The orphan stepped into the house as a petite 14-year-old bride. From day one she kept her promise and tended to the upkeep of the house. She annually whitewashed it, plastered it with layers of cow dung slurry. She pasted the ceiling with old newspapers. daily she washed the courtyard and decorated it with muggu.

Years rolled by, the in-laws died. Except for her elder son, the rest of the brood flew the coop. Her life partner quit the world. The house creaked with age in resonance with her old bones and collapsed in a heap within a year after my mother died.

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