Vinayagam has been on talking terms with Ganga since early July and so this morning he offered Ganga some Marie biscuits to eat while she drank her morning cup of coffee.
“No way, sweetheart, I cannot afford it,” she said, waving it away. “I’ll put on weight.” Ganga said “weight” in English, the way my friends and I did when we bantered about our extra pounds.
Vinayagam raised an eyebrow and stared at the skinny old hag. “Weight? You? You going to compete in Miss Universal or something?”
Ganga cackled between taking sips of her coffee while Vinayagam went about the kitchen muttering unkind things about her.
“Give it to him, Ganga,” I said. “He’s a jealous creature.”
“Right,” he said coming back into the kitchen after shutting the fridge. “I’m really jealous.” He shot Ganga a look. “Of this old hag.”
“Vinayagam’s jealous,” I repeated, “because he’s putting on weight in the middle—”
“—yes, and the old thing’s worried about putting on weight because she’s going to be competing in Miss Universal.” He walked off in pretend disgust to his place on the living room floor.Ganga laughed, her betel-stained lips opening to her red-brown teeth.
She told me how when she had injured her leg, the late Daddykins offered to have Vinayagam pick her up from her home and drop her back whenever she came to work. “But I refused. Not as long as I have legs. I never ever want to be like this, you know.” She let her hands circle the air as if she had a beer belly. Then she popped betel nut into her mouth and began chewing. “You should see me walk here every morning. I fly to this home. Like a kite, I fly like a kite.”