Rukmini wills herself to stay lying on the sofa. Om, Om Shanti, she chants. The ghosts dance, screaming in a frenzy, wild shapes tearing at her eyelids, at her mind. Voices calling out as if to say, ‘Come with us. We have come from far; we will take you away. Come….’ As if a great breeze has whipped into the living room and is tugging at her hair, her clothes, as if the cushions will start to float soon. She keeps her eyes shut. Calmness, Om, Om, Mo. Slowly they disappear, the anger in the room passes. Outside it is still dark.
It is November. Rukmini wakes at four in the morning in England, in her daughter’s house, just like she did at home in India, except here the darkness lies deep and heavy. By the time the sun breaks through the greyness, and shines in its typical muted manner, Rukmini has done her pujas, showered, cooked the breakfast, and read a few pages of the Gita. Then Prasad wakes, and she makes some more tea; they like to drink endless cups of Earl Grey sitting on the flowered sofas in the conservatory, warmed by the electric heaters.
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