The Nine Women and their stories

Update Nine Working Days ended 13 October 2013

As Gebal looked out of her whitewashed windows at the sea, the white fluffy clouds gathered overhead obscuring the Mediterranean sun for a few moments. She was thankful that the weather was fine on this post Sabb’ath day. She was waiting for her husband Adonis to return from his fishing expedition and had prepared the unleavened bread for the meal. Depending on the catch she would prepare the fish. However, she did not pin her hopes on anything big to cook. That was only incidental to his real fishing expedition in the coral islands off the coast of Tyre – the murex sea snails. She hoped he could bring back many of the snails for her to help make the expensive purple dye that he could trade to the Romans. And yesterday, Rasaathi completed her vow and as thanksgiving, she climbed all the 600 odd steps to reach the temple top to pay her obeisance. And what a sight it was that evening. In the twilight, she could the see the gathering monsoon clouds in the horizon over the Palani hills of the Eastern Ghats and as if on cue, she had not one but three peacocks displaying their plumes and their shiny peacock green and blue and “dancing” in joy. She knew that her wishes would be fulfilled – even before she went to tonsure her head ahead of her temple prayers to the Young God of the Hills. Kashibai went about picking the leaves from the forests and made the large bundles that she would carry with her to the flower market street. She could not afford a stall in the market and was content with selling her leaf bundles on the streets that led to the market. Today would be a good day, as she gathered the dark green mango leaves and lesser dark circular Apta tree leaves that would be exchanged at the festival 2 days later. She was beaming as she boarded the local train at Kasara – she had and will never know that the colour of money is green, or will she? For her, the green leaves were her wealth! Hansel had grown up along the cold Rhine valley and summer months were cherished…. She wanted to make it special and so she urged her father to do something that would bring the golden sun to her valley. Her father hit upon an idea and planted seedlings of an oilseed just as soon as the cooler spring was letting go of the cold. And by the end of Summer – Hansel had what she wanted – the golden yellow from the sun had swept the farmer’s fields. And the sunflowers followed the journey of the sun from the east to the west broadening the smile across her sunny face. Naome and Phoebe were twin siblings growing up by the Nile River and admired the birds that flew in the sky. How they wished that some day they could fly into the blue skies and see their little village from above the treetops. Maybe they could see the mighty Jinja Falls from up there. And they would share their dream as they ran the five kilometer stretch along to school each day. And a few years later – as teenagers, both of them chose to be separated – separated by 4 seats and an aisle as they sat stuck to their window seats on an aeroplane that flew them to their first marathon run in Nairobi – and from the aeroplane window, they saw the blue skies, the blue colour of the fast running Nile and then, the foamy blue of the Jinja Falls and then the deeper, darker blue of the Victoria Lake. Their day was made even before the marathon run!! Gauri sat on the banks of another river – the mighty Ganges, selling what she had sold since she was a child – vermillion powder to the pilgrims. In all shades of red and crimson. And her helper was Peter who had stayed back form one of his “soul searching trips” and he would spoon the red powder into the folded newspaper paper cutouts and neatly fold it into a triangular “paan”. Gauri always wore the dark red vermillion spot only on her forehead and today – she was sporting it on her parting of the well oiled hair as well. And she was beaming as her friendly neighbor stall-keepers came to wish her. She was blushing a deep red herself, as Peter tuned coyishly and boyishly red too! Luiza grew up in the crowded barrio of outer Caracas – where little shanties stuck to the edges of the hillside as much as to each other lest they fall off due to gravity. Getting in or out of her neighbouhood was a challenge, not only for vulnerable little girls like Luiza, but even for grown up adults – as distances were littered with filth and crime. And then like a prayer from heaven came the car – the cable car that would change the lives of many Luizas. And today Luiza was going to wear the white blouse and white skirt to her first day in school. And with the earnestness and hope in her eyes, she would one day become the first girl in her neighbourhood to go to University. White is not a hopeless colour, said Luiza – on the contrary, it is one of hope; as she went to school! Ingrid grew up in the far north – on the largely uninhabited island of Greenland. She was a good student and when she chose to go to the US for her university education – her parents were not surprised that she chose the sunny state of Florida in the south. She always had a wish – to pick a fruit from the tree and eat it juicily there and then. And when she reached Tampa – she asked the taxi driver to stop by the roadside while she got out and walked into a field and admired the orange orchards. She walked up closer and wanted to pick a shiny orange fruit. Just then Jack was driving along his truck on the orchard and stopped as he looked at Ingrid. He smiled and politely said “Miss, would you like me to pick a few for you or would you like to do it yourself. Maybe you would like the latter”, he added invitingly. Angela was worried as her pet dog was barking at the door of their farmhouse by the Blue Mountains. She urged her father to go out and find out what was wrong – and she followed him. Angela was surprised to see that unleashed dog went running towards the gum tree thicket and stood there barking excitedly. Angela saw the cute ball of grey huddled to a smaller ball of grey and black – the koalas were hurt or maybe they were sick. Her father called the vet immediately and they took the koalas to the barn. The vet gave some injections hosts to the koalas and said that the koala cub was unwell – perhaps something it ate or got in contact with – and Angela was worried. She wanted to be by the koalas’ sides all night, but her father and the vet advised otherwise. She was up early next morning and was at the barn in a jiffy – and she was so glad that the grey balls of fur were looking healthier and eating the gum tree leaves offered to them.


D Street had its share of colour this month. Starting on a rather grey note as the previous month ended and the grey clouds of the monsoon still dogged the D Street skies – keeping the D Boyz’ moods grey as they prepared to celebrate the Navaratri (Nine Nights) Festival. And thereafter, they rejoiced with the colour of orange with Ingrid and built up white hope with Luiza. The D Boyz saw some red on their streets and their SENSEX when Gauri sold the vermillion, but it was a temporary phase as they quickly changed moods to meet the true blue twins of Phoebe and Naome before embarking on Hansel’s bright yellow fields. They ended their work week with the green leaves of Kashibai and enjoyed the weekend with Raasathi and her dancing peacocks and hoped to make a fortune with the colour purple, made by the Phoenicians and so revered and clamoured for by the rich Romans. All in all, a colourful week or nine working days that took the SENSEX form 19500 levels to 20,528 – a good 1000 points up!


And the women and some men on the streets of the country also celebrated the great Devis of yore and now and of the future – as they celebrated each colour – starting with grey last Saturday to the purple and violet of this Sunday. Sometimes, even the “dull” shades of grey and sombre shades of white can have a dramatic colourful effect on ones lives, don’t you agree?

If you have any colourful stories to share – please do write in to me.

Have a great week ahead … Cheers…


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