Bella’s Ghost

Snidge Scrumpin

Extracts from R. M. Francis’ novella, Bella

It’s hard to be clear when you’re dead. Nothing holds in the same way. It’s hard. I recall the smell of pig shit and how it slugs at my throat. When I lived I could get that smell in a mood. When the mood was right, I could smell it and every organ in me would flex and shiver. When there was a bad mood. That rank stench and body quiver – I’ll never know where it came from or how it mustered so much feeling. That’s what it’s like now. My life is held in rushes of smells and the moods that flood with each sniff. Memory is difficult when you’re dead.

Mom married Dad when I was still inside her. He worked days and she worked nights, so it was me and Nan. Me and Nan pulled potatoes in the field…

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My Sister’s Wedding – Day Three: The Shaadi

Snidge Scrumpin

Amarjit Nar

Extract taken from the forthcoming book, Stories from my Father’s House

“Two minutes,” Mum said mopping her brow with her chuni. “Two minutes. Don’t say anything to me, just for two minutes. So many things to sort out, so many things, you don’t understand,” she told no one in particular as she riffled through the wardrobe for items she’d stowed away for the wedding.

The wardrobe was full of things in an array of shopping bags from different stores. It was a system she used to denote what was in what bag. But as time had lapsed she had forgotten her system and and ended up riffling through each bag until she ticked everything on her mental list. The remala she had sewn from material printed with the holy sign to cover the pulpit surrounding the holy book; the Guru Granth Sahib. A shirt for the groom. His…

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My Sister’s Wedding – Day Two: Narnkishak

Snidge Scrumpin

Amarjit Nar

Extract from the forthcoming book, “Stories from My Father’s House”.

Day two of our sister’s wedding began almost the moment the sun was up. The cooker and portable stoves in the garden had been burning all morning in preparation for the night’s festivities and the sweet scent of caramalised onions filled the air. Dad had been stationed in the garden stirring the different sauces as spices were added one by one to the onions for the curries with a ladle its handle longer than his arm.

The sitting room of our terraced house had been turned into a work station for the production of samosas. Dad had deliberated long and hard over the preceding weeks and finally calculated twelve hundred samosas needed to be made for the wedding day breakfast and the Narnishak that evening; when Mum’s side of the family would bring Penji’s wedding sari, her wedding…

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My Sister’s Wedding – Day One: Miaya

Snidge Scrumpin

Amarjit Nar

Mum had been up since the crack of dawn and Dad had still not returned from the allotment with the spinach. We’d lost count of the number of times she had sent him out. And the number of times she had ran up the stairs only to discover what she was looking for downstairs.

“You don’t know how many things I have to do,” she chanted over and over. A ring of perspiration lined the circumference of her face she’d missed when she’d wiped it with the end of her chuni – the long scarf draped over her head.

“Ambey, Indher, Nicky, Kindy, Shindy, Ambey,” she called us in her usual style. It wasn’t until we’d heard our name the second time that we knew which one of us she really wanted. And the ritual had to be repeated several times before she got anything resembling a response…

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