• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 07


He had completed his pre-dawn ablutions
Dipped his frail, young body in the cold village pond
The daily routine over the years having inured him
Of sensations that come easy to a boy his age.
His dark round eyes had learnt to filter the filth
That his guru called all things sensuous.
That's the price you pay to be a seasoned sage.
"Sacrifice nether desires at the altar of devotion,"
He was taught by his teacher when he reached puberty.
"Let your mind be the receptacle of beauty,
Put the hunger in your eyes to divine rest
For a practising Rishi that is the course best."

He has stopped stealing cursory glances
At the milkman's pretty wife
Who comes to bathe the buffaloes
Each noon, a stick in her hand,
Her hair covered with the end of her wet saree.
Resting her tired soles on the boulder by the water's edge
Staring into the distance, at who knows what.
She talks to him sometimes with sisterly warmth
A sense of awe in her gaze at his stern aura,
So unlike a child on the verge of manhood.
He averts her gaze, looking down at his feet
Pressing his lips tight to mute his racing heartbeat.