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God of Hunger
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A year after his expulsion from school Theo received a letter from a school
friend. A Perso- Iraqi by the name of Nooshin, „Noosh’. He too had attended
Kongwa European School. The son of Dr. Faramdoula, the physician to the
First Minister, he was not considered a racial anomaly by the school authorities
but from the first day he was vilified as a
by his schoolmates. He withstood
the taunts with annoying stoicism such that a mastiff of a boy called Randy
Milner challenged him to a fight. No one had ever prevailed against this edifice
of thick bone and muscle. So when, at break, news got around of the impending
fight all the boys who formed the circle with which such contests took place
bayed for the obvious outcome; the only thrill came from being there to witness
the damage done. “I’ll kill you you bloody chut,” from Milner was taken up in a
chorus of “Go on Randy, kill the bloody
As was the custom, blazers were given to seconds. Noosh looked around but no
boy dared to do the honours for him. All except one. „Here, give it to me’, said
Theo. And with that the fight started. Randy Milner’s face broke into a sneer of
contempt as, fists up, he approached the boy.
Noosh, kept his arms by his side. “Come on you funk. Put them up so I can
smash you to kingdom come.” Nothing. Noosh just circled around the brute of a
human pachyderm. It was galling to Milner to find his first punch, which would
have felled a tree, fly into the air making him look stupid. He became properly
angry. All anger hitherto was just for show. He rushed at Noosh expecting to
collide. Still nothing. Milner tripped into an empty space and fell like a sack of
flour onto the red gritty earth which sandpapered his arms, thighs and nose. He
looked monstrously funny as he got back onto his trunk like legs. Saliva spilt
out of a corner of his mouth, forcing him to lisp, „Yous suckin ssit’.
A group of juniors could not contain their shock and amusement at the sight of
their sweating, swearing, snivelling hero now screaming: I’ll get yous for this
yous sucking ssit. Noosh smiled and parried yet another thunderous punch with
a side step, making Milner swivel around the Perso- Iraqi boy’s right leg which
stood rooted to the ground. Down went the big white boy. Again and again until
he lay on the ground hoping his tears of exhausted frustration would be taken
for sweat. No one was fooled. The game was up. The world had changed. And
Theo had sensed it first. He walked back to class with Noosh. The two became
friends and remained friends for life.
After both had left school Theo was not surprised to receive a letter from
Noosh who invited him to Dar-es-salaam where Dr. Faramdoula had his
practice and where the family lived in airy comfort under palms in a large
thatched bungalow raised off the ground on chest high posts. Up short stairs
onto the verandah, Theo was greeted by a tall slim lady, her young daughter
Yasmin, youngest son Fadhal and the pomegranate of her eye, Nooshin.