• an excerpt from The Goddess in the Living Room


an excerpt from The Goddess in the Living Room

THIS place is a part of me. A blood tie bonds us. This feeling extends to my children as well. This home raised all of them. My last son and daughter were born here.

All of them studied in that school you can see across from our home. They would have walked down that five-foot way a thousand times. Climbed those staircases a thousand more times. Learned to cycle down this path here. My second son, he fractured his leg while learning to cycle right here. The scar is still visible on his leg.

These walls have watched Aruna, my elder daughter, grow up. Her primary education, her convocation at university, her first sari, her betrothal ceremony. The concrete and bricks have seen her tears and laughter, they’ve seen her anger and disappointments. This place we call home. As the oldest, she received the best of everything. Even her two children were born here.

I cannot comprehend how they don’t feel anything for their home anymore. And they call me mad.

Bonds grow over time, don’t they? They don’t seem to understand the love I have for my home. This home is entwined in my soul. I’m entangled within its core.

Look at these tiles. They’ve worn out over the years, but have retained their beauty. Worn out, like my legs.

Every nook and cranny of the worn out floor is embroiled in my soul. The flesh of my legs has melded with its body. How can I renounce this bond that has essentially become a part of me?

How many times have I mopped this house? How many times have I washed it? The walls are begging me; “Don’t leave me, don’t leave me,” they plead.

My second husband, you know him. Santhanasamy. He and I used to paint these walls a different colour every Deepavali. The beds, the cupboards, the wardrobes, the window grilles and other furnishings have changed many times over the years. But it has been the same house. The same rooms. The same kitchen. No changes in that.

This spot in the kitchen, that’s where Santhanasamy was given his last bath. That is the first thing I remember every morning. He left this home in a casket, with fresh garlands and holy ash. The memory plays before me like a scene from a film.

I have enough stories to last a lifetime. Too many incidents and events have happened in these four walls. But who will lend me a listening ear?

© Epigram Books

by Latha
from The Goddess in the Living Room (2014)
published by Epigram Books