At length, its silence was broken by a creaking sound. Perhaps somewhere in the house, a door had opened and its hinges complained of dryness.
Popping out from the bathroom on the terrace, Eela – her hair and her two-days-old clothes dripping a watery trail – fled towards the veranda. The scheme was that she’d change into her green dress at the last moment. She didn't want any wrinkles today. Wrinkles meant imperfection and she had a swank perfection in her mind.
to take her turn to bathe.
waiting for a kathak dancer to slip into it.
The purring and snoring went on, uninterrupted.
“These two-a-paisa candies don’t work on me anymore. Give me something real, you bitch.”
How would that sound? she thought.
“Ignore the old crone's swearing, auntie! She has a leg-ache and when she has a leg-ache she swears like a cheated pimp whose cut wasn’t paid,” she enunciated aloud and giggled at the sheer absurdity of it.
Shshshsh! she put a finger on her lips.
Oh how happy Naseem Sahib, her director, would be to see her do such an amazing piece of mime!
But they were unable to exactly construe – not that they cared enough to apply their wits – how less-accustomed audiences judged Naani's avowals.
Again, not that their opinion mattered.
But that of the guests expected that evening did. To Eela, at least.
Breathless and woozy from her swirls, she collapsed on the taut weave of the string-bed and slouched, mouth open and panting. then, falling back on the bed, she pressed a trembling hand to her eyes.
"I'm too happy – too happy!" she whispered and tried to remember all the tragic scenes she had played to sober herself down.
Not a hair on them had moved as if they too were on morphine.
Ah! They had turned around and filed back toward the visitors’ room like a row of black wolves prowling about in the dark.