In Other Rooms, Other Wonders

A short story by Daniyal Moeenuddin in The New Yorker:

Husna Husna needed a job. She stole up the long drive to the Lahore house of the retired civil servant and landlord K. K. Harouni, bearing in her lacquered fingers a letter of introduction from, of all people, his estranged wife. The butler, knowing that Husna served the old Begum Harouni in an indefinite capacity, somewhere between maidservant and companion, did not seat her in the living room. Instead, he put her in the office of the secretary, Shah Sahib, who every afternoon took down in shorthand a few pages of Mr. Harouni’s memoirs, cautiously titled “Perhaps This Happened.”

Ushered into the living room by the secretary after a quarter of an hour, Husna gazed around her, as petitioners do, more tense than curious, taking in the worn gold brocade on the sofa, a large Chinese painting of horsemen over the rosewood mantel. Her attention was drawn to ranks of black-and-white photographs in silver frames—hunters in shooting caps, posing with strings of birds or piles of game; women in saris, their hair piled high in the style of the fifties, one in riding breeches, with an oversized dedication in looping script. To one side stood a photo of a youthful Harouni in a receiving line shaking the hand of Jawaharlal Nehru.

More here. (Thanks to Hasan Usmani).

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