Since Teja is away foraging for food, and I’m left in charge of home and hearth, I promptly curl up with a book. Dhanno is at school, Teja is not around demanding lauki juice, and I have enough food to last Dhanno and me through the day, so I ask Tai to go back home. I emerge only when Dhanno does.

She thwarts all my attempts to get her to make my tea by looking through me stonily. I don’t assert a mother’s rights as I usually do, by stamping my foot, because Dhanno’s shoulders are hurting with all the education she is getting.

As I boil the water, to make my own cup of tea, I miss Teja for the first time, in the day. But I don’t call him immediately, for a glance at the clock, will tell him what it is all about. 4.30 pm, time for afternoon tea.