The dark clouds had been gathering for a while. The nor’wester would strike soon, bringing momentary relief from the heat and humidity. Mehru wiped the sweat off her face with the corner of her sari. The boy on the lap was tugging at her breast. He must be hungry. She lifted her blouse and held his mouth to her breast. The boy kept quiet and started suckling her.
Mehru was thinking of the cow she had tethered on the green patch a little distance from the house. The summer heat had parched most of the grass, forcing her to take the cow far. The calf had followed the mother eagerly. Should she go and fetch her? Worried, she walked out of the house, hoping she would chance on someone.
“Boudi, are you looking for something?” Topu asked. He lived in the mohalla across the pond.
“I am worried about the cow. I tied her next to the banyan tree.”
“I am going that way. Should I untie it? Where is Ali?”
“Please do. He has gone to the market to buy manure for the sowing.”
“Don’t worry. You get in. I will unfasten it on my way,” Topu walked away with long strides.
Mehru sauntered in and put the boy to sleep on the cot in the verandah.
She picked the dry clothes off the line tied to two bamboo poles in the courtyard. She dumped them on the cot.