All Stories, Fantasy, General Fiction

The Kumari by Naga Vydyanathan

A brightly hued rag covered Kanmani’s eyes as she hopped daintily over the grid of numbered squares drawn hurriedly on the stone floor. “Right-a?” she asked, pausing on one leg. “Right-u”, came the response, confirming that Kanmani was within the boundaries of a square. This “Right-a/Right-u” exchange continued a few more times, until Kanmani stepped on a line and lost her chance. It was Kaveri’s turn now. Kaveri removed Kanmani’s blindfold, placed her gently on a chair nearby, and proceeded to tie the rag over her own eyes.  She ensured that her blindfold was loose enough to allow her to catch little peeks through the cracks. Closing her eyes tight, she hopped to what she thought was the first square and paused, balancing gingerly on one foot. “Right-a?”, she asked, opening her eyes wide enough to peek at the floor, checking whether her foot was within the square. “Right-u”, answered Kanmani. Kaveri smiled, closed her eyes and hopped to the next square. She loved playing this game called “Paandi”, with Kanmani.

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