Rukmini is about 65. She is reed thin, with a sari draped around her. Else you could see her protruding bones. She has an almirah at the end of her kitchen. Just behind the stack of steel and aluminium utensils. But she wears all her jewellery. A thick gold chain, earrings with strings going around her ears and anklets. That's all the jewellery she has. The rest she has sold. To get money to run her house hold. She began selling the brass and copper utensils first. After they were emptied out, she began selling her gold.
Her house is a train of rooms. The first room has nothing. It's almost on the verandah. It has nothing though. The second room has a bed. And a mirror in which Rukmini has seen herself grow older over the decades. From a nubile bride of sixteen. Till her breasts sagged and the wrinkles came over and her luscious hair fell off. Every single day of those several decades, Rukmini focussed on her face in the mirror and placed a thick red dot of vermilion between her brows. The third and the last room is the kitchen with a small stove and groceries stacked in the wooden shelf. Here she cooks two meals for her rather senile husband who sleeps on the single bed in the second room all day. Who screams a lot and hears nothing. His word being her command.
She is childless. Everyday, all those years in her youth when she bathed by the well in her backyard, she felt a void in her womb and her eyes filled up. So she snuggles up to the children of others. And embraces them tight till her heart's content.
She has a string of marigold shrubs around her well she tends to. And she also has a kitten. Who she feeds the occasional fish bone to. Sometimes even now, she feels the void in her reed thin body and goes on with her day.