I never had problems with my fellow scientists. Scientists area friendly, atheistic, hard-working, beer-drinking lot whose mindsare preoccupied with sex, chess and baseball when they arenot preoccupied with science. I was a very good student, if I may say so myself. I wastops at St. Michael’s College four years in a row. I got everypossible student award from the Department of Zoology. If Igot none from the Department of Religious Studies, it is simplybecause there are no student awards in this department (therewards of religious study   are not in mortal hands, we allknow that). I would have received the Governor “You are not soRead More →

General’sAcademic Medal, the University of Toronto’s highestundergraduate award, of which no small number of illustriousCanadians have been recipients, were it not for a beef-eatingpink boy with a neck like a tree trunk and a temperament ofunbearable good cheer. I still smart a little at the slight. When you’ve suffered agreat deal in life, each additional pain is both unbearable andtrifling. My life is like a memento mori painting from Europeanart: there is always a grinning skull at my side to remind meof the folly of human ambition. I mock this skull. I look at itand I say,   “You’ve got the wrong fellow. You mayRead More →

I love Canada. I miss the heat of India, the food, the houselizards on the walls, the musicals on the silver screen, the cowswandering the streets, the crows cawing, even the talk ofcricket matches, but I love Canada. It is a great country   muchtoo cold for good sense, inhabited by compassionate, intelligentpeople with bad hairdos. Anyway, I have nothing to go hometo in Pondicherry. Richard Parker has stayed with me. I’ve never forgotten him. Dare I say I miss him? I do. I miss him. I still see him in mydreams. They are nightmares mostly, but nightmares tinged withlove. Such is the strangeness ofRead More →

Wen Chou’s soldiers approached under cover. As they drew near, the officers told Cao Cao, saying, “The rebels are near. We ought to catch the horses and go back to Baima.” But Adviser Xun You checked them, saying, “These are a bait for the enemy. Why retire?”   Cao Cao glanced across at him and said, “He understands. Do not say anything.”   Now having got possession of the supply carts, the enemy next came to seize the horses. By this time they had all broken ranks and were scattered, each soldier going his own way. Then suddenly Cao Cao gave the order to go down fromRead More →

“You are not so fed up on Mrs. Pollzoff that you want to get away from us all, are you?” he demanded. “No, of course not, but I was wondering what his plan was and what happened to it, if anything,” Roberta answered.   “Glad to hear you do not want to leave. Gosh, to lose our only girl sky-pilot would be—unthinkable; but, come to think of it, Howe came to the house to see Dad one day last week, perhaps they are getting it fixed up for you to take on the job. I heard the Old Man   say the Federal representative wouldRead More →

“Top of the morning to you,” Phil called cheerily. “Your esteemed passenger wants to make an early start, so the boys will have Nike warmed up for you and you can start as soon as you get to the field.”   “It’s mighty good of you to come and fetch me,” Roberta smiled at the president’s son, who had not so many weeks before gone through a series of exciting, dangerous air-adventures with her. But those things were all in the day’s work and belonged to the past; the new day awaited them.   “It isn’t much of a hop, and as Mrs. Pollzoff hasRead More →

Precisely by being so slow. Sleepiness and sloth-fulness keepit out of harm’s way, away from the notice of jaguars, ocelots,harpy eagles and anacondas. A sloth’s hairs shelter an algaethat is brown during the dry season and green during the wetseason, so the animal blends in with the surrounding moss andfoliage and   looks like a nest of white ants or of squirrels, orlike nothing at all but part of a tree. The three-toed sloth lives a peaceful, vegetarian life in perfectharmony with its environment. “A good-natured smile is foreveron its lips,” reported Tirler (1966).   I have seen that smile withmy own eyes. I amRead More →

It seemed natural that Mr. Patel’s story should be toldmostly in the first person – in his voice and through hiseyes. But any inaccuracies or mistakes are mine. I have a few people to thank. I am most obviouslyindebted to Mr. Patel. My gratitude to him is as boundlessas the Pacific Ocean and I hope that my telling of his taledoes not disappoint him. For getting   me started on thestory, I have Mr. Adirubasamy to thank. For helping mecomplete it, I am grateful to three officials of exemplaryprofessionalism: Mr. Kazuhiko Oda, lately of the JapaneseEmbassy in Ottawa; Mr. Hiroshi   Watanabe, of OikaShipping Company;Read More →

You must askhim all the questions you want.”Later, in Toronto, among nine columns of Patels in thephone book, I found him, the main character. My heartpounded as I dialed his phone number. The voice thatanswered   had an Indian lilt to its Canadian accent, lightbut unmistakable, like a trace of incense in the air. “Thatwas a very long time ago,” he said. Yet he agreed to meet. We met many times. He showed me the diary he keptduring the events. He showed me the yellowed newspaperclippings that made him briefly, obscurely famous. He toldme his story. All the while I took notes. Nearly a  Read More →

God?””Yes.””That’s a tall order.””Not so tall that you can’t reach.”My waiter appeared. I hesitated for a moment. I orderedtwo coffees. We introduced ourselves. His name was FrancisAdirubasamy. “Please tell me your story,” I said. “You must pay proper attention,” he replied. “I will.” I brought out pen and notepad. “Tell me, have you been to the botanical garden?” heasked. “I went yesterday.””Didyou notice the toy train tracks?””Yes, I did.””A train still runs on Sundays for the amusement of thechildren. But it used to run twice an hour every day. Didyou take note of the names of the stations?””One   is called Roseville. It’s right nextRead More →