Car 2

Mrs Amina Khatun

Outward appearance

A red and orange sari underneath a black coat. Hair enlivened with streaks of white. Dark circles under her eyes. She coughs over and over, hand covering her mouth. The eyes flicker back and forth about the carriage.

Inside information

Her son Imran manages a newsagent opposite Lambeth North tube. She is going to nurse it for him while he renews his passport.

What she is doing or thinking

Who are all these people? Mrs Khatun cannot identify a single customer or family member. She is unused to taking the Underground. Nearly always a cousin or a son will drive her.

Imran's shop is so sad. He has to leave it half-empty because of the insurance. Mrs Khatun likes a shop to be full, the racks bulging with colour. Milk, newspapers, and magazines the wholesalers force him to take are the only things left.

If only Imran would work, bring in business. Of all her sons, he does the least. If he wanted to be a computer programmer, then he should have studied. He still could study.

Instead, he is always going back to what he calls home. It may be home, but things are better here. It breaks Mrs Khatun's heart to see her boy, now fat, not handsome, dreamy, mismanaging the store and fleeing to Pakistan. Oh they make a fuss of him there, they think he is a rich businessman. She curses the insurance company, but what can she do? She coughs again. This cold will not go, it has not gone. It has been with her for years.

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