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Camper From Madras

Shiva opened his umbrella, held it out for her, and helped her get across the stream. On the other side of the river they sat under a tree watching the mist that filled the mountains above, pour down between the trees till they could see nothing of the stream they crossed.

He lit a beedi, drew deep in, a soothing warmth filled his chest. "Is this the first time you are riding in a jeep like that?" he said, waving his hand in the direction where he had parked his Mahindra. "You are from Madras, no? What car do you drive there? It costs 20 lakhs? Mine is just one lakh, and I am the only person in my village to own a jeep."

She pulled her hood down, allowing rain to run behind her ears into the darkness of her shirt. "Give me a beedi," she said. She shivered when she pulled her hands out of the jerkin to take a beedi from him. He leaned toward her to light it, his fingers cupping the match stick. Her eyes met his briefly, a smile danced on his lips behind the flame of the matchstick.

The phone vibrated in the glove box of Mahindra jeep, his wife was desperately trying to call him. Their little daughter was very sick and had to be taken to the hospital in the town.

Story by:

Uma Gowrishankar

10 February 2014