Those were the 80’s. Gold spot and Torino days. No perils of chaotic traffic then. Back from school, we rummaged in the kitchen, opening containers and stuffing ourselves. There were scores of houses in the neighbourhood, All were within a shouting distance.
In between her entry and exits, one day our grandmother, brought along with her a new maid, who had a pigtail terminated with a ribbon. Adding to our joy was the “advent” of the new girl. She was so frail that a whiff of wind could push her off her feet, but over time she beamed like a 100-watt bulb.
We would wake up to the swishing of her broom in the courtyard. she was a multi-tasker, who did a variety of things. Given an errand, she darted off like an arrow. When scattered things were neatly piled up the next day, we wondered if “elves” were working overnight. She made herself lovable in every way and the way, she beat wet clothes on a stone-slab noisily, with a thunderous pit-pat awakening the neighbourhood. she became a part and parcel of our existence, our prized trophy.
She was an avid tree climber, given any tree she climbed it with the ease of a squirrel, barring the coconut tree. With a bag in her hand, she would start her climb and we swelled with pride when she was at the tree top, waving at us and the sense of triumph on our faces when she came down with the “booty”.
Neighbours looked up awestruck, thus she managed to get a sizable audience. she was by any means the neighbour’s envy and the owner’s pride.
Although she was a climber of sorts, the idea of “Guinness book,” had not occurred to us then. As there was a dearth of trees in our compound, she was at the mercy of a single tree. There were scores of trees in the neighbourhood, but we could not venture, beyond our orbit. “Protocol” could not be violated.
Opportunities came her way, whenever we took her to our native village, when she displayed her skills, by climbing a variety of trees, plucking even the unripe fruits much to the annoyance of the older folks at home, but we were undeterred and she nevertheless carried on her pursuit.
She was through, we were amazed at the amount of information, stored in her mind, she knew where every character lived, though she was docile and lamb-like and took a lot of interest in grooming, with her face powder standing out challengingly. The eyebrows, which flourished wildly were now trimmed and arched.
The passing of time was hardly noticed, except when one or the other of the festivals of the season turned up.
One day, she suddenly vanished into thin air. We were aghast, our world came to a grinding halt. Confusion was at its maximum. Our honour was at stake, our mind was buzzing with numerous doubts. Dreary days followed…
Last heard: our most prized possession was under a “honey moon” tree.!!!!!
We moved on and with time our old spirits were revived.