Moneyless in Madras: Millionaires in Manhattan

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Moneyless in Madras: Millionaires in Manhattan

        Warm droplets of rainwater bombarded the tin roof of the extremely modest dwelling that had a greater resemblance to a dog’s kennel than the home of two men. The house was empty as the rain chattered loudly and naggingly on the roof. The sides of the house consisted of wood which had - by the look of it -been incompetently put together. On one of the four sides of the hut there was a gap in the wood, it had been covered by an old scruffy looking cloth, this gap was man-made and signified the threshold of the dwelling. There was no flooring in the shoddy dwelling which was reluctantly called home by two impoverished men. Instead there was natural ground that was parched suggesting that the dwelling had been set up before the rainy season had hit. Looking into the box shaped shelter through one of the many splinters of wood, one could see a few logs, which must have been used for fires. In a corner there were two Hessian mats which were no doubt used by the two men to imitate beds. There was little apart from that.

        This rather unattractive hut was a great contrast to its picturesque surroundings. The landscape was full of flora and fauna which were clearly blossoming thanks to the much needed and overdue rains. The woodland was a lush green colour as were the surrounding hills intercepted by deep valleys. The hut was in the middle of this attractive- looking backdrop and seemed oblivious to its surroundings. This area of beauty, rather spoilt by the man-made invention of a poor man’s home, was about fifteen miles south of Madras, a city of extreme wealth and poverty in the south of India. There was a vast meandering river about five minutes on foot from the two men’s place of abode. It was the Karala River which had been lying idle up until a few weeks previously owing to the drought, which is a common occurrence during the nine hot summer months which grace southern India every year. But now there was rain and plenty of it which meant that the river was no longer a ditch in the cracked ground, but rather a place where water could be found to mortify thirst which is painfully common in extremely warm climates.

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        Along the river, now like water splashing into a glass, there were two men of a diminutive stature. One man wore a short sleeved shirt made from a thin cloth which had many slits in; probably the cause of an unwanted run-in with brutal machinery or simply because of the stealthy passing of years. The shirt once white in colour was now of brownish hue, no doubt a cause of muddy stains and sweaty toil. On his thin and feeble legs he wore brown shorts that seemed to be a few inches too small for him. The other man was ...

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