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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 64 | volume XII | January-February, 2009



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 64January-February, 2009

During the Festival

p. 1
Samrat Upadhyay

Ganesh lay on his back in bed, one hand behind his head, his legs dangling off the side, while his wife rummaged through the dresser for the sari to wear that evening. He watched her plump body in petticoat and bra, her fingers lingering on one sari, then another, finally pulling out one of red chiffon. When she turned and saw him watching her, she asked, “What's the matter? You don't want me to go?” “No. You go,” he said.
    She asked him to help button her blouse, so he went over to her half-naked body, his heart hammering in his throat.
    He went down to see her off through the courtyard, and climbed the stairs back to their apartment. He could imagine her walking down the street, her neatly combed hair pulled back, a tika on her forehead. He could imagine the taxi driver peeking at her in the rearview mirror, unable to take his eyes off her faintly powdered face, wondering what kind of a husband she went home to, how it would feel to lie next to her and hear her sigh under his caress. Ganesh could see her entering the wedding tent, adjusting her sari, her eyes appraising the crowd, familiar faces lighting up when they spotted her, a childhood friend of hers coming to greet her proprietarily, introducing her to guests, the men eyeing her from behind their wives.
    He opened the door to the small balcony and stepped out. Four stories below, in the courtyard, two boys were playing marbles. In the opposite house, the new tenant, a young, bald man, leaned against the window, surveying the courtyard. When their eyes met, the bald man smiled. Ganesh didn't like him; he was too friendly, suspiciously friendly So Ganesh barely nodded. The boys' arguments echoed amidst the frantic cries of the evening birds. The setting sun cast a saffron glow on the houses surrounding the courtyard. The evening, though beautiful, seemed alien to him.
    He had recently told a friend at work that he did not understand his wife. He had said it casually, as if it were a joke. His friend blew into his cupped palms, as he always did when considering a serious matter. “Do you think your wife has a secret life?” he asked.
    “There's something about her,” Ganesh said, shaking his head. Lately he had been studying her; he watched her while she slept, tried to

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