Prema said, there is nothing left in the rice jar. We will have
no more to eat unless you ask through the village. But our friends
will want to save in case there is drought. What can they give us?
will be as the Lord wills, Niranjan answered. He stood
up. I will ask Shashadhar first, for his
fields are large. You see, he added, that
is how it is. The Lord will grant us food by warming the heart of
Shashadhar. He will not carry it to us on His head. He
laughed derisively at such an idea.
I do not know,
Prema said, the sadness coming into her heart again.
Niranjan smiled and
patted her cheek. That's right,
he answered kindly, you do not know. But I
know. He slipped his feet into his sandals and adjusted
the sacred thread that crossed his chest from shoulder to waist.
Prema brought him an earthen bowl from the kitchen shed in which he
would collect whatever grain he could; and he set off down the lane
that led into the heart of the village.
Prema scoured the
bowl and the earthen cooking pot. Then she made a plaster of earth
and cow dung with a little of the water brought from the pond and
smeared the back wall and floor of the kitchen shed, purifying them.
She went over the floor of hut in the same way, and after that she
sat indoors to spin thread for a dhoti cloth.