June 5, —19
Mr. Chappalwala (Jr.),
Sir, my father requests that I write to you because he is engaged on urgent business in the city, and my mother is busy looking through the collection for important files. He says it will be good practice for me for the future, but I think by then we shall all have to go into hiding. I tried to explain this to my little sister and brother, but they are silly and won’t listen to me. Jayu said she would go hide right now, and snuck into the letter with the sleeping octopus. But I stopped her from taking my little brother in with her. I am not irresponsible.
You see, my tutor, Mr. Ali, says the people don’t trust us anymore, that they think we own what belongs to them. He says he hears murmurings from the village, and that we should all be prepared to flee. I don’t understand it, really. I asked my father why we couldn’t just give stuff away if others wanted it so badly—there are so many envelopes in our house that we wouldn’t even miss them. He gave me such a look. He said I might as well scatter my ancestors’ bones. As if I would do such a thing.
I have been patrolling the grounds with the night watchman, and I think I have another solution. In your next letter, can you send us a stampede? We could use it to frighten people off our grounds. Perhaps, then, my father will see I’m ready for his work—can you believe, he told me to copy from an old letter when writing to you? As if I didn’t know how to say “Dear Sir” and “Thank you” for myself.
R. Mongerji (Jr.)