Stories From Kaattu Punjai : Neela

Neela crawled under the fence made of barbed wire and wormed her way to the mound of groundnut pods freshly harvested. She shoved handfuls of pods in her inner skirt; she rolled the skirt and tucked it around her thin waist. She dusted the mud that had fallen off the pods, let down her long outer skirt and walked nonchalantly to Kumaran who was loading the sacks of groundnuts into a truck.

The workers were sitting in groups and chatting. Most of them were from the Ongur, they were waiting for disbursement of wages. Each of them carried groundnuts gathered in their saris or waist cloths. Neela went and sat with them.

After paying wages Kumaran closed the money box andĀ reached for his dhoti. He wrapped it around his waist, lit a cigarette and looked at Neela sitting alone.

Where is my wage, she asked.

You have taken it already.

She looked puzzled.

He walked to her, blew smoke on her face, put his hands between her legs under her skirt. He pulled the pouch of cloth and spilled the groundnuts.

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