Mr. Munshi

This was Mr Munshi’s favourite time of the day: early morning, before the sun had risen past the tall buildings; before the other store shutters went up; before the buses switched to their rush-hour schedule; before Raju’s footsteps hammered up the stairs to his law office on the second floor; before Munna came, to sweep the sidewalk; before Usha arrived and he had to fetch her breakfast; before the phone calls—Usha’s sister, his brother, asking when he––Mr Munshi––would visit next, it had been so long they couldn’t remember what he looked like; before a customer called or Mohon popped in from his store across the street. This was acapsule of the daywhen he sat alone in his shop with a cup of hot tea and two Digestive biscuits (dark chocolate, because he had heard that it was good for the heart), listening to news on the radio. Budget cuts, Celebrity scandals—such things gave him a head rush, like one’s first cigarette.