‘Kindly step aboard.’
She shuffles into the back seat of Mr Kapasi’s trusty grey Hindustani Ambassador like a pony backing into a trap.
‘Hmmmph’ Mrs Rutabel says. ‘I see you own a car that was designed by those slave-traders, the damned British.’
‘Very perspicacious of you, Mrs Rutabel,’ Mr Kapasi replies. ‘This indeed a classic British design – a Morris Oxford of the nineteen-fifties.’
‘I suppose it will have to do. What’s that on your dashboard?’
‘It’s Ganesha the Elephant God, Lord of Good Fortune, Prosperity, Wealth and Success.’
‘How come you’re driving a taxi, then?’
‘It’s only a stepping-stone in my career.’
‘No decent Christian would worship an elephant.’
‘I’m not a Christian, I’m a Hindu. Ganesha is popular in western countries because everybody loves elephants.’
‘They don’t in Jamaica. We worship God and Bob Marley. They are trying to make us worship the prime minister, Mr Holness, but he is not suitable at all. He is booguyaga. He copied the British imperialists and had his children privately educated.’
After a few minutes’ silence, Mrs Rutabel speaks, with considerable venom.
‘Don’t you hate the British?’
‘No, I don't think so, Mrs Rutabel. I try to follow the teachings of the great Lord Hanuman, who symbolizes the human excellences of loving, emotional devotion to the God Rama as well as inner self-control, faith and service to a cause.’
‘How can you ever trust them?’ she says. My countrymen recount the racism they faced on arrival. Those who worked for years to rebuild the country from the ashes of war feel the sharpest betrayal, now their passports have been revoked. That’s the British way. They are qwengas. They are fassyholes.’
He smiles. She snorts. He parks outside her hotel and they go their separate ways.
Issue 6 & 7
The Stories & Poems
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