Saturday, May 17, 2014


Last evening, I decided to walk through the gullies of Thiruvanmiyur and Besant Nagar to spend quality time with myself at the beach. The sun had long set but you could still feel its warmth. The breeze seemed to have gone on a vacation. After just five minutes, large patches of sweat had formed on my back. But it didn’t bother me.

I walked about at a leisurely pace, taking in the sights and sounds of life in the bylanes. The grandpa playing catch with his grandson. The little boy trying to catch the hen. The two girls standing on the road, pointing fingers at a political hoarding and whispering into each other’s ears. The clock repair shop that was in serious need of repair. The volleyball match in progress.

I was walking in a happy daze when a grey-haired paati stopped me on the road and said, “Dear girl, don’t mind this paati’s words…”

I stopped to listen. I thought she would ask me for money.

Suddenly, I find her hand on my left breast. “You shouldn’t walk with your breasts uncovered. You must wear a dupatta,” she said in chaste Tamil.

I brushed her hand off and resumed my walk, at a faster pace. The happy daze in my mind was replaced with a buzz of thoughts, not pleasant ones. Yes, she was just an old woman. Yes, she probably just meant to give advice. But strangely, I felt violated. Not only did I disagree with what she had to say, there was also something about the way she touched me. Something wrong.

Thankfully, a friend’s called just then. A short phone conversation later, all was forgotten.


An hour later, I was sitting by the walkway at the beach, petting a stray dog when I felt someone touch me on the back of my hip. There was something warm about the touch. Something innocent.

I turned and found a round-eyed toddler smiling toothily at me. Before I could turn around fully and make my acquaintance with him, his family whisked him away. But that little touch had made me happy.

In the same evening, one stranger had made me cringe, another had made me smile. With just a touch.

1 comment:

Nandhu said...

nice, i read it only now. supero-super!