*back to part 4*      
62) The prescription of Bi Amma's 'sister' worked, and Rahat began to spend the larger part of the day there in the house. Bi Apa stayed bent over the stove, Bi Amma kept on sewing the 'fourth-day outfit', and Rahat's filthy eyes turned into arrows and kept piercing my heart. Teasing me about every trifle, when I was serving him food, sometimes with the excuse of wanting water, sometimes salt, and along with all this the repartee. I was mortified, and used to go and sit with Bi Apa. At hearted I wanted to someday tell her straight out-- 'whose goat, and who would give it grain and grass?' 'Oh Madam, this bull of yours can't be nose-ringed by me.' But on Bi Apa's tangled hair the flying ash from the stove-- no! My heart [lit., 'liver'] felt a shock. I hid her grey hairs beneath the tangles. May this wretched catarrh be damned-- the poor thing's hair has begun to turn grey.      
63) Rahat again, on some pretext, called for me.      
64) "Unh!" I was furious. But when Bi Apa turned and looked at me like a chicken with its throat cut, I was absolutely forced to go.      
65) "You've become angry at me?" Rahat, taking the glass of water, seized my wrist. I gasped, tore my hand away, and fled.     = Here and later, he speaks of himself in the first person plural, a common colloquial practice
66) [*D56*] "What was he saying?" Bi Apa asked, in a voice stifled by shame and embarrassment. I silently began to stare at her face.      
67) "He was saying, 'Who cooked this food? Bravo!-- I feel as if I want to go on eating-- I would eat the hands of the cook-- oh, not that-- I wouldn't eat them, but rather kiss them," I began to say very quickly, and took Bi Apa's rough, foully turmeric- and coriander-smelling, hand in mine. Tears came [*N11*] to my eyes. "These hands," I thought, "that grind spices from morning till night, that fetch water, that cut up onions, that spread out bedding, that clean shoes-- these helpless slaves are worked from morning to night. When will their bondage end? Will no buyer come for them? Will no one ever lovingly kiss them? [*notes 14*] Will they never be adorned with henna? Will they never be scented with the perfume of happy marriage?" I wanted to scream aloud.     = literally the hand is 'rotted in the stink' [bisaa;Nd me;N sa;Raa hu))aa] of those herbs, which seems a bit harsh
68) "What else was he saying?" Bi Apa's hands were so rough, but her voice was so rich and sweet that if Rahat had had ears, then-- but Rahat had neither ears nor a nose, but only an infernal stomach.      
69) "And he was saying, tell your Bi Apa please not to always do so much work, to always drink her tonic."      
70) "Get along with you, liar!"      
71) "Why, that's very fine-- he must be a liar, your.."      
72) "Oh, keep quiet, you wretch!" She covered my mouth with her hand.      
73) "Look-- the sweater is finished. Go and give it to him. But look-- swear by my head that you won't mention my name."      
74) "No, Bi Apa, don't give that sweater to him; you're just a handful of bones-- how much need you have of it yourself!"-- I wanted to say, but couldn't.      
75) "Apa Bi, what will you yourself wear?"      
76) "Oh, what need do I have for it! Near the stove, it always stays so hot anyway."      
77) Seeing the sweater, Rahat mischievously lifted one eyebrow and said, "Have you knitted that sweater?"      
78) [*D57*] "If not, then so what?"      
79) [*N12*] "Then, bhai, I won't wear it.."     = He addresses her with the versatile, colloquial bha))ii
80) I wanted to claw his face. The wretch, the lump of clay! This sweater has been made by hands that are living, conscious slaves. In every one of its stitches the longings of some ill-fortuned one have had their necks strangled. This is the product of those hands that have been made to rock a tiny cradle. Take hold of them, you misbegotten ass! The oars of these hands will save the boat of your life from the buffets of even the biggest typhoon, and carry you safely across. They will not be able to play a song on the sitar. They won't be able to show the [dance] gestures of Manipuri and Bharat Natyam. They haven't been taught to dance on the keys of a piano. It hasn't been their destiny to play with flowers. But in order to keep flesh on your body, these hands sew from morning to night. They submerge themselves in soap and detergents. They endure the flame of the cooking-stove. They wash your filthinesses, so that you would keep strutting around impeccably turned out, like a 'heron-saint'. Labor has made wounds in them. Bangles never clink on them. No one has ever held them with love.    
81) But I remained silent. [*notes 15*] Bi Amma says that my new, new girlfriends have corrupted my mind. What kinds of new, new ideas they keep telling me! What frightening ideas of death, what ideas of hunger and death! Ideas that cause a pounding heart to instantly become quiet.      
82) "Please, you put on this sweater yourself. Just look-- how delicate your kurta is."      
83) Like a wildcat I clawed at his face, nose, collar, and hair, and went and threw myself on my cot.      
*on to part 6*      
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