“You have the soul of a cyborg”: An Extract From Anjum Hasan’s A Day in the Life

15 April 2018

Anjum Hasan, the books editor atThe Caravan, was born in Shillong and lives in Bengaluru. She is the author of the short-story collection Difficult Pleasures, and the novelsLunatic in my HeadNeti, Neti, and The Cosmopolitans. Hasan’s latest book, A Day in the Life, is a collection of short stories that provide glimpses into the daily lives of a range of characters, including newly-weds attempting to keep up with the times, a retiree confronted with modern anger, and a poet father attempting to reconnect with his son. In this excerpt from the story “Yellow Rose,” the protagonist contemplates yet another move.

Gulfam disliked going out. Every day, week by week, she saw a little less of the outdoor world of heat and dust that did not respond to a click or a swipe, that was composed everywhere of odd angles and misshapen silhouettes, that followed no clear laws, certainly not the magnificently simple binary ones that she lived by.

She had reluctantly inhabited that messy and messed-up world for the first twenty-three years of her life but had withdrawn from it in the last two, since she quit her job and decided to employ herself. She rarely looked out at the view. In fact, having moved house so many times, she had more or less forgotten what the prospect from living-room balcony or kitchen window was like. Something would bother Gulfam—a landlord suddenly dictating unreasonable terms from his penthouse somewhere in America; a neighbour in the course of an unwelcome chat, wanting to know the identity of the man who sometimes visited her; the maid inquiring once too often about why she lived alone—and she would give notice, call one of the half-a-dozen brokers she knew, impatiently urge on the movers encasing her meagre belongings with blundering care in bubble wrap and cartons, and leave.

Anjum Hasan is the author of several works of fiction. Her latest book is the collection of stories A Day in the Life. See more at www.anjumhasan.com.

Keywords: Bangalore technology cities