Summer Vacation – 4

The woman whom Muthassi called Bharati mused, ‘Motherhood and moonlight are alike, so comforting, so essential to life. There can be no happiness without either.’

At this point, Muthassi suddenly stood up and straightened her mundu. She said,’You must excuse me. It’s nearly four o’clock. I must go to the kitchen and see if tge coffee is ready. My servent Achutan is a slowcoach; he never does anything on his own. You come with me Ammu. Let’s see what he is up to.’

Achutan was sitting on the kitchen floor, arranging parippu vadas on a plate. The mundu that he was wearing was as black as the kitchen walls. He got up as soon as he saw Muthassi and said,’I could’nt get poovan bananas, so I got the Mysore varaiety.’

‘Hmm,’ said Muthassi, signifying assent. She lifted the lid of the coffee kettle with a kitchen prong to check whether the water was boiling. The fireplace was lit by a small hurrican lamp.

‘Achutan,’ Muthassi said in an exasperated voice,’ Can’t you clean this lamp at least once in  while? Do I always have to remind you of everything?’

‘I did try to clean and polish that lamp,’ Achutan replied.

‘The soot won’t shift though. I think its is time to change the glass.’

‘I don’t think the glass needs to be changed. You are just looking for an excuse to avoid work.’

Then Muthassi bent her head to examine the bananas that Achutan had arranged on a plate. I had often caught Achutan watching me with that knowing look. I turned my face away in distaste.

‘Achutan, bring four plates of bananas and vadas to the Tekkini. Let the child have her snack here.’

I asked,’Can’t I have my snack at the Tekkini too?’

An emphatic ‘No’ was the answer.

‘Why Muthassi?’

No explaination, from Muthassi. Just a curt,’ That’s the way I want it done. That’s all.’

As Muthassi stepped out of the kitchen, she instructed Achutan in a lowered voice, ‘Before you pour milk into our coffee make sure you have set some aside for Ammu to drink at night. You don’t have any discrimination Achutan, and sometimes your excessive gengerosity to outsiders can be trying.’

Achutan looked at me once again with the same sly knowing grin. As soon as Muthassi left the kitchen he leaned on one leg on the wall next to the fireplace, removed a bidi from behind his ear, and said to me in philosophical tone,’Do you know where Achutan drwas his life energy from? It’s from this bidi. Not from tea or cooked rice or rice gruel – Achutan cannot function without smoking at least two budles of bidis every day. Do you know child?’
I did not reply. Achutan  lit a bidi and started to smoke. He then lifted the coffee kettle off the fire, using a folded piece of paper.

‘ I will give you your milk first. Only after that I will serve the others their coffee. Satisfied? Don’t you know that Achutan cares for you more than anyone else in this house?’

I sat on the steps leading to the kitchen verand, e reah. Achutan thought I hadn’t heard what he said. So, biting on his bidi he repeated with a peculiar slure, ‘ Do you know it?’

I laughed scornfully.

At this, Achutan removed his bidi from his mouth and put it away by fireplace. He continued earnestlty, ‘ Not merely in this house. In the entire village, there isn’t a single soul whom Achutan loves as much as he loves you. Are you aware of that child?’


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Chandu
    Jul 11, 2009 @ 11:08:04

    aah interesting, when will the next episode posted up?


  2. Sum
    Aug 18, 2009 @ 19:21:32

    Hmmm… read the two episodes in one go just now…. Actually read the whole thing again, as i had kinda forgotten…. hadn’t had time all these days at all…. So when’s the next part coming up???


  3. preeti prasad
    Aug 31, 2009 @ 13:07:32

    Chandu N Sum,
    Sorry i took too much of time to post part4..I will post remaining parts very soon..I have been busy and lazy


  4. Ricky
    Aug 31, 2009 @ 13:25:17

    Ek aur nayee character ke entry…interesting 🙂


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