It was the first time I was stepping out of the house after the hysterectomy.
My husband wanted to make the ride special for me. He stopped the motorbike at a flower vendor’s stall. Not the fashionable florists who sell unappealing flowers but one of the several women who sit by the roadside in Chennai stringing fresh, alluring, fragrant jasmine.
We stood watching her as she held one end of the jasmine string with the fingers of her left hand and measured it tactfully with her right all the way to her elbow and some more. Here, she cut it and gave me the flowers with a smile. I was tucking them into my hair when something nudged me from behind. Something with a big, wet nose.
A calf, brown with a white patch on its forehead, was prodding me to pet it. I put my arm around its neck and fondled it.
“You must be a kind mother,” the flower seller said. “Animals, especially young ones, know a mother’s kindness by instinct.” I smiled. Mine was a womb that had brought forth no offspring. And now, even that womb is gone.
a speck of green