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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

From "Coloured And Other Stories" by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

His wife’s face perked up as they both leaned forward to see a man, riding on the mini tractor, plowing his field next door.

    “Go and ask him,” she turned her face full of hope.

    “Ask him what?” Sundar replied, his eyebrows rising.

    “Ask him what to do with our grass!”

    So this was how he had come to find himself, on a fine Saturday morning, walking out of his house, down the driveway, into this neighbor’s territory rather than seated at the table reading the story of little Jenny MacGill and the lawsuit against her negligent babysitter.  Having reached the edge of his neighbor’s lawn, Sundar stopped and observed the newly clipped grass.  It was neatly shorn, the blades no higher than his toes, and its reek was worse than any Calcutta street.  It was amazing how this green stuff could smell; there were cows lazily wandering the streets, not goats being herded through traffic by little boys with twigs, and yet the little newly clipped shreds of green managed to emit an odor fierce and offensive to Sundar’s nostrils.  It wasn’t dung exactly, more like the odor of warm cow patties laid on roofs to congeal and dry, decimating their stench throughout the neighborhood.


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