At the beginning of the story, the author states that she was about six years old the day she got lost. They were visiting India on holiday and her mother and she had gone out to shop. The narrator had never seen so many people together at once. There were shopkeepers calling out to us from every corner, and nearly five times as many customers. People kept pushing each other trying to make their way through the crowd. The narrator noticed a little girl about her age standing inside a shop and staring at me through the window. She looked like she wanted to talk. The narrator smiled at her and she stuck her tongue out at the author. Angry, the author made a face back at her. She did the same. They had been pulling terrible expressions at each other for a while when the author finally got tired of it and began to laugh. The girl laughed too. ‘What a strange girl,’ the author said to her mother. Hearing no reply the author turned around. Her mother had disappeared. Her parents and older relatives had always asked the author to be a sensible girl and stay calm when something bad happened. So she did not scream. At least, not right away. All of a sudden the crowd seemed to grow bigger, busier. The entire time that the author was looking at the girl she had stopped taking notice of it, but now it swarmed around her like a horde of wildebeest. The researcher seemed to drown in trouser legs, saris, skirts, belts, shawls - everywhere around there were stomachs, knees, feet, hands - not
a single face could she see. Getting whirled around in that oppression of rustling cloth and foreign smells, the author finally screamed as loudly as she could manage: ‘Mommy!’ The crowd around her seemed to slow down. People did not stop right away but the author got the impression of more air, people seemed to be moving away. One or two of them stopped at a distance and stared down at her curiously. The narrator did not fit the scene somehow, even though there were other children around, most of who looked not too different from her. The author’s clothes, her skin, her hair, everything seemed to be on display as they looked so intently at her. The narrator was about to start crying when she felt a hand on her shoulder.