February 23, 2014

Ekphrasis - 9

Her name was Malli. And she loved flowers. Not just any, but a particular pink flower that bloomed on the first day it rained in Sirukuruchhi. The village elders used to say that the queen of the land had died during childbirth on the first rain of that year. She never saw the baby and every rain hence, she bloomed as the pink flower, never to appear again till the next year.

Sangli walked the last mile in a quicker pace. It was said to appear in the wasteland behind the temple, clamouring up the old broken wall of where once stood the king’s palace.

It was raining heavily. Like shining evil teeth, lightening struck in regular intervals. The thunder echoed in his ribs, rattling them. Sangli was armed with an umbrella and a stick, and he made his way through the pile of debris that had been dumped in the wasteland. He had with him a plastic cover and a plantain leaf to roll the flowers and preserve them.

The brooding clouds got darker. The village of Sirukuruchhi looked shrouded in blackness. Sangli could barely see the mongoose that was biting away at some obscure object and almost stepped on it! But it scampered away in the last moment, hurling a string of noises that sounded like abuse.

He finally reached the wall. There were vines covering the entire stretch. He scanned the wall and finally found it. Pink in colour and with drops of rain hugging its petals.

Malli would be waiting at home, a hot pot of fish curry bubbling, clutching her pregnant belly and wishing she could pluck the flowers this year too, like she did every year.

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Maira Gall