Ravibala Shenoy works as a reference librarian at a large public library in Illinois and writes book reviews for Library Journal. Her writings have also been published in The Chicago Tribune, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and The Times of India.
RAVIBALA SHENOY, Jul 07, 2007
The night is pitch dark.
Shri Ganeshaya Namaha, Kartik Krishna Dvadashi, Saka 1821 [November 28, 1899].
With this invocation I write in the light of the mashal. The dry palm leaves emit more smoke than light as they burn. I am sitting in the unwalled shed near the water ramp waiting for the sailboat that will take me to Karwar. The boat is supposed to arrive in Kharge from Kadra after midnight, but there's no telling when it will come.
The air vibrates with the sound of insects. Small creatures, waghonyo, with tiger stripes on their backs, are crawling all over this shed.
Tonight, I am on my way to the Karwar harbor from where the steamer to Mumbai departs in the morning. Why am I leaving? I am finished with Kharge. There is an island in the middle of the Kali River called Ulge. To go there one has take a coracle from Kharge. If two people sit in the boat along with the boatman, the boat sinks to about four fingers from the level of the river. A raging current can tip the boat in such a way that you feel that at any moment the water will rush in. That is how I feel, and why I must leave Kharge. I have told no one that I am leaving home.
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