A treatise on hydrodynamics, by Basset A.B.

By Basset A.B.

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In the course of the nineteenth century these ties, which "maintained the idle with the earnings of the active," eroded. More or less educated bhadralok youth had to fend for themselves, searching for "decent" employment in subordinate government appointments, teaching posts, and as humble clerks and keepers of wage book and attendance registers in industry, where the term "babu" was applied derogatorily to them by the British. As competition from nonbhadralok immigrants increased, the frustrated ambitions and injured pride of these young bhadralok made them ready recruits for any radical political action.

The rickshaw and handcart pullers, now fully awake, perch silently on their vehicles waiting for a fare or some cargo, chewing stalks of sugarcane for the energy they will need to face another arduous day. An old woman with matted hair eats breakfast off of a piece of newspaper, a puppy curled in her lap. An entire family in a circle surrounded by their belongings reach into a common bowl. A young couple, lying facing each other on the sidewalk, a baby between them, talk quietly as if in the privacy of a bedroom.

Everyone goes about his business, unmindful of the hubbub all around. Women at the pump wash cooking pots Page 11 and clothes on the curb. Another woman plasters cakes of cow dung mixed with rice straw on the walls to dry as fuel. Men cook deep-fried pastries at a sidewalk restaurant. Clusters of young children pick through discarded embers looking for salvageable pieces of charcoal. A pavement artist, sitting cross-legged, begins his crayon drawings of gods and goddesses. There is no encroachment despite the congestion, the shoppers, the meandering cows, the jostling of pushcarts, the shouting of hawkers, the insistent honking of cars, the whining of three-wheeled motorized rickshaws.

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