The Western Tailor

At seven o’clock Ramesh turns off the sewing machine, slings his leather bag over his shoulder, and says his customary good-bye to his boss, Parul. Usually he walks straight home after work, but tonight he crosses the street and hides behind an old tamarind tree. From here he has a clear view of the boutique, which occupies Parul’s garage and is separated from her house by a narrow driveway. He watches her lower and lock the shutters. Once she has crossed over to her porch and shut the front door behind her, he begins to retrace his steps.

A cool breeze brings with it the smells of jasmine and rotting garbage, and he can hear the faint ringing of bells from the Kaverinagar temple. He slips past the hibiscus bushes lining the drive and climbs into the garage through its single window, which he closed before leaving but was careful to leave unlatched. He lights a candle, retrieves Linda’s half-finished frock from the pile of scrap material beside his chair, and gets to work.

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