Mayadevi’s London Yatra


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When Mayadevi, aged 70, 75 or 80, depending on her mood, decides to go to London, she knows it will mean a year of penance to wash away the sins of crossing the ocean. But if her son will not come to her, Mayadevi must go to her son.

In ‘Fish Curry Memories’, Leela spends her nights cooking curries on order, so that she can buy a ticket back from London to Delhi, and escape the life of unpaid maidservant to her nephew and his wife.

In between these two stories, are other journeys, ghosts, and a murder or two. Anadi crosses the river from Bishtupur to cities far away, only to find that it takes a chance meeting with a bedraggled stranger to transport him back home. Roopbala makes a pilgrimage to Badrinath to atone for a crime she had committed years ago—or had she? Soni in ‘A Murder in the Wedding Season’ is faced with a dilemma—is Banno Bua victim or criminal? Just as the reader must ponder whether it is Pinky and her brother in ‘Child-thief’ who should be punished, or the people from whom they steal.

Spanning a period of 30 years, from ‘Rites of Passage’, written in 1992, to new stories published here for the first time, this collection showcases the finest stories by a writer famed and loved for her gentle humour, lightness of touch and compassionate understanding of the human heart.

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