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.He watched from his rock the barelegged Leigh going about his day.Not that Leigh was much more active than anyone else; but occasionally he would climb up into the tree-clad heights above the village and disappear for several days.Or he would sit in the lotus position on his favourite boulder, holding the pose for hours at a time, eyes staring sightlessly ahead.In the evening, he would remove his dhoti and swim naked in one of the pools fed by the stream.As it happened,Casper took it into his head to stroll along by the pool where Leigh swam.‘Hi,’ he called as he passed.‘Likewise,’ replied Leigh, perfecting his breast stroke.Casper could not help noticing that Leigh had a white behind, and was otherwise burnt as dark as an Indian.The daughters of Mr Bannerji moulded with their slender fingers goat’s cheeses as white as Leigh’s behind.It was very mysterious and a little discomfiting.Mr Bannerji had visited the outside world.Twice in his life he had been as far asDelhi.He was the only person in Kameredi who spoke any English, apart fromCasper and Leigh.Casper picked up a few words of Urdu, mainly those to do with eating and drinking.He learned from Mr Bannerji that Leigh Tireno had lived for three years in the village.He came, said Mr Bannerji, fromEurope , but was of no nation.He was a magical person and must not be touched.‘You are not to be touching,’ repeated Mr Bannerji, studyingCasper intently with his short-sighted eyes.‘Novhere.’The two young Bannerji ladies giggled and peeled back their skins of plantains in very slinky ways before inserting the tips into their red mouths.A magical person.In what way could Leigh be magical?Casper asked.Mr Bannerji wobbled his head wisely, but could not or would not explain.The people who flocked toMonumentValley , who had booked seats on the top of mesas or stood with camcorders on the roofs of coaches, had some doubts about Leigh Tireno’s magical properties.It was the publicity that got to them.They had been infected by the hype fromNew York andCalifornia.They believed that Leigh was a messiah.Or else they didn’t care either way.They went toMonumentValley because the notion of a sex change turned them on.Or because the neighbours were going.‘Hell of a place to go,’ they said.When the sun went down, darkness embraced Kameredi like an old friend, with that particular mountain darkness which is a rare variant of light.The lizards go in, the geckos come out.The night-jar trills of ancient romance.The huts and houses hold in their strawy palms the dizzy golden smell of kerosene lamps.There are roti smells too, matched with the scent of boiled rice teased with strands of curried goat.The perfumes of the night are warm and chill by turns, registering on the skin like moist fingertips.The tiny world of Kameredi becomes for an hour a place of sensuality, secret from the sun.Then everyone falls asleep: to exist in another world until cock crow.In that hidden hour, Leigh came to Casper Trestle.Casper could hardly speak.He was half reclining on his charpoy, a hand supporting his untidy head.There stood Leigh looking down at him, with a smile as enigmatic as the most abstruse Buddha.‘Hi,’Casper said.Leigh said, ‘Likewise.’Casperstruggled into a sitting position.He clutched his toes and gazed up at his beautiful visitor, unable to produce a further word.Without preliminary, Leigh said, ‘You have been in the universe long enough to understand a little of its workings.’Supposing this to be a question,Casper nodded his head.‘You have been in this village long enough to understand a little of its workings.’ Pause.‘So I shall tell you something about it.’This seemed toCasper very strange, despite the fact that his life had passed mainly surrounded by strange people.‘You mustn’t be touched? Why not?’When Leigh’s mouth moved, it had its own kind of music, separate from the sounds it uttered.‘Because I am a dream.I may be your dream.If you touch me, you may awaken from it.Then - then where would you be?’ He gave a tiny cold sound almost like a human laugh.‘Ummm,’ saidCasper , ‘New Jersey, I guess.’Whereupon Leigh continued with what he had intended to say.He said the people in Kameredi and a few villages nearby were a special sort of Rajput people.They had a special story.They had been set apart from ordinary folk by a special dream.The dream had happened four centuries ago.It was still revered, and known as the Great Law Dream.‘As a man of Kameredi respects his father,’ said Leigh, ‘so he respects the Great Law Dream even more.’Four centuries ago in past time, a certain sadhu, a holy man, was dying in Kameredi.In the hours before his death, he dreamed a series of laws.These he was relating to his daughter when Death arrived, dressed in a deep shadow, to carry him away to Vishnu.Because of her purity, the holy man’s daughter had special powers, and was able to bargain with Death.The holy man’s spirit left him [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]