A Hundred Gourds 3:3 June 2014

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page 12  

Kala Ramesh - India

The Rajakumari

paper kites stripped off the sky tangerine

For forty-five straight days during our summer vacation, we jumped, playing a different game each week. Aeroplane hopscotch was a favourite. Long skirts held high to avoid erasing the chalk lines, we leaped with our legs spread wide to straddle the lines.

One afternoon a soothsayer walked into our compound leading a young bull loaded with old clothes that people had given him. From the small drum-like instrument fitted into his palm came a constant sound: gudu gudu gudu. In Tamizh, we called these people gudu gudu paandi.

He told my mother he was an expert fortune-teller, and we all showed him our palms. Being the youngest, I went last. I don’t remember what he told my sisters, but I will never forget how he studied my palm and proclaimed, ”You’ll live like a princess.” Only five-and-a-half, I spent the rest of my holidays dreaming that I was a Rajakumari (crown princess).

falling leaves
if only sorrows could be
contained in a palm

falling leaves : First published in the Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts, Summer 2013

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