IUCAA, 14 August 01, 7:30 p.m.
As I was coming back from Ambedkar Chowk with Nisha, I saw Suvarna on the doorstep of her house. It’s a bit strange to visit the Shinde’s in “Suvarna’s house” and to see her in “theirs” – but actually no more stranger than being here without Aleika and her family, pets included.
So I dropped in for a chay at Suvarna’s, we had a little chat and she showed me her colour TV, her kitchen racks and her cooler.
It’s nice to be able to do some actual conversation with Nisha, now that my Hindi has improved enough to really allow it. We used to communicate in a mixture of her broken English and my non-less-broken Hindi . which was fun though, in some way.
She told me that Taramai’s mother/in/law died a couple of months ago. Though I had never seen her myself, I had heard about her from Aleika, who had told me about this shrivelled old lady who lived on a bed in the room at the back of Taramai’s house, and who looked a hundred years old. With her husband gone as well, Taramai is now the “queen of the house” (although also a widow, of course, which means a lot more in India than in the West), which Nisha says she is quite happy about. Now, there is nocertainty about this next piece of news, but she might even get a flat in the new appartment block they have started building just next to her basti.