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January 2014, vol 9, no 4

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Angelee Deodhar


For thirty one years, just before this particular fast she would get her palms painted with designs of flowers, peacocks, vines, intertwined with her husband’s name. Ten months after their wedding, she got up early, bathed, and after prayers for his long life partook of some fruit, milk and dried fruit.

All day she ate and drank nothing … in the evening she wore a green and gold silk sari, green glass bangles interspersed with gold ones, silver anklets, a bindi on her forehead, and with sindoor in the parting of her jet black hair, looked radiant. Heavy with child, the very first time she kept the fast she could not bend to touch his feet … he held her gently and fed her the first morsel of food and first sip of water … they then shared the food … and held each other late into the moonlit night.

Now two years later, her frail pale hands are devoid of any color except that in her veins…

the stark moon
no longer worshipped –
deep autumn chill