- Hiba Nasreen
The wet tips of her hair soaked her crimson coloured blouse into brown though she had dried them. She looked into the mirror and applied kohl into her eyes and blinked those dark pupils twice. She carefully took the sindoor from her tabletop and pinched it on her forehead and underlined it with a bindi. A smile caressed her lips as she looked at her reflection.
Humming an ancient folk song to herself, she took the Jasmine flowers she had
knitted into a garland and tucked it to her hair. The fresh fragrance of the flowers intoxicated her insides with passion. Once she covered the pots with a lid, she stepped out to the veranda to embrace the setting sun. Her anklets rhymed with the crickets that were calling the birds back home. She took the loose end of her mehandi green saree on to her laps and sat down on her mud steps.
The sky was the colour of her half sleeved blouse and it's elegance resembled her glee.
She watched the world going back home. The birds with their family, the cows, the
sheep, the flowers. And soon, her love would be back home too.
Her neighbor, Narayan Anna saw her in a trance as he returned home and sighed
loudly, 'Jyothi, get inside your hut, my girl. It's getting late.'
'But Anna, he will be home anytime. I am waiting for him.'
'God save this child.' muttered Narayana Anna to himself and told his wife Kuttiamma to
persuade Jyothi to go inside.
'Oyy, Jyothi.' Kuttiamma called over the wooden fence. She couldn't help noticing the sindoor on Jyoti's forehead.
'Kuttiamma, what have you made for dinner tonight? I have prepared brinjal baaji and pulav. It's Arunappa's favorite now. Thanks to your cooking classes.' glowed Jyothi with enthusiasm.
'That's great, my dear. But you should get inside. Haven't you heard of the wild boar that's been haunting the village at night?'
'Yes, I have but how can I go in when Arunnappa isn't home yet? He must be tired from all the work and I should welcome him home.'
Kuttiamma gave out a sob. She wiped her eyes and cried,
'My dear, how many times have I told you... ' she paused to give out a sob.
'....that he isn't coming back.' her eyes lost all control of the tears that were streaming down her cheeks.
'You always say that, Kuttiamma. But today he is coming home.' affirmed Jyothi.
'Dear, it's been a month and you are waiting for him since. Ooo, Jyothi, my girl, he is not coming back.' kuttiamma wailed.
Jyothi stared at Kuttiamma as if she had just heard a foreign language. She saw Narayan Anna come and comfort Kuttiamma and take her inside. She then sat there again. Now more firmly and began humming the folk song her mother had taught her. Her heart had only one thing in its beats:
'My love is coming home soon.'
The sun had replaced darkness in its throne and the world around was all set to go to bed. Not a mile away from Jyothi's Hut, the hungry grunting of a wild boar could be heard.