Hazel Hall – Australia
A Snort of Dust
It's a dingy cafe with good
food. Along the wall is a faded display of
possibilities: thali, dosa, veg biryani,
samosa, chicken tikka.
A coloured photograph of a garlanded swami
also hangs on the wall near a battered
electric fan. It's whirring away
strangely, but we're glad of the breeze.
We watch particles of dust swirl in the
air as it turns. They look strangely
beautiful in the one shaft of light from
the cafe door. You stifle a sneeze. The
larger ceiling fans look as if they have
not been in use for a long time.
A thin young man in a pair of ill fitting
jeans with the crotch somewhere near his
knees is pacing up and down the shop,
cigarette in one hand. Fumes waft around
The couple near us is about to leave. But
the boy hesitates. His partner moves back
quickly to join him. They huddle with the
thin man for a while, backs to us,
murmuring in low voices. The fan has
ceased functioning. Now we're sweating in
After they've left, we rummage for money.
“Is there anything else I can help you
with?”, asks the thin man in excellent
English. Declining politely, we venture
out into an onslaught of beggars.
home sweet home . . .
among the rubble
a snort of dust