Along with some Ayurvedic medicine that we bought yesterday, a bottle of honey was thrown in for free. The Tamil word for honey is then. I imagine that it's a very ancient word: my reasoning may be fallacious, but most Tamil words are not so short; and the one-syllable words that I know name simple things: aal = man; pen = woman; man = earth; kal = stone; thee = fire; neer = water.

But I don't think of the words' age when I use these others. There's something about honey, its thick goldenness, the resonance of the word then in my head, like a soft bell.

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