I had nothing to offer her. Finally, two thin pieces of paper with the scenario was stamped, stapled and handed to me. We walked out the door, sighed and hailed a cab.