There was a calm pool of quiet in her heart as she played with a green twig. There were bright magenta 'office time' flowers dotting the thick succulent leaves. She inhaled deeply, last night's jasmine was still on the bush, drooping slightly as the sun blazed. Looking up she saw a pregnant woman, and she thought how a little human was attached to the fluid-filled amniotic sack, so primitive, she thought. A sweat drop trickled down her temple; she extended her pink tongue, tasting the sharp salt of the droplet.
A woman was buying vegetables, a woman from a respectable house hold, her back was a little bent. Her voice barely a whisper. Feeding her children and being presentable by her husband's side were unwritten duties, so she feeds them day-after-day, thinking of new things to put in their lunch boxes. She buys a few matching trinkets for herself to go to the stiff formal parties, this woman with a slouch, to look presentable by her husband's side. The woman buying the vegetables also pleases her in-laws, it is one of her duties.
There are sparrows in a nest, she observes, the mother sparrow is pushing the baby sparrow out of the nest. Sparrow is skin and bones rearing up her three chicks, but she will never be a mother -in-law to lord over the little male chick's life. In nature things are simpler.
She is thirsty, she dunks a steel glass in an earthen pot she had bought in a small town, the smell of wet earth fills her nostrils, she inhales deep as she drinks the cool water. She touches her feet, they become dry no matter how much cream she massages into them, every day as she bathes surrounded by white washed walls, she brushes the feet, first the toes, the nails and then the ball of the heel. Sometimes she scrubs them with terracotta stone. When she was younger, she would mix turmeric, curd and gram flour and when it would dry on her skin creating wrinkles, she would scrub it, rolling cylindrical dark paste, moving her palms slowly against her face, shedding all the grime.
In the steaming heat she sits thinking on the doorstep of the first showers of monsoon, when the dark gray clouds creep silently into the horizon and suddenly the life stands still in anticipation. Air gets saturated with humidity, thick and almost solid, and then suddenly with slithering cool breeze, the heavens open, showering pure bliss on parched Earth.
She stands up, her hair catching the pale dust riding the warm wind. There are birds chirping in the neem trees and the bitter smell of ripe little neem fruits permeates the air. It is time to peel the vegetables and soak the lentils and rice for the lunch, as the squirrels run up and down the tree, she smiles and shuts out the heat across the door. The mustard oil fills the bottom of a pan and her hands get busy transferring the cut vegetables to this spluttering heat of the vessel.