The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff EPUB & PDF – eBook Details Online
- Author: Parini Shroff
- Language: English
- Genre: Family Life Fiction
- Format: PDF / EPUB
- Size: 2 MB
- Price: Free
The women were arguing. The loan officer was due to arrive in a few
hours, and they were still missing two hundred rupees. Rather, Farah
and her two hundred rupees were missing. The other four women of
their loan group had convened, as they did every Tuesday, to aggregate their
“Where is she?” Geeta asked.
No one answered. Instead, the women pieced their respective Farah
sightings into a jigsaw of gossip that, to Geeta’s ears at least, failed to align.
Saloni—a woman whose capacity for food was exceeded only by her capacity
for venom—goaded most of the conversation.
“This isn’t the first time,” Priya said.
“And you know it won’t be the last,” Saloni finished.
When Preity mentioned she was fairly certain she’d seen Farah buying
hashish, Geeta felt it best to nudge them to more prosaic matters. “Varunbhai
is not going to like this.”
“Well, now we know where her money’s going,” Priya said.
“Some devout Muslim.” Saloni sniffed, the gesture dainty for a woman of
her size. Lately she’d been attempting to rebrand her weight as evidence of her
community status. Compounded with her preternatural talent for bullying, this
guise worked on the women.
But Geeta had known Saloni and her family
since childhood—when she ruled the playground rather than their loan group
—and could accurately attribute her heft to genetics betraying her in her
thirtieth year rather than any posh mark of affluence. Ironic, considering
Saloni had spent her first nineteen years perpetually malnourished, thin as
paper, and just as prone to cut. She’d married well, curving into a stunning
woman who’d reclaimed her slim figure after her firstborn, but hadn’t
managed the same after the second.
Geeta listened to their rumors, observed how the women contributed and
piled on, with clinical interest. This must’ve been the way they’d whispered
about her after Ramesh left—a fallen woman “mixed with dirt”—then
shushing each other when she approached, their lips peeling into sympathetic
smiles as sincere as political promises. But now, five years after her husband’s
disappearance, Geeta found herself within the fold rather than shunned,
thanks to Farah’s absence. It was a dubious honor.
Her fingers toyed with her ear. When she used to wear earrings, she
would often check to make sure the backs were secure. The sharp but benign
prick of the stud against her thumb had been reassuring. The habit lingered
even after Ramesh vanished and she’d stopped wearing jewelry altogether—no
nose ring, no bangles, no earrings.
Tired of the gossip, she interrupted the women’s musings on Farah’s
defection: “If each of us puts in another fifty, we can still give Varunbhai the
That got their attention. The room quieted. Geeta heard the feeble hum of
her fan stirring the air. The flywheel’s tight circles oscillated like a tiny hula
hoop. The blades were ornamental; the heat remained thick and unforgiving.
The fan hung from a strong cord Ramesh had tied in their old house.
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