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The Short Form

“Leila in the Wilderness”

Nadeem Aslam

Excerpt

In the beginning, the great river was believed to flow out of a lion's mouth, its size reflected in its ancient name — Sindhu, an ocean. The river was older than the Himalayas; the Greeks had called it Sinthus, the Romans Sindus, the Chinese Sintow, but it was Pliny who had given it the name Indus. One night under the vast silence of a perfect half-moon and six stars, a mosque appeared on a wooded island in the river, and Leila was woken by the call to prayer issuing from its minaret just before sunrise. It was the day she was to be blessed with a son.

We read it in Granta 112: Pakistan.