The Dregs of the day


The newspaper lies in a messy heap on the dining table. The sports page
which had been pulled out by Ashish, has rolled down and settled on the carpet
dogeared and stained. The tomato sauce has left a blood red dot on it. I pick it
up from under the dining table. With a wet napkin I try to wipe off the dot. The
frayed pink patch stares at me rudely, challengingly. Colours are indelible.
Even Maggi tomato sauce!

My son is the first to leave the house. While gulping down his cereal and
boiled eggs he usually scans the sports column. I smooth and fold the sheets
neatly. Let me put it away. The schedule for the World Cup Cricket is
prominently displayed in the middle column. Ashish would like to cut and
paste it behind his bedroom door. He will ask for it, I am sure, in the evening.

Bent over the editorial, Anand waves an impatient hand. I watch him
carefully. He is using the back of his hand. It is the curtain, which he wants to
wave away. How thoughtless I have been! It is half past eight and I have not yet
drawn the curtains. I pull at the tassels, apologetically and the lemon yellow
taffeta drapes swish and separate into two equal parts. The low voltage December
sun creeps in through the diamond-shaped grilles of the French window. I look
at the elliptical pattern – a pale yellow – moving gingerly on the smooth wall of
the dining hall. The tiny zeros bob up and down vying with each other for a
hold on the wall space. I watch with fascination. The first imprints from the
outside world of yet another day!

Anand’s hand moves again. This time it is the right hand, palm up not
down. I understand. He is waving in more tea for himself. Over the years I have
mastered the art of reading the body language of my family. I know exactly
what my husband wants. A fresh cup of tea. I remove the used cup. Over the
dregs of the first cup I should not pour fresh tea. He hates it. Words are
superfluous, stale between us. Aren’t they? Donkeys’ years of double
blessedness–harvested together–have not gone in vain. And now in our
foursome bliss–miya bibi, husband-wife, beta -beti, son- daughter, the ideal
family, decreed by the well wishing far sighted government– hum do, hamare
do, we two and the two for us–we have said all speeches and sung all rhymes.

–Why don’t you drain your cup? Why leave always one sip at the bottom?
When we were newly married I had posed the question to Anand.

I am not so greedy to siphon the last drop. Don’t you know it is crude,
uncouth to drain your cup to the dregs? When will you learn sophistication?

But the residue leaves an ugly brown stain in your precious porcelain.
What about it? I didn’t voice the question though. Precisely because I knew
what could be the answer, even in those days. Scrape, scour or bleach. Find
ways and means to keep the bone china sparkling, stain free. The subtext didn’t
miss me even in those early days – what else are you there for?

Tantalizing indeed!

I carefully lift the tea cozy and tilt the jug at the right angle. The honeygold
liquid, frothy and bubbling, gush into the gold-rimmed cup. The aroma of
Lipton’s Green Label blends with Benson and Hedges. I look at him hopefully.
The tea is piping hot, light, just a dash of milk and no sugar. Exactly to his taste.
Perhaps it is the right moment. He will listen to me. I must tell him. I must get
it off my chest. After all, he is the closest to me. Over seven rounds around the
sacred fire, I have exchanged vows with him to walk by his side–or rather,
behind him–through spring and summer to the autumn and winter of our lives.
Yes, through thick and thin till death does part us we are together. Aren’t we? I
clear my throat, put a warm well-manicured hand on his shoulder.

–Anand, I must tell you something.

The business page, spread wide and high above his head like a formidable
wall rustles.

Perhaps he has not heard me. I speak a little louder– Are you listening?
I have something to tell you.

The paper shifts slightly to the left. The eyebrows knit together into a
question mark and there is a big frown on his sleep-flushed face. –What is it?
You know very well, I have no time for gossip. Your Princess Club is gearing
up for another theme party? Or someone is off to New York? Who is it this
time? Neena or Meena?

He mimics and ducks under the business page once again. –No. No.
Nothing like that. It is something serious. –Then spare me. I hate tête-à-têtes,
especially in the morning. For God’s sake let me conserve my energy. Don’t
you know I have a hectic day ahead? But of course, why should you care?

Oh! Anand, how can you say that? Should I remind you? When you
were going through a lean patch, when your proposals for promotion sales in
South East Asia were pooh-poohed, downright rejected by the MD you whisked
me away so that I could nurse your bruised ego. Ashish’s sprained ankle, Shalu’s
tenth class examination, Mother’s unpredictable bronchial attacks; nothing could
deter you from your antidote trip to Goa. And I towed along dutifully, tearing
myself away from all my duties and commitments. But when I returned, I still
remember… what searing looks my mother gave me! The torturing strategies of
my son and daughter, their silence and non-cooperation! They called it a great
betrayal. Did you have any idea how I felt? I faced all of them single-handed. It
took me a month to win them over. Of course, you bought me a string of
expensive freshwater pearls as a token of your gratitude, which I gratefully,
gracefully wear around my neck along with my mangalsutra. Still you say, I
don’t care for you!

-Beyond your cooking range and curtains can you see anything at all?

Anand, did you feel that way when I defeated you in the college debate
on the virtue of speech over silence? You said that you admired my fiery feminist

How I argued then! Words have handles and edges; they are your weapon,
power, and your glory. Use them as you like, I screamed. Toss and juggle,
banish and bury whoever you choose to. Silence is shame, surrender, and slavery.
Oh! I did wax on! But now – don’t I know silence is golden? When your teenage
kids throw tantrums, it is better to defeat them with silence. When your husband
raves and rants that he is not a money-growing tree it is better to smile like a
sphinx and wait silently. Isn’t it so? I keep wondering.

–The MD is in town. I am seriously thinking about the subtle terms of
wage fixation. The agreement has to be signed today. Like a good wife, you
had better think of fixing a good dinner for the Board of Trustees and directors.
If only we could wangle a foreign posting! Think of the future of our children.
Get in touch with the MD’s wife. She has a long shopping list. Take her out to
CP or South Ex. What kind of a wife are you? Don’t you think you should have
suggested all this yourself?

–As an ambitious executive’s wife you must plan and plot shortcuts to
my success. But you have neither any pull nor any drive.

What kind of drive and pull? Like Mrs.Vamanan? I should bounce my
bobbed hair and flutter my mascara-smudged eyelashes at the Board of Trustees?

–You know nothing about the world outside.

Do you want to protect me from the outside world, or do you grudge me
my glorious shelter?

–Of course, you are a frog in the well.

He adds tolerantly, fondly, happily. A bit triumphantly– I suppose.

I know I am a frog in the well. Yet the blue vault does beckon me. And I
do try frog leaps, my leap tricks, once in a while. If only you cared to know!

Don’t you see how unhappy I am? The shock, the shame – I feel it written
all over my face. But you don’t have eyes to see me. Why don’t you at least
listen to me? I know you have no time for any one of us in the morning. You are
planning your meetings, appointments, projects and proposals. But pray, when
can I plead for an audience? In the evenings? Oh! no! After a day’s harrowing
work when my man comes home how can I burden him with my sob stories?
Even my maidservant, living in the juggi across the road, knows what to do. I
should know better. At night? Impossible. Anand has told me time and again;
nights are for him – exclusively. For unwinding and rewinding – for himself
again – so that you keep ticking for another lousy day. What is that supposed to
be? A metaphor? Time trap or time warp? It is beyond me. Doesn’t Anand
know it is a long time since I tossed Kahlil Gibran, Eliot and Tagore out of my

I clear the cups and saucers, pack the briefcase with sandwiches and
fresh orange juice, his mid-day health meal. Wholesome, cholesterol free,
befitting a busy corporate executive. All the while, I congratulate and console
myself; I am a useful promotion plank to my husband. – -Of course, dear, I will
ask Mrs. MD where she would like to go for shopping. Perhaps you could
invite the Board of Directors tomorrow for dinner. I will plan an excellent menu.

I murmur my assurance as he slams the front door on me without a

The house needs to be spruced and dressed for tomorrow’s event. Armed
with spray guns and scrapers, brushes and mops I set out, witch-like, seeking
my prey. Flies are chased beyond the net doors. The corpses of roaches and
rodents, the victims of last night’s raid are swept and piled. The maid will have
nothing to do with their burial. To steal a hundred rupee note or a pair of gold
earrings is no big deal. But to kill a rat or a moth is a grave sin, a paap, for
which she may have to do penance, god knows how many more gruelling cycles
of birth! I pick the carcasses and bundle them into a paper bag and bury them
unceremoniously into the dust chute. The spider-silk hammock, which has
sprung up stubbornly once again behind the bookshelf wakes me up into instant
action. In one vengeful sweep my long hooked brush dismantles the gossamer
strands into shreds.

And I enter the sanctum sanctorum of my kitchen, my karmabhoomi – a
warrior brisling for combat. I spot the Red Ant Brigade, which has surrounded
the marmalade jar. I declare open war. Sprays and powders are not enough. I
have more deadly weapons stocked for such unforeseen encounters. The bloody
ants wriggle and shrivel and pile themselves into powdery heaps. The killer
instinct takes a firm hold on me. I peep and pry for invaders, lying in ambush
on the grooves of the window frames and in the grains of the cupboards. Yes, I
see the telltale trail of the termite force. I fill the venomous solution into the
waiting syringe and gleefully inject straight into the womb of the walnut chest
and all along the panels of the teak doors.

I turn to the vegetables waiting in the colander to be cut and chopped. I
look at the array of knives for paring, scraping, carving and sawing—broad teethed,
two-pronged and forked. Cauliflower, fresh and frizzy like a freshly
pulled out mass of brain stares at me daringly. Yes, the menu is set. Baked
whole cauliflower. I will chop the globular crown into four equal parts; stain
each segment in choicest colours. Red, pink, green, yellow. And then I will
suture them back, anew, into a harmonious whole. I can already visualise the
prize dish. Symmetry in shocking colours, floating in blood- red tomato gravy!
The centrepiece at the conciliatory dinner table! I marvel at my culinary prowess.

The pigeon chicks call me to the window. The tender wings flap flap on
the iron spikes. I hope they will not hurt themselves. Their screech – they
have not yet learnt the mature ‘gutttoor, guttoor’ of the wily mother pigeon —
is a desperate call for grains. Poor things! Trapped in the exhaust of my kitchen
they are solely dependent on me for their survival. I do not know how they
found their way into this smoky, smelly dungeon hole. When Anand insisted
on putting an iron frame around the exhaust I tried my best to dissuade him.
Already on the three outer walls of my castle in air, air-cons had been caged.
But to ward off the ingenious burglars, we had to seal all possible entries. Hence
this added eyesore, high above the kitchen window.

For a few days I watched the mother pigeon guarding her babes from
outside, trying desperately to drop morsels to the tiny beaks. When I willingly
took the chore of feeding them – it was much easier to throw grains from inside
– she promptly winged away, perhaps to raise another brood somewhere else.
Was she happy, to have found a surrogate mother for her babes? Or true to the
privileges of the feathered world, she didn’t quite care, any longer? A couple of
days more, they may be strong enough to brave the big bad world. And then,
sure enough, they will go looking for worms and filth to feed themselves. The
wholesome healthy grains, I picked for them, may turn distasteful to them! Who
knows! if I still insist on feeding them – and if they can reach out to me – they may
peck and snap at my outstretched palm! I shouldn’t be surprised. Have you ever
heard that the young are grateful to the old? In the mean time, I must find the key
to the grille. It must be lying in among the junk on the loft. I never thought I
would ever need it. If I can’t find the keys I must ask Kishen, my maid’s husband
to scale the wall and break open the grille. At whatever cost, these pigeons must
be thrown out.

The doorbell squeals, two long peals followed by a short and abrupt
one– the signature bell of my son, Ashish. I step back as he barges in – he never
walks, always like a storm, on his wings whether on the stairs or on the road or
between the wickets. He has an athletic body, stocky and strong, broad

–See Mamma, Almonds and chicken soup have not gone waste.

He makes me feel his rippling muscles, bulging under his sweatshirt.

Except for his broad forehead and crooked nose, he has nothing of his
papa, nothing of me either. He is happy as he is. Good, he owes nothing much
to his father or mother. He flings his cricket kit and books on the sofa. Ashish is
a hardcore cricketer. He refuses to tread on the line chalked out for him by his
father. No engineering, no medicine. He dreams of conquering the world – as a
star bowler. Wherever he is, he is spinning, pitching and bouncing an imaginary
ball. I have a tough time guarding my crystals when he is around— especially
when he is on the bowling run, practising his googly action. Anand only sniggers
and grumbles at his son,,

–As though he is going to be another Gavaskar! There is only one
Gavaskar in a million and I am sure, your son is not that one in the million. Put
some sense into him. At this rate he has no chance in India – even to become a
glorified clerk. I must slog for a posting abroad so that I can hoist him on a

The eternal tiff between the father and son! How long can I be a buffer?

Over his favourite stuffed paranthas and lassi Ashish announces the
good news, he is selected for the zonal match. That is wonderful. I am proud of
my son. After all, his talents are recognised. Now, he can plan and prepare for
the big event.

–Mamma, I need at least five thousand rupees. I have to pay the coach,
buy a more sophisticated kit. And I must go to Bangalore and Madras to watch
the Ranji Trophy matches. I must get first hand knowledge of the pitch and the

–Can’t you watch the match on the TV? – -TV? Nonsense. Don’t forget
I am a professional. TV is only for amateurs. The whole team is going. The
coach is accompanying us. You tell Papa and get me the permission and money
for the trip–What about your mid term exams?– Oh! Exams, maaro goli! I am
not slogging for a petty degree!

You tell Dad and get me the money, and the permission to go to Madras
and Bangalore. If I talk to him, there will be big showdown. You manage it. As

Yes, as usual, I will have to manage.

I can talk to Ashish about it. Can’t I? Why didn’t I think about it earlier?
After all, he is a grown up boy, almost twenty. For the last two days I have been
carrying this burden, all alone. The humiliation and the hurt, the sorrow and the
shame! My son always says I am a good listener. I am sure; he will be willing to
listen to his mother, for once at least. He will understand my feelings.

Ashish, your friend Bunty….

–Oh! Bunty… No he hasn’t got a berth in the team. Are you disappointed?
Don’t worry; you have already given him a big boost. You have promoted him
as a driving instructor. I saw him the other day, surrounded by a bunch of pretty
girls. His disciples he says. The rogue is having a swell of a time. And he is
making good money too!

–No Ashish it is not that. It is something terrible. You know, yesterday…

–Oh! Come on, Mamma; don’t bore me with your stories. Don’t I know
what happened yesterday? You stood in the queue for full two hours, in the
shivering cold, to pay the electricity bill on the very last day. So what? All
mothers do such things. Stop complaining. If it is so painful, why don’t you ask
the watchman to pay the bill? The lady in the opposite flat does so. But you
wouldn’t. Simply because you want to save thirty rupees! And now you want
me to sympathise with you? Come on Mamma, don’t be so demanding!”

Demanding! My dear son, when your college unceremoniously dropped
you from the cricket team, when you were moping at home who had gone to
the principal to plead for you? I convinced the Principal that it was unfair to
overlook a talented boy just because someone from a politically connected family
had to be accommodated. How proud you were of your mother! Have you
forgotten all that? Why don’t you give me a chance to tell you, what is weighing
on my mind? Am I only a peg on which you can hang your woes? What about
my woes? Do you think I do not have any?

Ashish has already shuffled out of the door. He must reach the stadium
on time for the net practice. He has no ears for me. He has better things to do
than listen to my story, my litany as he says. Clad in white pants and the black
and white sports jersey–which I knitted for him so painstakingly this winter–
he looks every inch a professional. I hear him racing up the stairs again. He
bangs on the door with his sister’s letter, which he has picked up from the

Shalu’s letter is full of news. She is in class twelve, the last year in
school. I was never in favour of sending her so far away, to the residential
school in the hills. But both Anand and Ashish argued she must get out of my
shadow. My daughter said, she wanted to be independent. Ultimately, when
mother took to bed, I knew I couldn’t ask Shalu to share a room with her any
longer and I was forced to take the decision. Two years in that school have
played havoc on her priorities. She no longer wants to be a lawyer or a journalist.
She is dreaming of becoming a model. Shalu’s letters are as chirpy as she is.
She admonishes, justifies and commands.

–You must tell Dad, I don’t want to do journalism. Catch me bending
over books and dictionaries! Sheer waste of time and energy. I have all the
resources within me and I know how to exploit them.

Yes, dear. Wavy hair and light eyes from Mamma, height and confidence
from Papa. Haven’t you really managed to balance the resources of the family?

— Mamma, you must ring up and find out the admission details from all
the Image-building Schools in the city. There are five of my friends— apart
from me–who would like to join the course. Who knows Mamma; I will be
groomed into the next Miss Universe! Imagine! As an ambassador of my country
I will spread the message of love and compassion around the world Oh! Shalu,
this is outright plagiarism. You are quoting Ex Miss Universe, with no quote,
unquote. Well, Shalu, I am willing to listen to your dreams. I wish and pray
they come true. I am not going to tell you that there is only one Aishwarya in
the million and I am sure that you are not that one in the million.

How come, you have not asked anything about my health or about your
Nani Never mind. You are interested in knowing your father’s itinerary to
Europe. Yes, I will write to you about it. Why not? You must send the list of the
cosmetics you need. I will remind your father to get them.

I clear the books and cassettes, strewn around the drawing room. Anand
hates to see a slovenly home. The evening meal is simple and homely, just a
dal, papads and a spicy coconut chutney. Tomorrow’s continental fare will be
fancy enough! Dinner over, he has settled on the sofa and fills his pipe with
tobacco. Anand takes his pipe out only when he is in a relaxed mood. The
meeting seems to have gone well. Tiger, our Labrador sits crouching on the
carpet and stares at him. Anand knows he hates the pungent smell of tobacco.
He blows, deliberately, a full whiff on to the puzzled face of poor Tiger. Laughs
heartily as the dog breaks into an irritated bark. The soft melody of the Moonlight
sonata, the surround-sound of the high-tech music system slowly fills the room.
But it is the night of amavasi, I remember distinctly. A no moon night. Not
even a shadowy, sketchy wedge anywhere in the sky. Over the haunting strains
of Beethoven, over the bright glow of his cigar and the diffused light of the
table lamp– he winks and smiles at me. I am conscious of his eyes following
me. I gather my shawl carefully around my bare shoulders. He whistles softly,
obviously not for Tiger. A signal I may not overlook.

The clock strikes eleven as I heave myself out of my husband’s loving
arms. I must check the security of my home. Latches, bolts, locks and chains,
every thing has to be in order.

I open my mother’s room and peep in. My mother is confined to bed
partially paralysed. She has lost her power of speech, not that she was ever,
very articulate. The nurse tells me she has refused to take her medicines. It was
my duty to give her the last dose of the day. She looks at me accusingly. I pick
up the tablets and gently coax her to take it with a draught of milk. Mother
blinks her eyes. The movement of her lashes is measured. Long and short, fast
and slow. That means she wants to tell me something or she wants me to tell her
something. My heart quickens. There is hope. There is someone who wants to
listen to me. Yes, my mother. At last let me pour out my anguish, my shame.
Ma. You know what happened. Imagine, a slip of a boy, as old as Ashish,
young enough to be my son–how could he? I must tell you everything from the

-You remember, don’t you, my one big ambition in life was to learn
driving? And it was an eternal joke at home. Anand, Ashish and even Shalu
were excellent drivers. But no one was prepared to teach me. No mechanical
sense, no road sense, no common sense. Each one of them brushed me away.
That is why I had asked Bunty, Ashish’s flashy friend to teach me. I took my
lessons very seriously, Ma. With full concentration, I tried to master the dynamics
of driving. The gears, the clutch, the steering, I studied the minutest detail.
Bunty said I was an excellent student. Soon I learnt how to synchronise the
hand movement with the footwork, more meticulously than a Bharatnatyam

How I had enjoyed my power, the power- on-wheels! Ignite, push, probe,
manipulate, break, reverse and race! Like a performing artist, I mastered every
trick of the art. The vehicle, beneath my hands, readily responded. It was thrilling!
Carefree, I swerved and swung, cruised and sailed on highways and roundabouts,
on kutcha and pucca roads.

Monday was the last day of my lessons. It was only a matter of time.
The laminated magic card, my license to mobility, freedom and bliss would be

And think of it, I have earned it all by myself. Once the lessons were
over, Bunty suggested stopping at the cyber cafe. He said he had to send an
email to someone abroad. I didn’t mind. Before he went in he ordered an ice
cream for me. So thoughtful of him.

A soft whistle behind me, followed by a long shrill one. I didn’t bother
to look up. I concentrated on manipulating one more scoop of vanilla into my
mouth. Yet another long whistle. A little. louder and closer. Danger signal or a
joke? I looked around in alarm. Two boys dressed in jazzy jackets. They were
walking straight towards me. What could they want from a simple housewife
like me who had neither money nor any jewellery on her? I was more amused
than annoyed. If they were up to some mischief I would leave them to Bunty.
He would know how to deal with them. I chuckled to myself. – Bunty boy, here
we are.

Oh! God! they knew Bunty!

–We have been waiting for long. Won’t you introduce us to your very
young student?

Bunty laughed and slapped them on their shoulders. Were they Bunty’s
friends? I couldn’t believe my eyes or my ears.

Come on, let’s drive to my flat.

It was the taller one who said that.

Was it a conspiracy? Somewhere at the back of my neck I felt an icecold

Age is no bar.

The one with the moustache broke out in a singsong voice.

Around the vacant red plastic chairs, and me they formed a formidable
ring. The three of them. I looked frantically from one face to another. Like
nightmarish dragon masks they loomed above me ominously. My heart
drummed. Was this happening to me? I couldn’t believe it. Yet it was like a
scene somewhere, sometime seen and forgotten.

Do you remember the leopard boys whom I saw once in the courtyard
of your ancestral house? Wasn’t it during Onam time? They rolled their eyes,
lolled their tongue and pranced to the beat of the drum and I watched them
panic-struck. I remember, you told me not to be scared.

Don’t be silly, it is only a make-belief game to entertain you. Can’t you
see, they are wearing masks?

One of them had even removed his mask and pacified me. But these
devils… sans mask, yet…

I should give them a tight slap. I knew I must. But my hands wouldn’t
move. I must shriek and call for the police and get them handcuffed. I knew I
should. But my voice was stuck in my throat. I should get up and run, but my
legs felt limp and lifeless. What was this strange unknown feeling … was this
fear? I do not know how I managed to fling the chairs at them. And I ran as fast
I could. I heard the devils laughing as though their lungs would burst. I dared
not look back.

Ma, tell me where did I go wrong? Was it unwise on my part to have
asked Bunty to teach me driving? Did I lead Bunty on? But why the hell should
I blame myself? How can the young be so irreverent and cruel?

Mother, you once told me a story, of a little girl and a bumblebee … not
only a bumble bee… there was a loyal mongoose too… And I remember, there
was also a devoted dog. You always told me fables and parables— with all the
morals and taboos intact. The little girl goes dancing to the bumblebee and asks
– – Will you come to play with me?

The bee buzzes a firm no. The flower waits for him He must go and
gather nectar. The girl goes prancing to the mongoose. She pleads.

Come play with me.

The mongoose squeals a firm no. I have to chase snakes from the garden,
says he. She hops to the dog, come play with me, she begs. The dog barks a
firm no, says he has to guard his master’s door.

Shamefaced, the little girl goes back to her school. I can still see the
little girl, crest-fallen creeping back to her loathsome school. Why did you tell
me that story, Ma… not once but many times?

Yes, you were right. The bee and the mongoose and the dog had
something better, something more important to do.

Why have Ashish and Anand better things to do and no time to listen to
the cry of my heart? Ma why must I wait on others all my life? Tell me what
should I do? Please tell me.

My mother is fast asleep! I know she cannot speak.

But she hasn’t heard either. Not even a single word! She snores calmly
without a care in the world! I look at her in dismay. Oh! You too, Mother!

I pick up the paperweight from the side table, which sits safeguarding
the prescriptions and the medical bills of my mother. I fling it across the wall.
With a loud thud it falls on the marble floor and breaks. The glass bubbles–
translucent, like tears enclosed in it– fly around the room in splinters. The tiny
specks blink at me like a hundred grounded stars. The miniature leaves and
flowers, which looked so enticing, a while ago, under the glass ceiling – like an
under-water garden–lay ruthlessly exposed. Cheap garish paper cut-outs! Mock
flowers and mock-leaves! I sweep them out of sight. My mother wakes up with
twitches and jerks rocking her wasted frame. The nurse looks at me accusingly.
I have no business to wake her patient up. I sneak out of the room and pace up
and down the corridors of my puppet walk.

Through the stillness of the dark, the grandfather clock strikes,
rhythmically ruthlessly, twelve times. Loud and clear, like a trumpet. The end
of the night or the end of the day? I listen to each chime, its resonance — as it
sinks into the brimming, liquid silence of the night.

Another day waits -inexorably. I must cut and hack, halve and quarter,
weigh and measure and dole out yet another day. The Board of Directors, The
MD’s wife, her shopping list, and the dinner party, Ashish’s and Shalu’s future.
The merry-go-round lurches and spins. From one closed circle to another. Is
there no way out?

But of course, first things first, I remind myself. The pigeon chicks!
They must be thrown out into the big bad world. At any cost. Yes, today. If I
cannot find the key to the exhaust trap, I must ask Kishen to scale the walls and
break it open.

Is Reader at the Department of English, Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi. Has published several short stories and articles in journals and magazines in India and abroad. Won the Commonwealth Prize for the best short story of the yerar 1998. Her first volume of short stories titled The Warp and the Weft and Other Stories was published in 2001.

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Is Reader at the Department of English, Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi. Has published several short stories and articles in journals and magazines in India and abroad. Won the Commonwealth Prize for the best short story of the yerar 1998. Her first volume of short stories titled The Warp and the Weft and Other Stories was published in 2001.

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