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I wanted to see one but wasn't prepared. The desire must have been strong. S/he saw me first, The Foreigner, getting off the bus at the busy Amritsar bus station. S/he was not hard to miss either, standing a foot taller than most people there. Frame of a chiseled man but sensuality of a woman, back straight, long neck and shiny black hair parted down the middle and weaved into a long braid decorated with flowers. S/he wore a bright purple silk sari and face painted elaborately. S/he walked towards me with a deliberate and excited walk. The anklets were loud.I didn't have time to think, to process and then SMACK! S/he slapped her hands together just like in the Bollywood movies. What it was different in real life. Then another appeared from behind her, just as tall, dark, a thinner frame and dressed in a orange sari with dark liner around her eyes. This one had piercing eyes that looked right through me into my soul. They were important, maybe top of the hierarchy among their kind.I was gripped with fear and curiosity. If life were a play, they would be the jesters, albeit cunning ones. I had 200 rupees and gave them 50. The second one stepped closer, i gave her the rest. She laughed. The first one blessed me. I looked past them and three others were walking our way. I turned around and quickly walked away.

Story by:

Sandy Jawanda

13 December 2017