Our Kamla Bai

  • Our Kamla Bai,
  • With a pierced nose and a bun
  • Both held up higha
  • A rose clipped in her hair
  • Behind her ear,
  • Shouts, “I have come!”
  • In a thin, high-pitched voice
  • That can make birds shudder
  • And glasses break.
  • Our Kamla Bai,
  • With her bangles tinkling
  • As she rolls the dough into chapattis
  • Swats away a random fly,
  • Curses the heat.
  • Our Kamla Bai,
  • Her ears all open
  • For household gossip and workplace arguments.
  • Grins as if she knows all the solutions,
  • But makes her face serious
  • In front of the younger maids.
  • Our Kamla Bai,
  • With dreams of Nokia and a cement roof,
  • Thinking about a Colors enabled television
  • And big gold anklets
  • Dreams on as she chops instead of dicing.
  • Our Kamla Bai,
  • Working seven houses, decidedly skipping the eighth,
  • Removes her pallu from her waist.
  • Forgetting to clean up,
  • Leaves with a mighty air.
  • - Sanyukta Dharmadhikari

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