From the book `A Morsel of Different Shades’

Helen, the tall hefty Rajasthani Thakur converted to Christianity was synonymous with what fashion was in Domod. Dressed immaculately with matching shoes, her presence in the school as well as the society was unmistakable.—————-.However, she was painfully aware of some of the unsettling facts.————–

She felt disgusted and counted the number of days to her retirement. But where would she go? She was a loner; Domod was not the place of her choice. She had spent her career in the education line at places like Jabalpur, Sagar and Lakshminagar, all bigger constellations than Domod. She had been unhappy then. She was no better now. Her happiest moments were those before the mirror when she could spend hours in setting her face perfect, her curls in proper places, feeling great content in matching the shade of a blouse with a sari from her wardrobe and arranging her sari. Then, the biggest of her fancies, she would select a pair of shoes from her shoe-rack that held over two hundred pairs, acquired from the shoe-marts of each of the big cities she had visited. The loner was lost in the selection of sari, blouse and shoes, in that order, and subsequently, the lipstick, with occasional changes in her hairstyle at the beauty parlour. In all such activities, she forgot the world and had a dedication unmatched but with no ulterior motive to set the male world to look aghast at such beauty or set her aside as a unique specimen in the female world. No, she was simply a worshipper of beauty and could not see any disorder or disharmony. She had no remorse that her minute, flawless upkeep of her person was misspent in a small town like Domod. She ignored the compliments she received at the Officers’ Club and dismissed them with a measured smile.

Two vital issues obsessed Helen: what to do after retirement and where to spend the rest of her life? Each night she dreamt and dreamt so much that she hurried to go to bed to know her future. But alas, she didn’t remember her dreams. The very fact that the dreams, that is, her surreal existence, occupied one-third of her time gave her great satisfaction. Considering the added one-third of her time spent on her person examining the wardrobe and the shoe-rack and looking at herself in the mirror, she had been able to obtrude two-thirds of her time from the quotidian. The school matters that consumed the remaining one-third of her time would not be there when she retired.


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