My day did not start well. There was some trouble in the stomach. It was nauseous and I felt like throwing up. There was excessive saliva and dehydration too.
Was it the biryani packet I rummaged late last night? Or the junk food I keep eating all the time, when anyone offers to me. How many times do I regret eating food, I am not supposed to eat and suffer later? There was comfort food. And food that gave comfort. I keep eating all the time. Or was it my periods?
I was slowly dragging myself to see if I can meet Echumi akka in the next street.
She was my best pal, ever since I moved in here. She was beautiful with big black eyes and she had lots of neighbourhood youngsters trying to catch her attention. Some were trying to get close to her also. She never used to mind their advances. She was kind, soft in heart and if things were about to go out of hand, she used to take help from her other elder sisters. Her elder sisters supported Echumi and put the other adolescent youngsters in their place.
Her elder sisters were worldly wise, but were always tired and busy running behind their kids. They keep lamenting "what sins did I commit in the past, to be born with these rakshas people?" Echumi used to say their elder sisters looked very beautiful when they were her age.
However, time has ravaged her elder sisters. They looked malnourished, uncared for, by their family. The stress to survive through each and every day has taken a toll on their body and mind.
One look at them, anyone can see that they were sleep starved and totally fatigued out.
A scoundrel on a two-wheeler was scaring my wits, with his loud horn. I was furious. We were eyeballing each other for a while. He would have been burnt if I had the powers.
The loud horn's noise made my stomach rumble even more and it made me even more anxious. I felt like I will shit then and there. An old lady pacified both of us and I dragged myself to Echumi s place.
Echumi had an injury in her leg. There were flies who were trying to lick the blood, caked on her leg. I felt even more sicker seeing her injury.
She did not answer how she got hurt. She just mumbled, some rash driver hit a hit-and-run on her last night. Poor girl. I was about to cry.
She was asking feebly "what brings you here?"
Told her my symptoms from the morning and I told her it is getting worser and worser every moment. I started to cry.
Echumi was nonchalant. Her eyes were sorrowful and she gave a 1000 yard stare.
Least expected of her. I expected her to come close and comfort me. She did not even move! May be her injury?
She drew a long breath and sighed. What she asked, shook me to the core!
Did you sleep with anyone, recently?
I was aghast. I said "No di. I think this could be some bad food, I ate. You know I keep eating...whatever Murugan brings from his home."
Her eyes went wide.
She interrupted. Her voice rose. Her voice was quivering.
"I told you so many times, to avoid the company of Murugan. Did he touch your private parts?"
I was trying to think hard. In fact, he did three weeks back. We were close. His hands were all over me. He rubbed... it felt good too... and the pain.. did not expect that.. that too, from him..
I was reliving my experience, and lost in thoughts.
I hesitantly said "yes". But, I did not understand what was wrong with what Murugan did, and why she was asking this.
She screamed her lungs out.. "I KNEW"
Her eyes filled up immediately. She came close, put her forehead on my shoulder and said this crying softly.
"You are too young to understand the ways of these people dear. Murugan has inseminated you. You will soon get a calf. Every single day you will be milked dry even while your calf cries hungry. Whenver your milk production goes down, you will be made pregnant again. Again and again.. The day you fall sick and stop producing milk, you will be sold to slaughter. My sisters are already going through this. I have just started. You have also joined this vicious cycle now"
I was too shocked and numb.
In a temple nearby, a preacher was extolling the virtues of Gau matha. Obviously, I did not understand.
After all, I am a street cow in Chromepet.