Abha Iyengar
Flash Fiction Winner
Spreading heavy loads of washing in the garden for her 'Memsahib', Sheila knew what the noise next door was all about. If you think of how the couple got married in 1947, and then they had one daughter after another each year for three years, so this boy was the fourth child in the fourth year-- quite a record. Finally, a boy in 1951!

Her eyes caught some eunuchs dancing at the gate next door. They would definitely return with a lot of money from the family today after they gave their blessings. Sheila hurried across hoping to see the child, pushing past some onlookers to stand almost in line with the performing eunuchs.

She saw the baby, a scrawny little thing. His looks would need to be worked on, she thought, as she turned to go. She knew how important that was. People had told her to her face that she was not only ugly, but looked positively masculine. No amount of lipstick and powder, which she used a lot of, really helped.

"Hey, where are you going?"

She turned.

"Aren't you going to bless the boy?"

Sheila blushed. "Of course," she said and placed a palm on the child's forehead.

"Arre, give the 'chhakka' the money, won't you?"

A maid hurriedly placed a hundred Rupee note in Sheila's hands.

Sheila's eyes widened in disbelief and then she put her hands on her hips and danced. The washing could wait.

First published: February, 2007
comments to the writer: Knob'