“Heralding the sunny days……those vibrant and funny days…….
when pebbles and marbles where hidden as treasure……
hopsctoch and hide seek made the greatest pleasures……”
Punctually as every morning Indu found her pounding the rice and grounding it to make it a fine paste.She smiled gleefully as she saw the little one,motioning with her stained hands to come and sit beside her.They were companions,though diverse in many a ways,the most prominent being age…..Indu was all of five and her dearest chechi……….she did not know,but well past her teenage.She loved sitting next to her,as she grounded rice into a fine paste for making dosas(a delicacy of kerala).Whenever Indu found the absence of her mother’s scrutinizing eyes,she would hop over to Gauri chechi’s* house……………where she would collect shells,made necklaces out of them,played hopscotch,made green watches with coconut leaves,would grind henna leaves to a goey pulp and then make the elementary flowery designs that she learned to make with matchsticks.
She loved her melodious voice,her lotus eyes,her forehead resplendent with sacred ash and supposedly reckoning a tinge of vermillion to adorn her partition, her thin long fingers which scurried the paste as they found opportunities to spill from the rice pounder,the cool breeze that blew her fringe now and then,her way of tucking her long skirt lest its hem attracted dirt,………..She Idolised her for everything…………
“I want to be like you when I grow up.”Indu said
Hush!!! you squeaky little thing, she said…
She clasped her hands,slid back Indu’s hair and said,”My daughter will go to a big office and not pound rice like me.Never in the finest of your dreams you should think like that”
Indu could not comprehend anything,she stood in awe of her…..in the hum of her melancholic village ballad, in which the maiden called out to her lover……….who had taken a journey northwards….
“Never forget my words,even if I am not with you”said Gauri chechi
Her words dragged Indu out of that melodious trance……
Chechi, “ where does this girl live?”
Who?Before a nano second Indu realized that she had missed something……
Chechi ,”what were you saying?why did you say that you will not be there?”
Nothing my honey,she said.I want you to grow up to be an independent woman,come what may and I will watch over you.
“Where are you going?”Loneliness struck her…………
“Indu,Indu,Indu……?Amma was calling out to her….
“You lazybone,its six in the morning,when will the princess rise from her slumber?”
To be continued……………….
*chechi- elder sister not necessarily related.