Rojak: Stories from the Singapore Writer’s Group is now available on Amazon.
As one of the contributing authors to the book, here’s a taste of my short story, Mangala:
Mangala’s calloused fingers smoothed coconut oil through her tangled black hair. She tied the groomed strands in a bun at her nape with a rubber band pocketed from her Madam’s house. Flattening the palms of her hands against her salwar kameez, she ironed out the wrinkled rough cotton, as though stroking a dog. Her children had left for school an hour earlier. She had since washed their aluminium breakfast dishes in a bucket and scrubbed a pile of clothes on the concrete floor of their one room home.
Her husband lay snoring in the family bed, fumes of cheap whisky seeping from his pores. She squinted in disgust at him and gently touched her bruised cheekbone, the stamp of his fist, before scurrying out the door. She couldn’t afford to be late for work; her job held the web of her family together.
Rickshaws tooted as Mangala strode Bangalore’s dusty streets to work. She veered around stray dogs lounging in pockets of sun, and side-stepped torrents of water splashing down yesterday’s grime from shop fronts. Today was salary day. How would she tell Madam she couldn’t afford to pay back her loan installment again? Only last week she had pawned her gold and black beaded wedding necklace to pay her children’s overdue school fees …
Buy a copy of Rojak to read more from The Singapore Writers’ Group’s eclectic anthology of global tales.