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The bus reeked of sweat and grime and stale fish. Anjali stood in a corner next to an office-goer. A lot of her ex-colleagues took the bus regularly and they were very okay people, not as cosmopolitan as her, but level-headed, hardworking, trustworthy people. She knew she’d be okay in that crowd.  She wouldn’t get molested here, just standing in a crowd, by some frustrated guy with an erection…

I.D. tags read – ‘Infosys’. “Wipro’, ‘Cognizant’ – lots of techies. No ‘Karla Tech” here, because they did not operate in Bangalore, just in New Delhi and Hyderabad. She knew she would have to get a job next. But first things first – her silver, several kilograms of it, passed on from daughter to daughter, for generations. Anjali’s head whizzed at the thought of selling it, but what choice did she have? Normally, that would be considered a grave misdeed, like violating a holy law, a spiritual commandment on the top of the list of spiritual commandments. Now, her survival depended on it. It would be okay. This was in the scripture too – even war is essential for survival sometimes, and only cowards shirk it. This was just selling a few heirlooms.

 

Anjali alighted, surprised at how calm she was now. She walked briskly, adjusting her designer sun-glasses, the only thing from the past still with her. That should convince the shopkeeper there, this flashy item of opulence. She’d wave it around, and the henna on her hands and legs would do the rest. No one would doubt that this was Anjali Karla.