The Hero of the Heroin Addict

Invisibles

The Hero of the Heroin Addict

Illustration: Akshita Monga

S

hamirbhai is, by definition, a crazy fucker.

I’m inside his shanty on Reay Road. It’s tiled and has a flat-screen hanging on one of its walls. According to my contact, Shamirbhai owns a couple of shanties that he rents out to people. He points to a youngish boy in the corner of the room and asks him to show me his arm. The boy rolls up his sleeve to reveal one of the most grotesque scars I have ever seen. “Phoda (abscess) ho gaya tha, marne wala tha ye, ilaaj karaya doctor se, aur aaj dekho.” The boy obediently rotates his arm and I see the light pink pits where the infected tissue was debrided, albeit sloppily. Abscesses are a major concern when you shoot dirty drugs intravenously.

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