'Dinnertime in Delhi' by Louise Mangos
There are dozens of them along the walls of the Red Fort outside Chandni Chowk. He picks the pretty girl wearing the buttercup satin dress, with thin legs, and feet dwarfed in a pair of scuffed Birkenstocks. He stoops to place a coin in her dusty palm, and is instantly drawn through the dark vortices of her eyes.
Inside he spirals, through mosaicked arches, across emerald grassy turrets, along darkened alleys smelling of cumin and cinnamon, past bright swathes of whispering saris, kaleidoscopes of jewels set in yellow gold, voices cackling in a hundred dialects, to a slum hut suffocating under a corrugated iron roof in the urban evening sun, with a beaten earth floor and thick air pungent with the fumes from a charcoal burner, where a baby lies waiting for his child mother to return to ease the stone of hunger in his belly.