By Kiśora Śāntābāī Kāḷe

Autobiography of twentieth century Marathi writer.

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I used to press his arms and legs and even give him a massage some times. One day I (o ld him all about my mother. 'Your mOl her did the right thing. ' he said to me. ' There were no roilets in the houses in )J"erla . We used the fields. ) He was afraid tha t othe rs would fi ll Shivajirao's ears wit h lies abo ut Bil by maushi. So, 1 always :'lCcompanied Shivaji kab to the fields. This ensured that he did not chat with anybody. Soon Baby maushi was pregnant and had a daughte r. Shivaji kab did not come to Nc rla fo r two months after t he child was born , and then he stopped visiting comp letely.

I now slept close to her at night. Susheela m:lushi's presence reminded me constantly of my mother. 1 wished I had w ings and cou ld fly to Soncperh and sec Bai. tO AGA I NST ALL ODDS The same evening, aj oba discovered t hat twenty rupees had been sto len fr om his shirt pocket. H e looked through my schoolbag and found new books, a new slate, notebooks and a one-rupee co in. Without saying a word, o r waiting to liste n to m y expla nation, he started beati ng me, accllsing me of having sto len his money to buy the books.

I pulled his arm as he walked with me to our house. Bai got up and came to meet him as soon as she saw him enter the house . 'Sha nta, what shall I say to you? ' said Guruji . 'You have abandoned this child a nd ruined his life. ' Ba i's eyes filled with tears and had nothi ng to say 10 this, but Guruji saw her helplessness. 'Don't cry, Shanta, 1 understand,' he said. ' By late evening, all the visitors had left. We had dinner togethe r. It was time to go to bed, but nobod~' 80 AGA I NST ALL ODDS wanted to sleep.

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