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by Rugmini K L
(Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, India)

The PAPER boy rang the cycle bell. Awakened, 75-year-old Muniamma sat on the cement platform . She walked toward the gate and collected the PAPER. She went to the back of the house to take the coconut broom to sweep the front yard. The yard had only one big Neem TREE which shed lot of leaves during autumn for which she always cribs to clean, but today she did it silently with long gasps and frequent stopping in between. She easily cleaned the otherwise INCONVENIENT piles of leaves today being her last day of work there.

She has been taking care of this HOUSE for over 30 years now. She took over her husband’s duty on his death decades ago. Her small children has grown up now and got settled. Muniamma sleeps here as she doesn’t get scared to sleep alone anymore. She comes late in the EVENING after dinner at her home. She didn’t want to create some PROBLEMS in the life of her newly wedded son and daughter-in-law intruding into their ROMANTIC chit chats.

The pet german shepherd dog has been very friendly to her and she didn’t feel any reason to be scared sleeping in the open verandah of the huge house. She RELEASES the dog from its leash to guard the whole night. The dog sniffs her and licks her body daily which she IGNORES. Her 30-year-old caretaker job has come to an end now. What will she do now? Her body no more allows her to do any strenuous work as she is old and fragile. Her grief was obviously seen on her face.

Beep heard the horn of the SUV. She ran and opened the gate to find the owner and his wife sitting inside. Behind their vehicle the buyer was also seen in his big car. Muniamma closed the gate as the vehicles barged in. They completed the formalities of handing over the property. Muniamma took her white towel and started to move out of the compound to be called back by the seller, her master for decades. She went and stood by the side of the house partially visible.

He said, “you can join us to take care of our town house Muniamma if you are willing. It will be our privilege to have you there also.”

“Ok sir, as you wish.” She moved out wiping her wet eyes.


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