Saturday, 18 June 2022

'Crow Son' by Vijayalakshmi Sridhar

Back from the temple, Pillai would tell me and Kamakshi to lay the babies on the wooden table in front of him where the square of yellow morning sunlight poured down. Pillai would stand towering above the two- mine with his charcoal-coloured skin- like a crow whereas Kamakshi’s son, pink. He would offer his finger like a cane. As my son flung his fist to grab it, Pillai would move his finger so that Kamakshi’s son reached out and caught it. Deliberately made to lose, mine would continue to look cross-eyed at the target.

My hapless gloom would continue to cloak me in the backyard and the kitchen too. But my postpartum hunger would loom bigger. Quietly I would mix fat grains of rice with the hot and sweet tamarind curry and buffalo milk curd; dosa, white as a swan’s plumage with only salt for seasoning, the absence of sourness from fermentation like a sharp slap across the face.

Post dinner, Pillai would be on the grandfather chair, his wife on the floor, with her diamond nose pins glittering, her plantain stem-like hands folding the paan. Did she look like a mother of five - with two grandchildren already, three if I yearningly counted mine?

Pillai’s explosive chortles would ring loud in the sudden wicked summer rain that had snuck on us. Kamakshi would run to play. I- the errand girl would scold the rain and climb to the terrace to collect the stuff left to dry.

At night, when Pillai’s open-mouthed steam-engine snore enveloped us, I would cuddle with my lively piece of night, whispering numerous pet names, offering my finger the same way Pillai did, apologizing for morning and encouraging him now. As his tiny fist wrapped around my finger, my breath would trickle back to my body.

No comments:

Post a Comment

FlashFlood's 2022 Best of the Net Nominations

We love every piece that we publish, but sadly can only nominate eight for the Best of the Net Awards -- two in the prose category and six t...