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Voicing Silence 7

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Ready, Steady, Charity - 20

Mumbaigirl's words - Burp, goddess, disposable

Ammani's take

Ei Pattu!, called out the young girl, I want this washed for school tomorrow. Pattu deftly caught the balled up shirt that came flying her way. She unrolled it and put it to soak along with other shirts and sarees that were waiting to be washed. But first Pattu had to mop and clean the house and wash the cooking pots from last night.

How quickly these children grow up, she thought to herself as she brought out the broom and started dusting the floor. It seems like yesterday that I helped Suguna Amma bring her new born from hospital. She had been devastated that this too was a girl. A third daughter, Suguna had wailed, why Pattu? Why are the gods testing us? Did we not pray enough? Why, even you fasted so I may bear a son! Why, Pattu? Where did we go wrong?

Pattu had tried to console her distraught mistress. Don't say that Suguna Amma, she had offered, you are now blessed with a trinity of Godesses. Durga, Lakshmi and now, Saraswathi. But Suguna had refused to even handle the new-born. So it was upto Pattu to feed, bathe, burp and care for the infant. Just like she had cared for the child's father.

The years rolled swiftly by and the infant was now a strapping young girl at the cusp of becoming a woman. Pattu always had a soft corner for young Saras and considered her her own grandchild.

Ei!, a sharp cry brought her back to the present. It was Saras. What have you done to my shirt, Pattu?, she was screaming. She was holding up the white shirt in her hand and Pattu could see that it was badly stained from being soaked along with other coloured clothing.

Illai, Saras amma, Pattu started to explain. Enough Pattu!, spat out the young girl, you've wrecked my new shirt. And I don't want any of your pathetic excuses. She hurled whatever was in her hand at Pattu and stormed off.

Pattu bent down and picked it up. It was a small disposable pen that had been twisted in rage. It could have been me, Pattu told herself wryly.

3 comments:

?! said...

I wonder if there are still maids like that. Reminded me of my own childhood. Excellent poignant piece.

The Visitor said...

Ammani... a nice one..

Mahadevan said...

It was not merely the 'disposable pen that was twisted in rage'; the tender heart of Pattu too.