Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Lady with the Kilta

Her kilta carries all her burdens. And her kilta carries all her joys.
Every day.
It is the core of her existence.
Like every other persons’ in these villages out here.
And I am always intrigued by it.
Perhaps because, I have always thought that they use these only in the tea-gardens to put in the tea-leaves; that too only in movies and photographs. Little did I know that a kilta would carry not only their harvests, but all their purchases from the main town too? The list includes almost anything that needs to be carried all the way to or from the village. But now when I look around, I can spot many a hill women, wearing the traditional pattus (hand woven shawls) walking with the backs hunched under the weight of these strong hand woven cane baskets. Of course of late, they have started using the plasticized variant in bright green complete with black broad straps.
And boy, are these women strong? Their daily life is full of hardships, even the narrative of which might sound ancient. At least while sitting before a laptop in a plush seat. But they live exactly that life and they live it happily.
Coming back to her.
Every evening, she boards the bus and sits down next to me. And places her kilta safely by her side. It is covered with a red cloth, tied to the rim of the basket. So I do not know what she carries in it. And I have not had the courage to ask her. And I cannot answer the why this last line evokes.
Sometimes I see her smiling to herself. These days she keeps checking if her basket is safe again and again. I assume she is carrying gifts for her grandkids back home.
The other days, she looks heavyhearted. Perhaps, she has not been able to sell her goods. My brain works out the reason.
Only if I could steal a look into this basket of hers!
But, it is already time for her to get down.
May be tomorrow! Or day after…


  1. What's in the basket?!! Great writing! :) Kept me asking questions, which is really good.

    1. Thank you Cait. I am glad you enjoyed the little basket mystery.

  2. Sometimes the speculation is most of the fun. :)

  3. The look on her face brings as much curiosity for me as the basket itself. I love the words I learn when I come to your blog. You teach not just a noun or verb, but its nuances. I knew exactly what a kilta was by the end of this piece, even though I started off with no clue.

    1. Thank you Jessie. Your encouraging words mean so much to me. I really do not have words to thank you enough.

  4. Now I'm curious too about what's in the basket.

  5. I really love this piece of writing! I enjoyed reading it very much, and could feel the kinship with her you must have felt, and the curiosity.


Since every thought is a seed, I am looking forward to a delicious harvest.