Dry Water to Quench a Wet Fire, A Telugu Short Story by Buchi Babu — 7

Dry Water to Quench a Wet Fire-7

The waters floods into her house with a roar…… Is she dreaming !? No. her feet are wet — the flood waters are inside the house. She looks far. Out. Water ,every where, inky, like a dark veil. Like the dark interior of the gaping mouth of an alligator, it locks around her feet. Tins, vessels, pots clanking with each other, jumping about, and floating down again. Water creeping over her ankles. Rats running around on the cot, waters clenching the feet of the cot and creeping up. Doomsday, indeed, has arrived! “Oh, God “. , she cries aloud and jumps towards the door . Falls flat into the water and rises again. She hangs the lantern on her shoulder and goes towards the backyard. Water , there too. “The end, finis.”, she cries aloud. Calls out to her mother, wherever she is. Then calls out to the neighbors, one by one, by name. No reply. Disaster, emergency. Where to go? Where? “Hither”, , “Tither”, , the waters, the riffraff, the flotsam, the jetsam, all seem to be beckoning her, nipping at her knees. No, it’s not chilly. Her legs seem to be aflame. She pushes on against the flow , into the flood. She picks an old blouse hanging on to the pot-sling. She had mended it earlier as it got torn, it is tighter. She squeezes her bosom into it. Then removes the pin from her plaited hair, fastens it again tightly. Unties the ribbon, squeezes it and secures her unravelling plait with it. The waters are touching her waist now. Funny, so much of water. Besides the cot, the statuette of Venkateswara Swami, the piece of sandal wood is floating around. She picks it up, grits it between her teeth and moves towards the backyard. Is she going to die? Doesn’t the Lord, Venkateswara have pity on her, is he going to allow her to die like this? What great sin has she committed ?Dying . Is it so simple ? Just this, swallow a few dribbles of water and then gasp? No, she wouldn’t fade away like that, so simply, – this tall, stout figure – the heart throbbing so fast, so vigorous. She places her hand over her chest. The fingers beating in sync with the heart, the sound reaching her ears. It’s as though her heart has gatecrashed into her throat. She moves into the yard and stares around. Water, water and more water. She draws her saree up to her knees, gathers the slack , takes it behind, through her legs and tucks it at her lower back , making it into a tight brief. The giant tamarind tree, in the backyard is hovering like an apparition. She would be safe , if only she could climb on to it. But how? It is twice in girth to her waist. A few feet above, it has split into a crotch, a spread-eagled crotch…..

contd 8……

About versa kay

Agile, keen, versatile,considerate,patient
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