On this, her street ...
"No one has seen Thayee. She has been missing for a month. It takes a while before people realise this. Even I, erratic in generosity, have not noticed. There is no way of knowing whether she went to her other sons. Perhaps she fit herself into a void somewhere else.
On this, her street, the last of the vacant spaces was built up, the widow found new tenants and Thayee could take shelter nowhere, except under the neem. She had become frail in the preceding months. No longer could she climb over locked gates or lower herself into garbage bins. Once, I heard her ask a passer-by for money.
So many were the times she scared me, lying on the kerb, with her lifeless appearance. Then she would turn or straighten a leg and the knot of worry would come undone.
I search for a woman with white hair, dragging herself about in a garment the texture of dust. An unlettered woman, leaning against nothing but God.
I find a broken bucket, neem flowers on the ground and an absence. Had there been a body, had there been the finality of death, then it would have fed the very elements once her voice had entered the fire, returning what had first proceeded them - her breath mingling with the air; her eyes reaching the brilliant sun; the mind speeding towards the full, effulgent moon; hearing to all the directions; the self dispersed in ether; the hairs of the body to the aromatic herbs; the silver mass on her head to the trees; and fluids, blood, to the waters of the earth. The name alone would have remained.
Instead, there is hope, and its disappointment. On certain days, I look through the gaps in the leaves, and for a moment, I think I see her, the rounded fold of dusty garment, the slim, brown branch of the tree her arm, and my heart skips a beat, but I am mistaken."
~ Tulsi Badrinath ~
From the novel "Meeting Lives"