The most important festival in the Tamil calendar. I would have loved to take Ammu home. But it is several days since I saw my father. I am staying at the YMCA and Mom cries every time I call her.
Ammu and I meet after work every day, we talk about everything and nothing. Sometimes we go to her house and play with Tiger. I still do not know anything about her family.
Just before Bhogi I got a call from my Dad, “Come home today,” he said gruffly. “Bring that girl also”. The line was cut off before I could reply. So on Pongal day, Ammu wrapped clumsily in a saree and I in my traditional veshti landed up at home. Tiger was left behind to moan plaintively at being excluded.
At the sumptuous Pongal lunch, which Ammu tucked into with single minded concentration, he was at his best dignified self. “I always like kids to have a good appetite” he said as he wandered off.
Ammu left at 9.30 after a quiet, food filled, evening. I went back to my old room and got into my worn out, comfortable old chappals and slept peacefully, like I had never done at the YMCA
That week Ammu was busy clearing her flat of all clutter. “What a good idea it is to burn all the rubbish during Bhogi,” she says. “It’s bad for the atmosphere, bad for asthamatics and pollutes the air, “ I said she looks at me thoughtfully. Maybe composting is a better idea.
Next day she is full of excitement. “I met the paper man” she said and proceeded to give me details about him.
Chapter 4 The Joyful Harvest is the result of plodding, consistent, daily effort