Friday, June 26, 2015

"posted along the Indus, he developed a sportsman’s fascination with mugger crocodiles"

New Yorker writer reminisces about his father, a judge in India who also liked to hunt:

As he was busy in those days, hearing cases in his capacity as a magistrate, he fashioned an arrangement to mix business and pleasure. The pleaders, plaintiffs, and defendants would be instructed to meet him at a certain place along the banks of the Indus. There a large flat-bottomed barge, ordinarily used for carrying buffalo, camels, and the occasional wedding party across the river, would have been requisitioned for the day. The court, twenty or thirty strong, would embark, my father sitting on the foredeck at a desk. The barge would cast off and float down the river, guided by men with poles.

My father would knit his brow in concentration as the pleaders began. Suddenly, Mughla, my father’s notoriously unceremonious hunting guide, would roar from his lookout at the bow, “Gator time, boys!”—or, rather, “Pai chamak di hai!”