It was quite some time since Maranki had come to Ulimavu. Yet no one had come from her mother-in-law’s place to take her back. Maranki’s parents grew concerned but it didn’t cause Maranki any anxiety. In fact Maranki wasn’t bothered at all. It wasn’t difficult for her to spin out the time here. On the pretext of buying some domestic requirement or other, she would make a trip to Nanjangud at least once a week. Maranki’s maternal uncle lived in Nanjangud. He was well off. Her cousin Mahadeva Naika — Madeva for short — worked as a guard at the temple. Dressed in khaki and rifle in hand, he was always stationed at the temple door. A frisson of agreeable excitement would whiz through Maranki’s frame the moment she thought of him. He was already married, and had two children as well. Yet when he saw Maranki he would be transformed into a young man! As soon as the news of Maranki’s arrival reached him, he would start swearing at his job, and, itching to take the day off, rush home the moment work ended. Once home, he offered himself for a flirtatious chat with Maranki. The fact that Maranki encouraged such behaviour on the part of Mahadeva Naika did put off the others in the household. But the thing was that after the death of Maranki’s uncle, the household was run solely on Mahadeva Naika’s earnings. Mahadeva Naika’s wife Nanji was an invalid. The days when she didn’t keep to her floormat in a corner of her room with some affliction or other were few and far between. Watching her son flirt with Maranki, Mahadeva’s mother did scold him a few times. But by and by, she too retreated into silence telling herself that this was something she couldn’t control.
KeywordsMaternal Home Stone Slab Anxious Thought Bale Fish Domestic Requirement
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