Lakshmi's toilet has a coat of paint | Milaap
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Lakshmi's toilet has a coat of paint

Written by Akshay Balan Publish date 25-Oct-2017

No road led to Lakshmi's. It slightly reminded me of the times I visited my ancestral home. All around the building, a stretch of wet marsh enveloping through the land. There did not seem to be a single soul in sight. I felt a sudden sense of going back in time, a certain disconnect with the rest of the world. Anachronistic is the word for it, the feeling of being out of time. But the moment I actually looked at Lakshmi's house itself, all of that quickly washed away. It stood tall and bricked, a two-storeyed home like any other modern buildings out there. Owing to the previous night's rain and the cold, chilly weather, the house seemed to have damp walls. Perhaps because they weren't painted yet. Lakshmi stepped out of the house as soon as she saw me. After a few words greeting each other, we stepped in. "My mother-in-law and sister-in-law live downstairs," says Lakshmi, as we walk up the stairs to the top floor. "And this is where my husband, kids and I stay." I nod, look around. The ground floor did not seem to have anyone I could see. "Is no one here?" I ask. Lakshmi looks at me and looks into a room adjacent to my left. Through the door came a teenaged girl. "My daughter," says Lakshmi and leaves it at that. The foyer to the living room had in it a weird assortment of clothes. Colour after the colour of clothes piled on top of a mechanical sewing machine. "Do you do tailoring?" I ask. Lakshmi nods. "That's what I do. It's a decent enough way to earn. There's also my husband's painting work." I start. "Your husband is a painter?" She laughs. "As in, he coats paints on houses." I felt foolish but quickly recover. "Oh. Alright. But how is it that this house is not painted?" Lakshmi smiled. "Yeah, I find that funny. My husband is a painter and yet, we didn't paint our own home. It's just that we ran out of money to do it, really." We reached her roof now. "We barely had the money for a toilet, but we took a loan for that. No part in the house had any paint on it. But we painted the toilet."

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