The cold water came as a shock, forcing Nadini to resurface and gasp for fresh air. She gulped a mouthful and dove again, plunging into the relative darkness with each stroke. But her lungs won’t let her go all the way. The cold water reigned at her arms and strangled her for air. She made her way back to the shore, empty-handed, and collapsed on to the dark, moist soil that wrapped her wet skin.
With each breath the scent of ripe guavas drifted through her inflated nostrils, overwhelming her with insatiable desire. The coarse yet soft texture of the guavas turned acrid in her mouth. The memory of the servant boy who moved like liquid gold over her sister’s milky skin had forever tarnished its taste for her.