Despite all her efforts, of feeding it cotton leaf and other preparations, her calf died, as she told me in tearless sorrow the next day. When all one has in this world is a cow and a calf - the loss is something like a complete crash. What can one do or say ? She also loved the calf dearly, and told me that its body was buried near the tank. The three days she was away for the operation she guesses that it must have grazed on something inappropriate when her granddaughter Kavya took it grazeing. Maybe mango seeds, she guessed.
Kavya, her eleven year old granddaughter, is doing all the house work. Cheerfully. She has to cook, get firewood, collect water, feed the cow, cut grass, graze it ... and she understands that her grandmother Eashwaramma is advised total rest.
The next day, Eashwaramma's eye was paining and she had a severe headache. Then it turned out that she went grazeing the cow in the hot sun. Kavya and Sasi were getting into fights over who should graze, and neither went. I am unable to blame Kavya, because she is a small child being overworked as she has to run to show. Sasi, her younger brother is a scamp.
Kavya's maturity breaks my heart. Now when all the village children are coming to Chennai for a 'vacation', she is denied that as she has to graze the cow. I thought of cancelling the 'vacation' for all the children so at least she is not the only one without a 'holiday'. My heart breaks ... but she seems quite accepting of the reality. I suppose she has had to accept many many realities since her father's murder, and since she has been in total care of Eashwaramma. But the day the children left, she sobbed and sobbed, and then Eashwaramma told her also to go, and said that she would somehow manage. Kavya set out with her small bag, when the other village people sent her back explaining to her that now her duty was to help her grandmother. She stayed back sobbing. I spoke to her on the phone and promised her many gifts, but my words sounded hollow to me too ... But by evening she was cheerful, and was giving me a list of the gifts she wanted from Chennai. She said she wanted a small basket of chocolates tied up with a pink bow like I had once given her!
Kavya continues to do all the housework, alongside with going to school. Eashwaramma cannot light a fire because she needs to avoid the smoke. Kavya gets up very early, cuts grass for the cow, cooks, and then rushes to school. She returns in the evening and starts the fire and makes a meal,and into the night finishes her homework. I gave her my usual 'study well' lecture, and she told me that she has too much work now. And I immediately changed direction and told her to help her grandmother well.
Despite this assistance, Eashwaramma has to graze the cow in the hot sun, and says her operated eye continues to pain.
Then two days later she called up to tell me that her grandson Sasi was having a urinary problem, and asked me what she should give him. I gave her Dr. Girija's number and she spoke to her directly She wants ayurvedic medicines because she herself benefitted so remarkably under Dr. Girija's treatment, when all allopathy failed ... But medicines have to be posted from here and in this drought the local herbs that Dr. Girija suggests to her are all dried up ...The basic medicine required is gokshura (Tribulus terestris), but even that is not there is these times of no rains. Others medicines are not available locally and I have to send them from here. No courier goes to the village.The next day she called up very worried as at nights she said his stomach would be distended and very hard and nights. I went to the post office and speed posted the medicines.
She went to Thathappa at Maddavaripalle and collected the antram. He took the payment for the items but waved away the hen, a usual offering, that she took along. She brought the hen back home. She gave Sasi the ritual bath, anointed the antram with hen's blood from a small nick she made on its toe, and tied it on after lighting camphor. She told me that that very night his stomach was soft and normal for the first time in days. I told her to not have the ayurvedic medicine I had mailed down. She said that on Sunday he would also give her a medicine he would have prepared with ginger, jeera and palm jaggery to improve his appetite.
All the running around to address Sasi's condition took a toll, and her eye was hurting more. She was advised by Dr. Girija to instill breastmilk in her eyes, and she started doing that also.
Now more than a month later the pain is not there. She says contendedly, 'Everything used to be dim, and now I can see even far away things'. She is not able to see close things, and is unable to clean the rice before cooking it. But for that she will get glasses in the hospital when she goes for her next checkup.