Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Alpa Viraam - Part 4

She stopped stirring the milk on boil. Someone had rung the bell.

She opened the door to Chinnamma smiling, and smiling wide. Clutching onto her legs and trying to hide behind her was a small girl. Her shyness and nervousness was apparent in the way she was twisting and playing with Chinnamma's sari. "C'mon... let go, this aunty is a good aunty", Chinnamma was coaxing her. But the little girl refused to part from her mother.

Gauri smiled. Her mere presence made her feel as if someone had shone light into the dark abyss of her heart. She felt a kind of peace and warmth she hadn't felt in days. "Come here.... what's your name?" she extended her hand to the little girl. She peeked from behind and gave a toothy yet shy smile. Gauri smiled back. "C'mon now, don't be afraid...." The little girl was still hesitant. Chinnamma tore her from her legs and passed her onto Gauri. "Let Amma work now. You be a good girl, okay?" she told the child. "Her name is Kanchana, Amma. She is a very friendly child. She might take a while to warm up to someone, but when she does, she's an absolute delight!" said Chinnamma, beaming. Kanchana made a long face at having thus parted from her mother. Gauri took her to the front yard to keep her busy; flowers, bees, birds, trees. Anything to keep her distracted was sought.

In no time Chinnamma had taken to the new place and was like a fury unleashed in the house. Gauri only had to guide her once in a while, and Chinnamma was efficiently carrying on with cleaning. Gauri was still a bit skeptical. This could be the initial enthusiasm to win the job; who knows how it will be later on? But nevertheless, she was happy to see the results of Chinnamma's labour.

An hour later, Chinnamma came to Gauri. "Amma, I am done for the day. Is there anything more to do?" Gauri had lost track of time, as she was busy keeping Kanchana occupied. "Now have your breakfast. I've left the idlies on the side table, in the kitchen. After that, wash the dishes in the sink. What does Kanchana eat by the way? What do you normally give her?"

"Oh, she eats anything we make. She loves idlies. I try to get her milk as often as I can. But you don't have to worry Amma. Anything you give us is fine". Chinnamma replied.

"There's some milk that she can have." Gauri said. "Oh, don't take so much trouble, Amma" Chinnamma refused. "No, I insist" said Gauri and walked off to get the milk; an argument Chinnamma couldn't fight.

Gauri was amused to see Kanchana eat. She was picking pieces of idly from her plate and trying hard to eat it. Children look cute when they eat, she mused. Kanchana ate as messily as only a child can. She had fed half of the food to her clothes and the floor. Ah....isn't that how we all learn? Her small rounded fingers slowly picked the bits, trying to get it near her mouth. Sometimes she would open her mouth as soon as she picked it; and seconds would pass before it would be successfully deposited there. Gauri smiled. "C'mon now. Let me feed you" she said. And slowly, she started making small morsels and giving them to Kanchana. She was immensely hungry; or so it seemed, from the speed with which it vanished. "You were hungry weren't you, dear?" Gauri smiled. Kanchana smiled, She was full and happy.

And that's when she heard it.

"Sarakku vachirukkaen, irakki vachirukkaen
Karutha kozhi mulaku poattu varuthu vachirukkaen...
Kozhi rusiya irundha kozhiya vettu
Kumari rusiya irundha kumariya vettu
Sorkam sittu naan seena pattu
Aadai poattu moodi vacha halwa thattu....."

She couldn't make out what this noise was. She went to the kitchen, and saw Chinnamma singing away to glory while washing dishes. "What the hell was that?" Gauri demanded. "Sorry Amma, but I have a weakness. I sing when I am doing chores, normally while washing dishes. Maybe it's because I am standing idle and want to amuse myself. Don't mind Amma... I like to sing!"

Gauri was a bit taken aback. What have I hired? A woman with quirks? But she was oddly amused as well. "What song is this?"

"Amma you don't know? This is a super-hit Tamil movie song... you must listen to it. Tamil songs are brilliant!" Movies. When had she bothered about movies and music? Gauri replied "I only know a smattering of Tamil. I can make out some things, but I generally don't understand much."

"Ok Amma. As you say. But I bet if you listen to it, you will like it."

"Yeah yeah." Gauri replied, half-interested.

It was time for her to leave. Kanchana was leaving too. "Give a bye-bye to aunty, c'mon..." Kanchana waved and gave a naughty smile to Gauri. Gauri smiled back. As they left the gates, Gauri was praying for tomorrow to come soon. She thought, 'But why?'
To be Continued >>>


  1. Read the entire series - like how you weave the story, conjuring up images in the readers mind. The loneliness, the pain of a woman yearning for a child. But why did you have to break it into parts?

  2. Hi Purba, thanks for reading the series :)
    Two reasons why I write in parts -
    1. If I put the entire thing in one post, I fear the length will put off the readers. Some of them might not be patient enough to read it at one go, and I could be scaring people off!

    2.I am kinda lazy! :D
    And I prefer to write when the next part hits me. So as long as the steam and inclination lasts, I write and let it go into the next part. (Maybe this is the more important reason!).

    But yes, the drawback is, it tends to go on and I might also lose interest :(



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