But the afternoon’s incident had shaken him badly. He felt the need to talk about it to some- one, although he would have to be careful not to reveal everything. ‘Baba,’ he resumed hesitantly, ‘something happened today on the way back from school.’
‘Yes?’ said Mr Dutta.
‘Some boys were calling me dkhar,’ Debu replied. ‘What does it mean?’
Mr Dutta did not reply. He puffed on his cigarette and silently watched the smoke curl upwards. After a while he said, ‘These boys…they know who you are? Where you stay?’
‘Don’t think so. Never saw them until today.’ ‘I see. Make sure you stay away from them.’
‘Yes, that I will. But you’re not telling me, what does dkhar mean?’
His father stubbed out his cigarette in the ashtray and said, ‘It’s the Khasi word for foreigner.’