The Bridge Across Forever

“When Brahm ceases to dream, the Gods go…”– Rudyard Kipling, The Bridge Builders Findlayson of the Public Works Department would be proud. The bridge that he, Findlayson, C.S.I., built still stands after one hundred and  forty years. It’s stone piers, capped with red Agra stone, and sunk eighty feet into the shifting ooze of the… Continue reading The Bridge Across Forever

A Perfect Pearl

Never mind those making promises of the afterlife;Join us now, righteous friends, in this intoxication… – Zeb-un-Nissa, Mughal poetess. She was the love of his life. His favourite wife. Mother of his heir. To Aurangzeb, soon to become Emperor of the Moghul Empire, the greatest empire that India had seen, she was the world: a… Continue reading A Perfect Pearl

The Great Flood (Part Two)

And they carved elaborate effigies of the Buddha, seated and reclining, in the darkest recesses of their crepuscular, subterranean world…  North of Aurangabad, the road descends an escarpment of dusty basalt in a series of rutted, pot-holed hair-pins. My driver, Shanti, curses the government, the Prime Minister and various gods as he navigates a tenuous… Continue reading The Great Flood (Part Two)

Locomotive Breath

LOCOMOTIVE BREATH  Say, porter, when’s the next train down? – Rudyard Kipling, My Sunday at Home On the platform at Allahabad  Railway Station I saw a dog asleep on a pile of luggage. Or perhaps it was bales of cotton, sewn up into jute parcels. Whatever they were, the dog looked very comfortable: stretched out… Continue reading Locomotive Breath

A BEND IN THE RIVER

(This story, written in 1993, was my first attempt at travel writing. It was written on a small portable typewriter in our old house at 28 McKenze Street, Geraldine, New Zealand. I sent the story to The Press, one of New Zealand’s premier newspapers. It was not accepted for publication and it would be a… Continue reading A BEND IN THE RIVER

Vanishing Points

Nothing beside remains. Round the decayof that colossal wreck, boundless and barethe lone and level sands stretch far away… – Percy Bysshe Shelly, Ozymandius. At Curdimurka Siding, the windows of an abandoned railway station stare sightlessly out onto a landscape of grey saltbush and red dirt.  The roots of a coolibah tree have cracked and… Continue reading Vanishing Points