The old lady at my doorstep in the dark envelope of dawn is a letter read thousand times over. We all know what unsightly words she is made of. A letter without the writer’s address, greetings; no comma, no full stop and no question mark. A ransom letter she is. I become the exclamation mark in bracket and resort to become a hyphen with the other member of the family when I am compelled to read it.


The envelope glides down. She tears it open and steps out of it, clad in a white sari, covering her head with the pallu*. She has a long stick with a huge iron hook looking like a malicious grin attached to the end in her right hand; her eyes intent on the kill. One of the Weird Sisters!


This is the time when my flower babies have begun to yawn, shaking off nightly slumber. Mother hibiscus lets the ladybirds, radiating their scarlet halo creep her branches. They will make a meal of aphids once they are spotted. The purple sunbirds will alight for the nectar soon. Mother won’t be surprised if the Red-whiskered bulbul pair comes back this year too for nesting. Last year all three fledglings survived and winged away.


I give a muffled call to the husband. He comes looking like the monster fish forever fixed on the wall of the Bandra’s Chapel Road. “Whatever’s going on here?” he thunders. “Flower plucking”, comes the reply in C Major. “We don’t appreciate thieving; why don’t you pluck your own flowers? Leave at once”, he completes keeping the rumbling tone intact.


She disappears swinging her small bamboo basket where lies my plucked out heart. Her dirty look stays on.


You either become a selfish giant and raise the wall higher or unsee the happenings around you. I am still thinking. What would you do?



*pallu = loose end of a sari



Street Art In Chapel Road | ©SatishKrishnamurthy/Flickr



Posted for Telling Tales With Magaly Guerrero: A Pantry of Prose, 1. @ Poets United. I chose the first option of taking one of my poems What Is A Wall For to turn it into a short story