Behind the convenience store counter sat, what I’ve been told is called, an NRI – a non-resident Indian.

The top half of his face hid under the shadow of his baseball cap, which nodded both to the San Francisco Giants and to the tallish NRI standing at the counter, handing over his driving license.

I was buying booze.

As he stood to serve me I noticed that from under his baggy jeans shone the ruby jewels of his fancy slippers.

These were not the shoes of an American football fan. Nor were they the comfortable footwear of a convenience store clerk.

The stones were sewn into white satin and glistened as he walked, with surprising grace, over to the cash register.

These were, I realised, the slippers of a bhangra dancer.

He noticed me smile and turned up the volume on his radio. It was the familiar locomotive beats of bhangra music.

My feet shuffled, we spoke a little Punjabi and the drinks were on the house.

Advertisements