The Princess in the Forest
"It is always summer in the forest. The sun shines down through the tall trees, the leaves of spreading banyan and coconut palm. Monkeys race from limb to limb, hanging precariously by single arm or leg; parakeets swoop and glide, silhouetted for dark moments against the brightness of sky.
The princess walks for hours, her face smooth as an undisturbed pool of water, her eyes laughing, light as butterflies. New-married, full of adoration for her husband, her prince. Rama hunts in the forest; he pursues the slender hart, lays traps for cunning rabbits. But always he comes to his Sita before the sun is down, comes to their modest hut, their gentle home in exile. He smiles to see her, lays the game aside and takes her in his arms, draws her down to the forest floor, the soft grasses, and she loves him then, as the gopis loved blue Krishna, she loves him with everything she has, everything she is.
Shanthiyoull be late! her husband scolds from the kitchen doorway, their youngest daughter tucked under one arm, a book nestled in the other. Three days a week he watches the children, the days he doesnt teach, so that they can spend that time with a parent instead of with the hired black nanny. Shanthi doesnt know how he can read and mind the girls at the same time; she cant even think when shes with them. She cant understand now what had possessed her to keep having children, one after another, until there were six small heads to be tucked into bed. It was only after giving birth to Lakshmi that she had finally come to her senses..."