From the title story in Happiness and other Disorders, published by Key Porter Books in 2008.
. . . who came on his Vespa wearing an army cap and fatigues, and smelling of rose attar, and I asked him, look, I had this problem in the States and the doctors there tell me that it’s deep-tissue trauma, are you familiar with Swedish or deep-tissue massage, yes, sir, yes, sir, of course, of course, he says, grooming his moustache with a tiny comb, Swedish, Russian, and English massage, any type, even Hungarian and Bulgarian and Serbo-Croatian, so why don’t we go into your bedroom, hello, what’s this, my bedroom, and when I am there, locks it and says, please lie . . . face down, oh, this all right, I ask, yes, good, says the Swedorussoanglomagyar masseur, please take off your top, good, my father was Hidayatsahib’s barber and masseur, he used to massage all his brothers too after their cricket matches, very famous sportsmen, all five dead now, just in their thirties, sad, I go every week now, his father was like my father, and when he used to scold me, I used to really like it, and please now untie your pajamas and roll them down, down, down, eh, say I, what are you doing? sir, everything is connected, if I touch something down there, then, sir, it helps something else up here, in that case, I say, please try to grab the connection from the top not from the bottom, er, I mean, not from down there, let me hitch them up, OK, sir, I liked chemistry best in school, sir, carbon-carbon double-bond, how do you like my oil, I make it myself, very good, I say, very excellent indeed, although to me it looked and smelled just like Vicks, it’s my own secret formula, says this man, but I make just 15,000 rupees a day between my three clinics, I know you’ve been to America where they make much more, I ask him, were you in the army and when he says no, I say but the cap is very nice, oh, fashion, sir, from film with Shahrukh Khan, he says, Fendi, how much for it in the U of SA , I’ll be damned if I know but I cite an astronomical sum and he looks pleased, look, I have a bad injury, you have to get through several layers of muscle, and he asks, sir, do you exercise and I tell him I try to, and he goes, sir, sir, you are doing it all wrong, all, all wrong, the muscles are all wrong, okay, fine, I got that, well, do what you can, I have several knots which you need to press down on until they give up, but he says no, sir, I don’t think I should press down, nerve damage, I don’t do that, never, never, never . . .