There is something interesting in the way that she sat. It could talk volumes of what was going on in her little mind. It’s surprising how something that is perceived trivial can prove to be otherwise. There was a time when it was something that not everyone knew of. If they had known, they wouldn’t have told Madhavi what they did. It wasn’t that she held everyone like pieces of beetel nut under her bronze pestle mortar. It was just that when she did, she popped it into her mouth and she chewed on the little pieces until they were crushed and red. And when they were too powdery and chewed, she spat it all out, the pieces and all, metaphorically on their faces.
Not too many people talked to her these days. But she wasn’t the sort of person to be disturbed by them childish pieces of stupid nuts. She still sat on her verandah and stared onto the road to pounce on the next person she set her little beady eyes on, for she WAS disturbed by their childish pieces of stupid problems and lives.
She loved new people. They didn’t know about her.
New people…aah…It only meant that Madhavi could eat them for dinner; sit cackling on her verandah at sunset like the fourth Narayana himself, who garlanded his neck with another’s guts.
She sat with her legs folded in two, her behind resting on a calf while the other thigh stood up. The pose, she said, gave her an unnatural balance. She could weigh anyone or anything with it. She dismissed the usual cross-legged squat as too mundane. Her legs slept too much when she sat that way. Her unnatural pose didn’t let her legs run about and play either. But they kept her awake and her mind active, or so she claimed. And she sat and waited. And when some one did come, she listened. And when they were done, they really were.
The people of Perumal Koil Street had better things to do than talk to their new neighbours about her; so they never knew unless they did talk to her, like they did to the others! But the funny part was that everyone did wait and listen like Madhavi. They liked to chew on their own little problems and those of others who told them theirs! In truth, they weren’t too different from Madhavi. Maybe they didn’t sit like her. Yes. That’s what made her different.
And yet she was not one of them. But she didn’t regret it. She knew that she wasn’t one of them. They didn’t deserve to hear what she had to say. And she didn’t deserve to hear theirs. They were sadder than their owners. But she couldn’t stop listening to them either. Deadlocked in her own little problem and legs. She couldn’t get up. If she did, it was to set her legs free. She would learn to undo the habit. The legs and all.