Tirumal Mundargi

She sits cross-legged by the roadside, under a gulmohar tree, feeding her three-year-old daughter the gruel from a stainless steel bowl.

A truck rolls in and unloads a heap of grayish rock. She takes a hammer from her plastic bag and sets it by her side. She also pulls out bits of coir rope and a blue cotton sari, ties the sari across the branches of the gulmohar tree, tucks two sticks a few feet apart so the hanging sari opens up to the sky.

She kisses the pink baby and lays her into the makeshift cradle, and pushes it gently.

A cool breeze blows from the direction of the nearby hill, the branches of the tree sway. As leaves nod, the winter sun plays hide and seek and the cradle rocks gently to her hammer's rhythmic beat.

Tirumal Mundargi has stories in elimae, Pequin, Word Riot, Thieves Jargon and others.

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Photo detail on main page courtesy of Harshad Sharma.

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