In the Morning

Every morning I come downstairs, put clothes in the washing machine, and open the back door for Mary (Lakshmi comes a little later). I putter around for awhile and then go into my little office and switch on the computer. Then Mary comes, carrying a small tray on which are a cup of luscious south Indian coffee and the daily kanakku / hysaab, the accounting of her previous day's expenditure:

In this case, the items listed are kolamavu (the rice flour used to make kolam designs in front of the gate and the door); potatoes; onions; tomatoes; "en selavu", "my expenditure" -- the vegetables Mary and Lakshmi purchase for the meal they cook for themselves at mid-day; cabbage. I run down the list with her, and then dole out some amount for the day -- usually it's not enough, once in awhile I get some change back and feel moderately triumphant.

That is the first work of the day.

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