She sat beneath the banyan tree and beside her sat her tuition bag. Her eyes were hurt and she was angry. She kept looking at the open well few yards away. She imagined herself floating over the water the next day. Her appa*** will be angry with her for jumping into the well. Her thambi*** will miss her. Her amma*** will realize that she was after all a good girl. She pulled out her homework notebook which was neatly covered with newspaper that her amma had borrowed from the grocery stores. She looked at the handmade label. She and her brother had made it as soon as her appa had bought them their new books for that year. The label read – Kanmani. Vth Standard. She had wanted to write Kannu, just how her parents called her, instead she wrote Kanmani, the name her friends and teachers called her.
She tore a paper from the almost new notebook. She didn’t mind the torn edges that looked like rat-nibbled paper. She wanted to write her last letter to her parents before she made her way into the well early next morning. Her father had gone out of town and would be returning the next day. She would be gone by then. She addressed the letter to her appa and wrote how amma always scolded her for everything, how amma had always loved thambi and did not find time for her. She wrote about how much she had missed her appa when he was gone all the time, how she used to pretend to be studying late into the night, just because her dad would come home late. She wrote about how much she loved her thambi, how much she cared for him and how amma never used to understand that. Tears trickled down her cheeks as she poured out her frustrations.
also” her amma said as she sat beside appa and placed a plate of diced ripe mangoes.
was beginning to feel warmer. Kannu realized that something outside the classroom was on fire. She quickly turned around and saw for other entrances to that classroom. She found a grilled gate that had a narrow passage to the ground floor.
son and daughter. She moved inch-by-inch fearing that someone would be carrying her kids like charred material. Her head went dizzy and she stood at a place not moving any further.
*** Amma (mother), appa (father), thambi (younger brother), kolam (dotted ranagoli generally drawn outside the house using rice powder), thinnai (raised platform outside the house, generally beside the steps or either side of the steps)