I met her when I was five,

It was hard to tell her age

She looked ancient then.

When she died

I was 25 and married.

They told me she was 82

At the time of her death!

When I was five,

She was already a great-grandmother

To many children of her children.

She was not a widow then

Yet draped herself in White

Of soft tender cotton.

It smelled of home and spices

And wild plum pickle in jaggery.

She had skin that was dark,

Wrinkled and loose,

Tender like a young coconut,

and smelled of betel leaf and tobacco.

She never wore a blouse,

Her breasts were big and long,

A whole lot to be held within

The confines of a bra or blouse!

I had eyes only for her boobs

They marveled me so much.

I watched her bent to pick up

A fallen towel from the floor

And wonder how her nipples

Almost touched her toes.

Nipples that had fed

Fifteen children.

Two of them she buried,

Only after a few feeds.

I peeped often from behind a pillar

As she sat near the bath area.

She poured water over her

From a bucket she pulled

Out of the deep well.

The soft white cotton clinging

Wet to her body’s enormous folds.

Her breasts covered her knees.

Once I asked her,

Baudo dida why don’t you swing

Your breasts over your shoulders?

May be you can clean you belly and chest

With soap then.”

And all the women in the large house

Laughed out in giggles.