Dry Water to Quench a Wet Fire-4
“You there, will you push my car?.”
She nods her head sideways.No way.
“Will you or won’t you. ”
“It’s stalled.” ..” Will you?”, Sada Siva Rao approaches her — wiping sweat off his brow. The stench of his perfume overwhelms her.
“Where to ?.”, she asks.
“Yonder, up to our house– don’t you know it ? Up above the hill, just two furlongs away.”
“Beyond me, forget it.”
” Oh, sissy, yet so tall, so stout.”
Two more men pushing the car from behind ” Come, come, lend a hand.”. They hustle her.
“Quick.”, Sada Siva Rao, grabs her hand towards him.
The sweated palm on her hand revolts her. Dirty, muddy. She moves to the back of the car and begins to push it .
Sivayya climbs into the car. “No, not at the back.Move hither,”
He asks her to push it from the flank.
They are within about a hundred yards of the building. It is steeper further.
“Move a little bit this way”, he reaches over , grabs her hand and pulls her forward. His hand touches her shoulder. A strange, impalpable sensation tickles her. Else, she should have slapped him hard on his cheeks.
She pushes the car forward, from beside the front door. It’s muddy beneath her feet. The sharp pebbles grate her feet now and then. She breathes heavily, trying to suppress the gasp, to no avail- the sound suppressed , issues out involuntarily, hoarsely through her throat.
Oh, sissy, yet so tall, so stout. Isn’t it so, that the heckled her?! Am I stout. It rankles her.
Thin waist, tender bosom, smooth shoulders — all this and yet stout? May be this coarse, old saree makes me look fat. Draped in several folds, and tucked in at the navel. Natural, it appears a bit bulging, near the navel. It’s so even for her mamma , for all others too. Guys are ignorant. Any way, better she checks herself up after she goes home, whether stout or not. She breaths heavily. The gale, blowing from over the water, nips her sharply, yet she sweats profusely. She hates sweat. During day , when it’s hot, she would bathe even four times if necessary, in the summer. Sweat, is loathsome. But this sweat, this tired fresh sweat, strangely, it is not odorous. Funny. She stops. Wipes her face and forearms with the free end of her saree.
“Oh, spent already, you, so soon?”, Sada Siva Rao, opens his lips out and guffaws, teeth showing. White teeth. His goggles are horrible. He looks like the devil incarnate.
He stretches his hand towards her. She recoils, steps back a foot.
” Just about a hundred yards more. We have reached almost.”
Alimelu stays put. The other two also stop pushing. They go and sit on a heap of pebbles. She too goes and sits, a little away from them. Resting her chin on her knees. Stars twinkling above. The chirping of crickets appeared to descend from those distant stars. No hustle and bustle of people. Peace, all around. The tiresomeness has abated, Her mind is tranquil. No concern, now, not of anybody, anything. As though she has realised herself. As though she has captured her own identity, her self within her closed fist, looked it over, caressed it and then slapped it hard.
Sivayya blares the horn. The men stand up and start pushing the car again…
“Go ahead, we are there almost.”, goaded Sivayya.
She too stands up.