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Tide - 5


Part 5

The tuition classes have ground to a halt and in many ways, Padmaja is relieved when she acknowledges it during a telephone conversation with Sanjana. “Their loss, Amma”, consoles Sanjana, “let's see how many other equally-experienced, patient and affordable teachers they can find for their children”. Padmaja does not tell her about the new tuition centre that has opened two streets away which seems to be doing rather brisk business judging by the number of bicycles parked outside the building.

The rains have finally stopped and there is even a reprieve from the stiflingly dense, humid weather. It is the one time of the year when Padmaja actually enjoys living in the city. Evenings are cooler and days gentler. Soon there will be music concerts all over the city drawing visitors and performers from across the world. Sanjana buys her a seasons pass to concerts at music hall which has good acoustics for a change. It is a little far from home but if she walks briskly, Padmaja can cover the distance in less than an hour. “If it gets really late”, suggests Sanjana, “you can always ask Pazhani to bring you back”.

In retrospect perhaps that is precisely what Padmaja should have done. It was T N Seshagopalan's cutcheri that evening and he held forth profusely in Thodi ragam for a good ninety minutes. So much so that the concert over-ran by almost an hour. She did not wish to wait by herself at the bus stand and after unsuccessfully trying to flag down an autorickshaw, Padmaja decided to walk home instead while still looking out for any passing empty rickshaw.

She was hurrying along a short dark stretch when she spotted him about hundred metres away. He could not have been more than twenty years old. He was wearing faded jeans rolled up at the ankles and a pale blue t-shirt. He did not look menacing or threatening. Padmaja noted him but carried on walking. As she went past him, he put his hand out and let it brush against her side. “Eeiii”, Padmaja called out stepping aside and quickening her steps. The young man was now behind her wrapping his arms over her shoulder and fondling her breasts. Padmaja screamed out and he jabbed his fist into her mouth. He whipped her body around, yanked her by the hair and jammed his crotch into her. Padmaja thrashed about, struggling to throw him off. By now he had ripped her saree off and had thrown her on the ground. He was pushing his hand up her legs while pinning her twisting body with his other hand. Padmaja could feel the strength fade away from her as she was crushed under the weight of her assailant. With both her hands held above her head, Padmaja tossed her head, lurching blindly this way and that, tearing into her assaulter's face with her teeth. With all her might, she lunged and hurled herself on him biting gnashingly into his nose. All she remembers later is the enormous weight rolling off her as she gathered herself and stumbled away. It would be several months before she would leave home again.

Comments

Shammi said…
Wow, that got really dark quickly... waiting for the next instalment, Ammani!
Kookaburra said…
all that I could think was how many people would really know that this happens ... I didt! I never thought older women were getting abused. I would have thought it was a joke if nobody said it seriously,... being a well-exposed woman supposedly I was ignorant of this totally. Until ofcourse somebody told me about what happened to their mother. Imagine this lady going to a court in chennai and reporting abuse ... gives me a real scare to imagine how far behind our society is (I was!) in understanding these aspects ... I think this is a very essential piece of realities and I have never read it anywhere else ... never had a chance to talk about it to anyone either!
I agree with Kookaburra.
I had no idea that this was possible either. And the society would think of it as a joke.

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Bio-data

Married for 31 years, 2 months and 17 days
Six cups coffee a day, brewed everyday of marriage
Three meals a day,
At least two dishes cooked, each meal-time
One snack for every Sunday
Big basket of clothes ironed every Tuesday
Average 18 items of clothing washed per day
Three children
1 miscarriage
One mother-in-law suffered
900 sq metre of floor space mopped, once a day
One caesarean endured
3 chicken poxes, 2 measles, 2 fractures, 8 diarrhoeas, depression, conjunctivitis every summer, 1 tonsilitis and countless common colds and flues
1 job held for 29 years
6 hours slept every night
Sex tolerated every 2nd week
Religious rituals everyone of them, carried out
Not one of them, believed in
Lived 52 years and some
Died exhausted

Overheard, “At least she had the satisfaction of having lived for her family”


http://jikku.blogspot.com/2005/02/quick-tale-3.html#c111042815438237631

The Saturday Poem

Found this in yesterday's paper. Again, I wish I'd written it.

-a

Now and Then

"Now that I'm fifty-seven",
My mother used to say,
"Why should I waste a minute?
Why should I waste a day

Doing the things I ought to
Simply because I should?
Now that I'm fifty-seven
I'm done with that for good."

But now and then I'd catch her
Trapped in some thankless chore
Just as she might have been at
Fifty-three or fifty-four

And I would say to her
(And I have to bite my tongue)
That if you mean to learn a skill
It's well worth starting young

And so, to make sure I'm in time
For fifty, I've begun
To do exactly as I please
Now that I'm thirty-one.

-Sophie Hannah

Lost in Post

To a little boy

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Annon's story

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After marrying Padmavathi, he is inviting all of you to a water drawing ceremony at the new well they dug in their house.

Jai Ragothaman Iyengar! Jai Padmavathi! Come one, Come all!

-

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