The first of the month was payday. On payday Bahadur, the Nepali watchman, gets drunk. We look the other way when it happens, because his life is not easy, and he's unhappy. Lately, we've been learning that he gets drunk on other days as well. Lakshmi said, "If there's money in his hand, he drinks." Mary had complained that he left the outside bathroom dirty after using it, and that when he was drunk he would pee anywhere in the garden, and that he would walk naked in the night from the gatehouse to the bathroom, so that she was afraid to come out of her room.

So we told him these things, and that he had to keep things clean and behave decently. He took it very badly, and got roaring drunk. We found an empty pint bottle of cheap brandy in his room afterward. I heard him in the night, shouting. I peered out from behind the curtains and saw him capering, waving his arms, gesturing at the neighbour's house. That neighbour has been known to howl at the moon himself on occasion, so I thought they might be shouting at each other. I went out to see, and Bahadur began ranting at me. He would remember himself, and say "Salaam, memsahib," putting his hands to his forehead, and then take off again, speaking his mixture of Hindi and Tamil, grimacing, gesturing at an invisible audience.

I asked Ramesh to come out, because Bahadur was shouting so loudly that I was afraid he'd wake the neighbourhood. Unfortunately, things got even worse. To make a long story short.... the next day we found that he was not contrite; in fact, was hostile. We fired him, after eleven years of putting up with many eccentricities. He said that he wanted to go back to Nepal. We gave him some money. But he didn't really want to go at all. We saw him at the gatehouse, putting things in a bag and taking them out again, still talking to himself; waiting, perhaps, for divine intervention. Finally he shook hands with the servants, prostrated himself at the gate and prayed there. Then he went away.

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