It was a summer afternoon and time passed slowly. Phukon the Compounder (not to be confused with Pakkom’s elder son Pukon), usually went to attend the cases from the interior villages instead of the Dr. Chintey himself. He had given the patient an injection and had told his youngest son to stand guard and not allow his father to drink water for the next two hours. The patient’s wife and his elder son, was out in the paddy working with the rest of the men and women of the huge joint family. His daughter was out there somewhere talking with a boy from Pomua, a classmate, who had come to visit her.
My grandfather was assailed by an unusual and intense thirstiness. He crawled all the way to the kettle where water that had been boiled many times over and cooled down had been kept ready, especially for him. He urgently poured water into the large bronze bowl and held it up his lips. But before a drop of water could touch his mouth my thirteen-year-old father rushed forward and pulled it away. My father’s father let escape an angry curse and crawled back to his mat where he closed his eyes and took his last breath. “Det Sela!” he had cursed before he went away from this world. My grandmother did not live much longer; she soon found an illness to follow her husband, something to do with an ugly tumor between her legs.