Charanjit would have liked nothing better at his time of life than to take things easy, but his daughter-in-law’s dilemma meant that he had to reconsider the situation. Everything had been turned upside down the night his elder son had been killed.
The very next day, they got the news that his small grandson had passed the entrance test for one of the most prestigious private schools in the district (English medium), and was due to be admitted in the monsoon semester. The question was how to get him there. The school was on the far side of town, the boy was obviously too young to travel on his own and his daughter-in-law now had other matters to attend to. The easiest thing would have been to turn the place down. But his grandson was the eldest son of the eldest son. When he grew up, he would be the head of the family, and would definitely need to know his prick from a broom handle. ‘No’, Charanjit concluded, ‘the boy must go to school and I am the one to take him…’
The first morning, after he had delivered his grandson to the school gate, he spent some time poking around, looking for somewhere suitable to sit. Eventually, he found a spot outside the Hindu temple, shaded by a peepul tree, where he felt he would not be disturbed. He had sat in many worse places in his youth, as a cobbler.
On the days that followed, he brought with him a piece of sacking which he carefully set out at the base of the wall, and an umbrella with a broken spoke and the handle missing. For hours at a time, he sat contemplating the starlings strutting about with their yellow beaks gaping, or a woman from a scheduled caste involved in some desultory sweeping. And when sitting got too much, he stretched himself out along the sacking, propping his head up on one arm, and keeping his rheumatic knee pointed at the sky.
The suburb was a prosperous one. Most of the houses were colonial bungalows, that had been the homes of the old middle class. But many were now in the hands of professionals with new-fangled occupations. ‘Orthodondist’, ‘Podiatrist’, ‘Gynaecologist – All services discreetly offered’, the placards at the gates declared. These houses had been refreshed with paint, and had had air conditioners installed at every window.
Across the lane from the temple, however, one bungalow appeared to be struggling with transition. A lofty television aerial was fixed on the roof, but a wobbly fan faltered on the verandah. The double gate was newly painted, but by someone with the tremulous hand of an amateur. The pane of glass in one of the gateposts read: ‘V. K. Malhotra, MA, LLB, Dunelm, Advocate’; the other one was broken. The gate, which had dropped on its hinges, clanged when people went in and out.
One day, some weeks into the school term, after the trishaws that served as school buses had returned to their depots, and Charanjit’s grandson had skipped off to meet his friends, Charanjit set about positioning his sack. But there had been a heavy shower very early in the morning, and he had some difficulty finding a spot where he would not immediately be soaked. Finally, he established himself directly opposite the gate of V. K. Malhotra. In the garden he could see the bobbing head of a woman who was pegging out washing on a line between the fruit trees. The wrists were thick and inflexible, the fingers short and stubby, yet she worked skilfully, holding a clutch of pegs in one hand as she flapped garments into place one after another. Her hair was still in the loose knot that she’d worn overnight.
A female servant was setting out wicker chairs on the verandah. The screen door banged. A plump woman, in her middle years, with bouncing hair the colour of brass cooking pots, presented herself on the porch. Charanjit was taken aback. Under-dressed and over-exposed, she was the first white woman he had ever seen. The messy unravelling of the Raj was still imprinted deeply on his mind. Still, he supposed, life went on, and the world was getting smaller day by day.
Julie didn’t like to admit it, but she was finding things hard going. It was the first time she had visited Vikram’s family. Their boy, Dev, was eleven now, and they had decided it was time he visited his other homeland. So, no Tenerife this year. Instead, the long haul flight packed with businessmen in bad suits and families with far too many babies. She was determined to like the place – and Vik’s relatives. She’d brought a Baedeker’s guide, and once Vik had dragged himself out of his present torpor, she’d be insisting that they visit the Golden Temple and find their way up to Wagah.
What was proving difficult was knowing how to interact with people. ‘Look, Julie,’ her dad used to say, ‘you gotta take people as you find ’em. Do that, an’ you’re going to make friends in all sorts of places you never expected.’
And she’d taken him at his word. That’s how she’d met Vik, and that’s how come they’d stayed together so long. If Vik wanted to eat his food with his fingers, all right by her. If he supported India in the Test Match, no skin off her nose. But here, she couldn’t decide whether taking people as you found them was all there was to it. She’d brought presents for Sushma, hoping they would break the ice, but she wasn’t sure that the waffle-maker, the Teasmade and the gadget for vacuum sealing half-used wine bottles had gone down too well, as they’d been passed over without comment. Now, she called to her sister-in-law: ‘Would you like some help?
‘No, all done,’ her sister-in-law replied. But did that mean: ‘You should have got up earlier, you lazy cow, then you could have helped me,’ or ‘I couldn’t give a bugger. I’ve been genetically programmed to wring out massive amounts of laundry without the slightest protest.’?
She decided to take the remark at face value. The servant brought her some tea, and she asked her to fetch the copy of Home and Garden she’d left indoors. When it came, she flicked to an article on decorative finishes and made an effort to read it.
Sushma dropped her squat frame into the chair beside her. She sat with her knees wide apart, the copious gathers of her salwar so much in evidence that Julie wondered if it were quite decent. She rested her forearms heavily on her knees, dangling the plastic bowl that had held the washing between her fingers. At a loss for something to say, she began to flap one flat foot regularly on the ground. Suddenly, she thrust out her hand in such a way that refusal wasn’t possible, and Julie handed over the magazine.
Sushma thumbed roughly through the pages, clicking her teeth and sighing now and then. The shabby chemise in which she did the housework was wet right down the front with the perspiration. Immediately, Julie felt bad about the pictures of stainless steel cooker hoods and Shaker style kitchens. Sushma stopped in front of a picture of an immense hob, and mopped at the sweat on her throat.
‘You got this?’
Julie blew a dismissive trill on her lips. ‘No way. Only posh folk could afford that.’
Julie wasn’t sure that she was believed. However, saying that your kitchen came from Magnet was hardly going to mean much to her sister-in-law.
Sushma peered a little closer at the picture: ‘This?’
‘The deep-fat fryer.’
‘Two electric rings. Two gas rings.’
‘Electric rings and gas on one cooker, same?’
‘Yes, some people have it, but not many.’
Sushma handed back the magazine. She got up as suddenly as she had sat down and went off into the house.
Sushma wanted to like her sister-in-law but, so far, hadn’t figured out how. Her other sisters-in-law would have been propelled straight into her kitchen where they would have cooked and gossiped together. But Sushma couldn’t decide whether she could enlist Julie in this way, or whether she was meant to serve her. As there was no-one to ask, for the time-being she opted for the latter.
Julie had brought her gifts: unfathomable domestic appliances – all of which had confirmed in Sushma’s mind her idea of herself as a poor relation. Then there was the fact that Julie had a job in an office, whereas she had never put a foot across the threshold into public life. Not that she wouldn’t be capable of doing so. Her desire to be a woman of substance was eating her up. All that stood in her way was her husband, who was holding fast to the old party line. So, it looked as though it was going to be an uphill struggle, the relationship between herself and her white sister-in-law. And, in Sushma’s experience, jealousy was a sentiment that could hardly ever be overcome.
Subhash was already fuming. He had woken with that sense of being troubled which hardly ever left him these days. One of his daughters in college and another one doing ten plus one. He would soon have to come up with husbands for both of them. At the same time, his business was foundering. If the truth be told, he hadn’t really got the hang of import-export. He was taking out his general dissatisfaction by torturing a polycotton shirt on the ironing board. The shirt was refusing to submit. Sushma chose this moment to enter the room with his breakfast, a paratha and a glass of milk, on a tray. Thinking to catch him while the day was still fresh, she started in on what had become a regular subject.
‘I was thinking about my idea.’
‘About the beauty parlour.’
‘You should think about it some more.’
‘What does a woman like you know about running a business?’
Sushma swallowed down the affront. ‘There are plenty women round here who’d like to do pampering, and the nearest places are right over near Jain Market. If we set up somewhere in the neighbourhood where they can meet their friends, they’ll all come and we can charge huge bucks.
‘It’ll be good business. Of course, you’d need to put up some capital for the property rental and the initial outlay.’
‘I said: no.’
‘They’d need somewhere nice to come – bilkul private, bahut stylish – but as soon as the business was in the black, I’d pay you back.’
‘Black. Red. What do you know about such things?’
‘I know everything there is to know about waxing, soaping and threading, believe you me. And, I could talk to Julie about it.’
‘She could tell me all the latest trends in England. The best products and so on. It would give us a lead over any competitors.’
‘You think no-one else has a relative abroad,’ roared Subhash. ‘Half the population round here has a relative in Wolverhampton. The rest are living it up in Dubai. Anyway, you can forget it. No wife of mine is going out to work. How would I hold my head up in the bazaar?’
‘But Julie has a job.’
‘Julie’s there and you’re here.’
Subhash was becoming seriously wearied by the constant drip-drip tactics of his wife. These days he was afraid to touch her in bed in case, at the moment of climax, she asked him for the down payment on the half acre of prime land at the side of their house.
‘So. Get it through your head: there’ll be no fucking beauty parlour!’ Subhash ripped the shirt off the ironing board, screwed it up and threw it back on the laundry pile. Sushma planted the tray carefully on a coffee table and withdrew quietly to the kitchen. A couple of minutes later, she could be heard giving the servant a good verbal drubbing about the state of the cutlery.
Julie put aside her magazine and walked to the garden gate to examine the state of play following the rain. Out on the main street, rickshaws swished to and fro with the shoppers and office workers that constituted the morning rush hour, the rickshaw-wallahs free-wheeling through the deepest puddles to avoid ploughing up the filth. But here, opposite, in the lane, sat an old man on a dirty piece of sacking. By making a pretence of looking up and down the street, she gathered enough to know that he was not a beggar. He sat quite peaceably, simply fingering the edge of the sacking.
The screen door banged. Her brother-in-law came out of the house dressed for work. ‘Back for lunch,’ he said curtly. He sat astride his motorbike, kicked away its stand and rolled it to the gate. Julie opened the gate for him. He jumped the starter, plumped down on the seat as the engine roared and swerved out into the lane. The wake left by the tyres fanned out to where the old man sat, sending a small tidal wave over his sacking. He didn’t stir. Julie stared at him in embarrassment and closed the gate.
The servant dragged a cot out from the house and placed it under some mango trees. Sushma brought out a large tray piled with split gram and started to sort through it for stones. At last! something Julie could help with. She went and joined Sushma on the cot, and they worked away together with heads bowed. The silence was broken only by Sushma’s heavy sighs as she mopped at the sweat that continually trickled into her chemise. The washing stirred languidly on the line. On they went, slowly, steadily, picking over kernels of gram. It seemed like an age before one pyramid of pulses started to diminish and the other started to grow.
Vikram sauntered out into the garden from the kitchen. He stood, legs apart, a few feet away from the women and stretched, a long, luxuriating stretch from toe to top. He smelled of sleep. His chin was stylishly grizzled and he still wore his pyjamas.
‘Aren’t you going to have a bath, Vik?’
He smiled the raffish smile that had caught Julie’s attention from day one. ‘In a minute. Gotta unwind a bit first.’ The servant came running with a glass of lassi. Vikram drained it in one go, belched and handed back the glass. ‘Terrific!’ Slowly he filled his chest with air so that his ribs moved like fingers under his flesh, and then let it out again. He was gazing round the garden in self-satisfied silence when, suddenly, three mangoes dropped off one of the trees, one after the other, and rolled towards him across the grass. He bent down to pick them up.
‘Hey, look at these, Julie! Lovely mangoes.’
Sushma raised her head. ‘Mangoes very good last year. This year not so good.’
‘They’re my favourite.’
‘Wait till Chausas come,’ said Sushma. ‘Or Langras. Best ones from Saharanpur.’
Julie looked bewildered: ‘What are the pair of you on about?’
‘There are tons of varieties,’ explained Vikram. Everybody has their favourite. I’ve known people come to blows over which is best.’
‘Langras best,’ muttered Sushma under her breath.
‘The trouble with mangoes, though,’ Vikram went on, ‘is you really need to eat them in the bath.’
‘Eh?’ said Julie.
‘You get yourself into such a mess. Except with these. Fruit juice in a ready-made carton. What you do is squish them up between your fingers like this, bite the end off and suck. See?’ And, having demonstrated, he swallowed the contents of one down as though he were contending with an oyster. ‘Bit sharp,’ he said, wrinkling his nose. ‘The others might be better.’ He looked wistful. ‘I haven’t seen these since I was a boy,’ he said. ‘You don’t get them in the UK.’ He placed the two remaining fruit carefully on the cot beside Julie, and went back to where he had been standing.
The end was now in view as far as the gram was concerned, and the two women bent their heads in renewed concentration. Vikram shoved his hand down behind his pyjama string and started scratching ruminatively at a place low down on his belly.
‘Pity there’s not a golf course round here,’ he said after a while.
‘What the heck would you want a golf course for?’ asked Julie. ‘You’d melt.’ And she glared pointedly at his pyjamas to try and get him to stop what he was doing.
‘Well, to be fair, I was thinking more of the clubhouse. Some very tasty mutton tikkis with a lovely mango pickle for lunch, and then a few beers in the afternoon.’
‘Just like home then?’ Vikram was making enough money these days to see off any racists in the clubhouse, and spent entire week-ends there.
‘Yeah, maybe, but better snacks and warmer weather. Oh, that reminds me.’ And now he did whisk the hand out. ‘Oi!’ he shouted back into the house, ‘Dev!’ The head of their spiky-haired son appeared round the screen door. ‘There ent no beers in the fridge, kid,’ Vikram said. ‘Be a mate. Go along the bazaar and get us a coupla packs. Take the money from Auntie’s purse.’
Sushma raised an eyebrow. Dev’s head disappeared. Julie drew a sharp breath in.
‘Hadn’t we better change some money of our own…?’
‘Relax,’ said Vikram. ‘Sushma knows it’ll all come out in the wash. We’ll look after her when she comes to England…Hai na?’
‘As if,’ thought Julie.
‘And anyway, what you haven’t grasped is: it don’t matter. This is family.’
Julie shrugged uneasily. Vikram went back inside to snooze off some more jet lag before lunch.
As soon as the mountain of gram was cleaned, the servant took the tray away and brought back another one piled high with bhindi. The heat was now intense. The two women pulled the cot further into the shade of the mango trees before taking up knives and starting work on the vegetables. They were about halfway through trimming and chopping when there was a scuttering in one of the trees. A squirrel rushed out along the washing line and became intimately involved with a pair of old underpants. They both laughed. Julie put down her knife and went to chase the squirrel away. The grass was sweaty underfoot. The washing baked on the line like sheet metal. Nothing moved. Julie repositioned the underpants then, grateful for the interruption, strolled down the path to the gate. Dear God, that old man was still there! She looked at him hard. He sat with one hand to his gaunt face to protect his eyes from the sun, resting his elbow on a pointed knee. In the other hand he held a crushed umbrella which cast a lozenge of shade over his shoulders. With his eyes in shadow, she was not sure whether he was awake or asleep. Certainly he made no sign that he knew he was being watched.
Julie went straight back to where Sushma was sitting.
‘Sushma, who is that man on the other side of the lane?’
‘Yes, the one in the er, doaty thing and the turban. He’s been there since first thing this morning.’
‘Oh, him.’ Sushma flicked her hand away in a dismissive gesture.
‘Is he something to do with the temple?’
‘He’s waiting for his grandson from school.’
Julie considered this for a while. ‘Really?’
‘He lives at long distance. Every day he brings his grandson from the village and then waits for him to finish studies. The boy goes home with him.’
‘But he ent got no food or drink. How does he manage?’
‘How do you know?’
‘He told school bus wallah. Bus wallah told dhobi. Dhobi told me.’
‘And he does it every day?’
‘Ha. Every day same. Until maybe 1.30, then he goes.’
‘He must be sweltering,’ Julie said. She was dumb-founded by the enormity of the old man’s commitment. It seemed easy just to lean over the garden wall and offer him a glass of water, and yet no-one had done it. ‘Doesn’t it bother you?’
‘Low caste person,’ said Sushma and shrugged.
Before Julie could assimilate this information, her brother-in-law was back at the gate on his motorbike asking to be let in. ‘Khana,’ announced the servant from the door. And they all went inside, Sushma carrying the two mangoes that had lain on the cot.
The water began to hide itself in the earth again. The puddles shrivelled and the sun steadily climbed the wall of the temple, pushing back the shadow of the peepul tree. Fingers of warmth crept through Charanjit’s clothes, and then his flesh, then along his tired old tendons and into his narrow bones. As his eyes closed, he fell into a reverie, recalling once again the night of his son’s fatal accident.
It was twilight when he had come across a gaggle of people in the middle of the road, and discovered that it was his eldest boy who was in the midst of them, already dead, smacked on the back of the head by a log that had fallen from an over-loaded timber truck. The truck, with its unwieldy cargo had already receded into the distance, its one tail-light barely visible in the dusk. No-one had noticed its number plate. Not that it would have made much difference if they had. A lawsuit would have been beyond him: he couldn’t afford the fees. The blank, bewildering days of loss had been followed by bitterness that he could not pursue the miscreants. Now, he was resigned.
Now, he spent his energy mapping out his grandson’s future. He hoped fervently that the lad would be able to make something of himself. But who knew? Providence seldom decreed that you should have what you desired when you most desired it.
By the second half of the morning, the heat was scorching. The leather of his own shoes was too hot to touch. The fabric in the remaining panels of his umbrella creaked as the tension rose. Charanjit remained perfectly still in the effort to become one with the heat, looking inwards to the darkest places it attempted to reach. He was not unaware, however, of the white woman who came late in the morning and stood at the gate, looking at him searchingly for a good two or three minutes before turning away. He felt distinctly uncomfortable.
Sushma was right: the crop had not been good this year. The two mangoes took pride of place on top of six other dubious specimens in a basket in the centre of the dining table. ‘For later,’ said Sushma, as she organised the place settings.
The servant brought three bowls, one with urad, one with Shimla mirch and the third with raita. Next she came with a plate of roti. They began to help themselves. Conversation was perfunctory. How were the relatives in Kapurtala? What had happened about Bal Dev’s niece? Where was that cousin stationed who had joined the military?
Vikram was looking exceedingly suave now in a green silk shirt from Austin Reed. ‘What’ve you been up to, dew drop?’ he said. Julie blushed.
‘Well, just helping Sushma. I tell you what, though. There was this poor old feller. Wearing a doaty and an old shirt. Just sitting by the temple wall all morning.’
‘Dhoti, love. Try and get it right.’
‘Yeah, doaty, whatever. And you know what? He turns up every day, at the crack, apparently, with his grandson. Pops him in the school door, then sits there like a stone till closing time, waiting to take him home again. In this heat.’
‘More urid, please.’ Vikram reached for the bowl.
‘I was wondering,’ Julie paused. ‘Couldn’t someone, couldn’t we, wouldn’t it be possible just to give him a bite to eat and a drink, well especially a drink? He must be parched.’
Subhash dropped his spoon on his plate with a clatter. ‘Best not do such things. Do it today, and you’ll have to do it every day. Suddenly, you’ll find you’re having to stay in morning, noon and night, just to give some beggar his tiffin.’
‘Well, couldn’t the servant…’
Subhash raised his voice. ‘Do it for one, and you’ll have to do it for the lot. The minute you hand food and drink over that wall, you’ll have every vagrant from miles around demanding equal treatment, and shouting for his relatives to join him.’
Julie wasn’t quite ready to give up. ‘I don’t think this old bloke is your run-of-the-mill waster. He’s travelling every day from a village miles away. Sushma told me. That’s right, isn’t it Sushma?’ Sushma looked away at the Shimla mirch.
‘And I don’t know what things are like here, but in England these days a lot of people think education’s a waste of time. On any day of the week half of Dev’s classmates are up the town centre, shoving their heads in paper bags sniffing chemical compounds from the DIY store, and giving the constabulary the run around. And the parents? They do nothing. “What did education ever do for us?” they say. They’re pissing away the only opportunity their kids are ever going to get. Well if this little lad can get a schooling and his grandad’s prepared to fry like a plate of chips to help him do it, surely the least we can do is give him a glass of water now and then?’
Subhash made a noise like an elephant at a water hole. Why did no-one take no for an answer these days?
‘What do you think, Vik?’
Vikram reached for another roti. ‘Don’t take it so seriously, love. You’re not at home now. If Subhash says not to do it, don’t do it. He knows how these things work. Any butter?’ he called into the kitchen with his mouth full.
‘Oh,’ said Julie only half joking, ‘am I not meant to have an opinion here, then?’
‘Of course you can have an opinion,’ said Vikram unperturbed. ‘All I meant was: there may be more to the situation than meets the eye, so you should trust Subhash-bhai’s judgement.’
‘Yes, what do you know,’ said Sushma suddenly, ‘with your cookers, and grills and deep fat fryers? You go to office every day. You have no idea.’ She had been sitting quietly, doing her best to follow a conversation in a language that was not her first. ‘And you,’ she blazed, turning on her husband, ‘what do you know? This is the man wouldn’t give you the shit from his arse, never mind a glass of water.’
Subhash leaped to his feet, thrusting away his plate and glass and flinging back his chair.
‘Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!’
‘I’m sick of your Mr. Big Almighty’ Sushma cried. ‘You think everyone will shut up just because you say so. You think everyone will do what you want, just because you want it.’
‘You stupid woman!’ hissed Subhash. ‘What do you think it’s been like here since my father died? I’m not a lawyer like him. I can’t get money by going to my office and reading old books. Nobody comes trying to grease my palms. I have to go out into the world to earn my money. I have to talk sweet to people I don’t like; make deals with badmashes who spend all their time trying to cheat me. Sad thing is: the more I get, the more you throw away. Last year Zee TV. Now it’s bloody beauty parlour. On and on.’
‘Pagal!’ screamed Sushma. ‘Don’t you understand? If you let me have beauty parlour, I can help you make money. You think no-one is any good but yourself.’ She fled from the room, crying. Subhash stamped out after her without an apology.
Julie looked at Vikram in horror. ‘God!’
‘Nice one, gel. You’ve been in the house five minutes and see what you started.’
‘Me? What the hell was that all about?’
‘Dunno.’ Vikram wiped the last piece of roti round his plate. ‘The usual stuff, I suppose. Money problems.’
‘What should I do?’
‘Nothing.’ He patted her arm. ‘Families. Same everywhere.’ He got up, helped himself to a beer from the fridge and wandered off to look for a comfy chair.
The servant, entering the room with a fresh pile of rotis and a pot of white butter, was bewildered to find only half empty dishes and plates and Julie staring at the bowl of fruit in the middle of the table.
With the two best mangoes hidden in her crocheted top, she stepped out into the blazing sun. Fruit juice in a ready-made carton, he’d said. All right then. She had no idea what she’d do tomorrow, or the day after, but right now she was striding along the garden path wondering if every step took her further along some deep fault line in the ancient social order of the entire sub-continent. She looked quickly to left and right. No-one in the garden. OK. Now the gate. Open the gate. She held her hand close against the catch to stop it clanging. Gate opened. Cross the lane. Crossing the lane. Lane crossed. She unwrapped the mangoes from her top and held them out. The man lifted his hands slightly, not knowing what was coming his way. Without looking into his face, because she could not bear what she might see there, she dropped the mangoes into his palms and turned quickly back towards the garden. No-one need ever know that the mangoes had gone. Unless, of course, they had been counting.
Charanjit looked at the two mangoes that the white woman had just dropped into his hands. What on earth was she playing at? Two sucking mangoes, hardly the size of a donkey’s testicles. In Multan, on his father’s land, they used to collect mangoes by the bucketful. Best quality Alphonsos. He got up and rolled up his sacking which was now stiff. He dusted down his clothing, scooped up his shoes and tucked the umbrella under his arm. Time to go into the temple. On the first day he had come here, he had gone to meet the pandit, who had extended the temple’s hospitality to him, and offered him lunch every day, free. In return, Charanjit had suggested he might do some cobbling. ‘What need of shoes?’ said the pandit.
Charanjit tucked the mangoes up inside his bundle. Soon Sunil would be appearing with his pals. He would save them for him.
Janet is a repentant education inspector who grew up in the North East of England, gained her political education in Scotland and now lives in London. For over forty years, she shared her life with the composer, Naresh Sohal. Her experience of life in India has influenced her work.
Eleven of her stories have appeared in print anthologies. The most recent of these is ‘Political Events Have Taken a Turn,’ which appeared in the 2018 anthology of Earlyworks Press. ‘The Map of Bihar’ was published both in the UK (Earlyworks Press) and in the USA (Hopewell Publications), where it was included in ‘Best New Writing 2013’ and was nominated for the Eric Hoffer prize for prose. ‘The Work of Lesser-Known Artists’ was a runner-up in the London Short Story Competition 2014, and appeared in ‘Flamingo Land’ (Flight Press, 2015).
Other stories have been published by online literary journals based in India, including the Bombay Literary Magazine, Out of Print, Joao Roque and the Indian Review.
Janet has had commendations and listings in a number of competitions including the Fish International short story competition. ‘A Tadge to Your Left’ was shortlisted in the Ilkley Festival competition in 2017, and was selected by Cathy Galvin for publication on the website of London’s ‘The Word Factory.’
Janet’s first collection of stories will be published shortly by Circaidy Gregory Press.