Saturday, 22 September 2012

The Starched Woman (Part 2)

The 2nd part of Lakshmi Raj Sharma's new short story set in India.
Blog on, Dudes!


                                                        The Starched Woman (Part 2)

She was living on in a limbo as though time had stopped in her life. Nothing interested her. Her eyes said it all. She walked looking through everything, everyone, on her route. People had got used to her and hardly took notice of her starched arrivals and her pallid departures. Everyone in Alipore knew that she was not a ghost. Those that mistook her for one were soon
 informed that she was very much alive and had remained that way for years now. People had forgotten though what she sounded like; her presence was filled with a silent stiffness. She lived in a house that had needed paint for the last decade at least, but paint would clash with the general dullness of her mind; it would go against her sensibility. It would jar and disturb her peace. Peace? Did she live in peace? Who could have known? She never communicated with the living.
Her ancient looking Fiat had the same story to tell. Its paint had given way to rust. She drove children to school in the noisy car with holes in its rare end. The mudguard hung loosely from one point and the faded number plate suggested that the car was normally not used after the wee hours of the morning when she could be stopped and fined by prying inspectors. Only three or four children went to school with her whose parents could bring them back on their own in the afternoons. These children were small enough not to get scared by her manner. The older ones knew that she wasn’t the right person to be with. Her scary silence disturbed children who had grown too big not to notice her ghastly presence. In the evenings, around sunset, she walked alone always going in one direction and then returning after an hour or so. Some had seen her enter a little wooded patch which housed a mazaar in which someone lay buried for centuries. It was said she sat there trying to comb through ions of time. Neela Ghosh was indeed unsocial.

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