Under the Fire Star

Kanakku"Every morning I come
downstairs, put clothes in the washing machine, and open the back door for Mary
(Lakshmi comes a little later). I putter around for awhile and then go into my little
office and switch on the computer. Then Mary comes, carrying a small tray on
which are a cup of luscious south Indian coffee and the daily kanakku /
hysaab
, the accounting of her previous day’s expenditure.

 In this case, the items listed are kolamavu
(the rice flour used to make kolam designs in front of the gate and
the door); potatoes; onions; tomatoes; "en selavu", "my
expenditure" — the vegetables Mary and Lakshmi purchase for the meal they
cook for themselves at mid-day; cabbage. I run down the list with her, and then
dole out some amount for the day — usually it’s not enough, once in awhile I
get some change back and feel moderately triumphant.

That is the first work of the day."

Nancy Gandhi
Visit her blog, "Under the Fire Star"

Print it in Moleskine MSK format
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