»Arzee the Dwarf«

The series Bits of Literature gives an insight into the different forms of literary texts that are started, developed, or continued at Solitude. Each contribution introduces a new writer with either a fragment of a novel, a poem, or any other type of text. This time, an excerpt of Indian writer Chandrahas Choudhury’s novel Arzee the Dwarf paints a mysteriously vague portrait of the writer himself.

»He passed the grey building which was his home – he could hear the television blaring all the way up from the second floor, because Mother listened to all her soaps on full volume – and then the empty school, its blue gate being locked by the watchman. Instead of going on straight, he turned into a passage between two buildings, so narrow it was almost invisible. It was a kind of wasteland where everyone threw rubbish which no one then cleared. A broken toilet seat was lying here, and a red plastic chair with three legs. The ground was covered with a squelchy slop of plastic bags, vegetable peelings, and eggshells. Long grasses had sprouted up near the walls, carrying bits and pieces of garbage within their limbs like diseased flowers. Little frogs the same colour as the muck were hopping from one spot to another with springy leaps, and becoming invisible once again as soon as they landed. Arzee’s shoes sank into the wet earth, and when he looked back to see if anyone had seen him enter, he could only see his footprints following him all the way in. He arrived now at a low stone wall, on the other side of which thin whispering sounds could be heard. He hitched up his trousers, hoisted himself up onto the wall using the crevices as footholds, and arrived at the top. He looked down into the silky waters.«