Saturday, July 18, 2009

Four stories about women I know

She was renowned
For her home-made butter
Of exquisite taste

For which she nurtured a special goat
Stocked secret ingredients
Hid recipes under the ground

Until the day her grand-daughter decided to marry

The dowry was the goat
Whose head would be sacrificed
On conjugal day
To guarantee
The eternal happiness of the newly wed

She told her
The water in my well is sweeter

Her told she
The water in my temple tank is holier

Unknown to she and her
The woman with a tattoo
Their tattle
And sighed
The loudest sigh
In the world

This sigh
Was heard by a solitary rain cloud
In the sky
Who wondered
If this was the signal to end the drought

When she completed
123 years
She did not recall
She had carried excreta on her head for
111 years of her life
Through the by-lanes of Madurai

When she completed
123 years
She emptied basket-loads
Near a Jacaranda tree
Whose blossom was the one thing
That brought a smile on her
Forgotten face

The cling-clang
Of urban space
The blah blah of uncouth neighbours
23 family members
All migrants from Sindhri
Inhabiting a 275 sq/ft tenement
Plus 11 children

How do they manage it
What for she asked
As she prepared lemon tea
Which she would have with home-made cookies
Feeding crumbs to the fish in her aquarium