Anoop Judge | Author · Writing Instructor · Former T.V. Host​

The Gold-Digging Women of The British Raj*

Princess Brinda Devi’s heart was like the black hole of a coal mine—it was so dense that there was no room for light, and so deep she was afraid it would suck her in. She told herself she pitied Stella, but heard laughter answering her—how difficult it was to deceive yourself when you had known yourself a full thirty-nine years.

She had a servant summon Stella to her sitting room in the afternoon when the Prince had gone to a Royal Heads of State meeting. When Stella came before her, Princess Brinda did not speak, but rose from the Divan and removed Stella’s sari palav from her shoulder, as if in welcome, so she could study the girl.

When the lights went out . . .

“Let’s play Dark Room, “ the cousin I’ve never met until today suggests with a wink. He’s fifteen, going on fifty—his greasy hair falling in untidy spirals over his glistening forehead, the sweat stains under his armpits visible under his cream polyester shirt, his fingernails colored yellow from the chicken curry he consumed at lunch.

I shudder delicately, turning away so that no one notices how I clench my palms together. How long are these relatives from Kanpur going to stay?

Anoop Judge is a blogger and an author, who’s lived in the San Francisco-Bay Area for the past 27 years. As an Indian-American writer, her goal is to discuss the diaspora of Indian people in the context of twenty-first century America.