For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“Friends”

Manjushree Thapa

Excerpt

As evening falls, Thamel crowds travellers into its low-budget restaurants, and turns them wide-eyed with wonder because serendipity has brought them together in—of all places—Kathmandu, Nepal. ‘Life is so wonderful.’ For under two dollars each, they can eat eggplant lasagne, garlic naan, schnitzel, swimming rama, stir-fries, buffalo dumplings, risotto, curry or pizza, and swap adventures and world views. ‘My meditation teacher said flowers bloom even in the desert.’ ‘I found an awesome used bookstore selling Pico Iyer.’ ‘The first main thing I don't like of Nepal,’ tourists declare in broken English, ‘is the dirty air.’ Indeed, the exhaust from the city's cars and buses is one of the largest cracks in this patchy, fogged mirror image of western dreams—a mirror quicksilvered with tall mountain stories, some fantastic tales of Kew and a Cat Stevens song about Kathmandu.

We read it in Tilled Earth.