Shantu worked in his taxi sixteen hours a day for six days every week. He was determined that his son and two daughters would know lives that were better than his own. He saved money for their education and for the substantial dowries he would be required to provide if the girls were to marry well. He was permanently exhausted, and beset by all the torments, terrible and trivial, that poverty endures. Vinod supported his parents, his wife, and five children from the fish that he hauled from the sea with his thin, strong arms. On his own initiative, he’d formed a co-operative with twenty other poor fishermen. That pooling of resources had provided a measure of security, but his income seldom stretched to luxuries such as new sandals, or school books, or a third meal in any one day. Still, when they knew what I wanted to do, and why, neither Vinod nor Shantu would accept any money from me. I struggled to give it to them, even trying to force the money down the fronts of their shirts, but they refused to allow it. They were poor, tired, worried men, but they were Indian, and any Indian man will tell you that although love might not have been invented in India, it was certainly perfected there.

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A quote saved on Nov. 5, 2015.


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