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Chapter 35
We left Madras on June 21st, 1977, on thePanamanian-registered Japanese cargo ship Tsimtsum. Herofficers were Japanese, her crew was Taiwanese, and she waslarge and impressive. On our last day in Pondicherry I saidgoodbye to Mamaji, to Mr. and Mr. Kumar, to all my friendsand even to many strangers. Mother was apparelled in herfinest sari. Her long tress, artfully folded back and attached tothe back of her head, was adorned with a garland of freshjasmine flowers. She looked beautiful. And sad. For she wasleaving India, India of the heat and monsoons, of rice fieldsand the Cauvery River, of coastlines and stone temples, ofbullock carts and colourful trucks, of friends and knownshopkeepers, of Nehru Street and Goubert Salai, of this andthat, India so familiar to her and loved by her. While her men– I fancied myself one already, though I was only sixteen –were in a hurry to get going, were Winnipeggers at heartalready, she lingered.
The day before our departure she pointed at a cigarette............
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