One morning in January
You have to pee. And the teacher looks forbidding. So you slip out when she has her back turned to the class. The watchman at the gate is busy savouring the day's first bidi with his eyes closed that he barely notices you scrambling out of the school. It should be easy tracing your route back home. Or so you think. You've noticed things on your way to school each morning. There's the green tree with pink flowers, the lamp post with a donkey tied to it, the fishmongers with stalls of dried fish laid out, Nimmy's house, Pillayar temple, green tree with yellow flowers and then it should be home. You quickly shuffle past the landmarks one by one.
You see your house at a distance. You break into a run. This is it. You cannot hold on any longer. There. Another few steps. A second more. You've reached home. You run inside pushing past your mother. Sadly, you'll have to change your skirt. But that doesn't matter, you're home now. Mother's full of questions. Did you come home alone? Didn't they see you leaving? Is there no toilet at school? And then she grabs you, hugs you, kisses you and starts to cry. What if you had been run over by a car? Or a lorry? The way they drive! Oh my god! My child! What would have happened to you? She's practically wailing now. And you don't understand what the fuss is all about. It's not like you're a baby. You're nearly four.