It was burning hot. The sun was directly above
Rihashini's head, a big ball of fierce orange in
the sky. She hopped from one foot to the other,
unable to bear the heat penetrating through her
soles, hitting her little heart with hatred
Rihashini longed for a
chilled glass of lemonade to soothe her parched
throat. "Only buttermilk," replied her
grandmother. Rihashini itched all over. She
wiped her forehead in frustration and ran back
into the three-storey bungalow screaming for her
mother only to realize she might not have
returned from her shopping trip in town yet.
Rihashini shut herself in the toilet and
looked at her swollen face in the mirror. The
red spots seemed worse to her than the night
before. "I hate this place," she cried to
herself and began scratching her neck.
"Riha! Don't scratch! They will bleed,"
reminded her grandmother from downstairs.
In the week that had passed, Rihashini had
only managed to visit the fields and the village
temple before coming down with severe fever
followed by chicken pox. However, her parents
had decided to stick with the itinerary.
Elephant rides on Monday, shopping on Tuesday
and visiting the local cinema for a nice good
laugh on Wednesday. "Why can't I just tag along
with them?" Rihashini asked the yellow walls
surrounding her. The place felt like a
The lack of meat in her diet was beginning to
take a toll on her already dying spirit. She
should not have gotten chicken pox in this
crummy village. Rihashini felt a trickle of
blood run down her forearm. "Oh, no!" she
gasped. The toilet door flew open and her
grandmother stood there ready with a tumbler of
turmeric paste. "Please, amama! It stinks!"
shrieked Rihashini, watching her grandmother
waddle slowly towards her.