“Dharmamma, what makes you think you can come at anytime? Have I not told you a hundred times that I must have the floor swept before we start morning puja? All you want to do is eat free food.”
“No, madam. Today my husband fell down and broke his leg. So I got late.”
“That is no concern of mine. If you got late you should have taken a bus. Miserly old hag, walking just to save money. And don't start all your tales. I know all about you people and your poverty.”

“Mama, mama, I am home, mama. Are you feeling better now?”
“O Dharmamma, is it you? I am feeling better now. Did you get the buttermilk from your mistress?”
“Your silence gives me the answer, Dharmamma.”
“Let me go out and see if I can borrow some from our neighbour.”
“Dharmamma! Mind the step.”
“Mama, mama, I have fallen down. Oh help me mama, I think I have hurt my head.”
“Don't move, I am coming.”

“Dharmamma, you have a big gash on your forehead. Let me get some ointment for it.”
“Mama, where are we going to get ointment? Let it be, it will heal by itself.”
“I will get you the ointment and bandages, don't worry, Dharmamma.”
“Mama, who will give them to you, mama? Leave it. I will consider it my vermilion mark; I have not put vermilion on my forehead for months.”

“Dharmamma, you have a bad pus forming on your head. We should go to the doctor and clean it.”
“What will you pay the doctor with, mama?”
“let me at least clean it with water. I will get some clean water from the neighbours.”
“You think they will have it any cleaner than we have, mama, water from the same pipe?”
“Leave it, mama. I will think of it as sandal-paste on my forehead. I last put sandal-paste when I was a bride. I have almost forgotten our marriage. There were laddoos and jangiri, I remember. And yes, a new sari.”

“Dharmamma, let us go to the doctor atleast today. I will find some money or something to give him. You have become so feeble and weak. I am so afraid.”
“In this age, what is there to fear, mama? Who cares if a poor beggar woman dies?”
“But there are maggots in your wound, Dharmamma. I remove as many as I can, but some are very deep where I cannot reach.”
“Leave them, mama. I am a woman, born to be a mother. If I have not begotten any child, atleast I have these, mama.”

“Dharmamma, Dharmamma, wake up, Dharmamma?”
“No mama, all I want to do is sleep. Let me have a good night's rest mama, atleast this once in life.”


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