Photo: David Lowry / Flickr
Photo: David Lowry / Flickr

Prayer of the crossing

So, the phone works? When you dial the reception to ask for a housekeeper, though, you hear nothing but short beeps, as if they've foreknowledge of the stench coming from the clogged sink.

–Namaste, madamji. Can you come downstairs?

Mandira forces a foot out of the blanket. The air-conditioning is off-limits for visitors from November through February. And with the windows shut to keep the honking cars and hooting rickshaws out, you could coil round yourself, tail in mouth, and choke. Your soul puffed out of the body would then swirl skyward, hover over the city, and rain down on the Ganga.

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Himal Southasian