For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“An Old-Fashioned Man”

Saadat Hasan Manto

Excerpt

“Saeeda, did you notice what she was wearing?”

“Who?” Saeeda asked.

“Shadaan,” Farida whispered in her ear.

“What was she wearing?”

When Farida whispered something in her ear, Saeeda put her hand on her heart and gasped, “What!”

The two sisters kept whispering to each other for sometime, then the door swung open and Shadaan came running in. Normally, when one of the players was caught there was much screaming and laughter, but this time there was none. Even Shadaan, who was on the verge of shouting with joy at having caught her quarries, was quiet. The two sisters stayed in the dark, looking scared. “What is the matter?” Shadaan asked in a whisper, keeping with the atmosphere. Farida said something to Saeeda, who whispered something right back to her. They both elbowed each other in the ribs before Farida asked in a tremulous voice, “What is that you are wearing under your shirt?”

Shadaan burst out laughing.

“Where did you get it?” Saeeda asked.

“From the bazaar,” Shadaan replied.

“How much?” Fareeda asked.

“Ten rupees.”

“So expensive!” the two sisters almost screamed.

All Shadaan said in reply was, “Can't we poor people sometimes buy something nice that we like?”

We read it in Toba Tek Singh.