Photo of hands cooking adai.Her kitchen appears unused. No plantain peels huddled in the corner. No orphan mustard seeds—until she wanders in between medication to make adai for her American grandson. He makes her laugh with his terrible Tamil. She strokes his face. Too young for beard, too old for advice, but she tells him what she told her children when they carried their oversized bags to the exam hall while she stood outside under the Neem tree.

Just get me centum in math.

He smiles at the familiar centum. She smiles, gums and eyes. Cancer or not, she wants her 100.

Vimla Sriram is a Seattle-based essayist. She writes about women’s silences; about home and what we think of when we think of home; about the myths surrounding ravens and if they can really dream.

Photo Credit: anjuli_ayer

4 Responses to “Centum”

  1. Ruchita says:

    Wow so deep words. Straight from the heart

  2. Parija Phatarpekar says:

    Nice description….. mothers are special!

  3. Krishkat says:

    You weave so much poignance into prose! The true centum! 😍

  4. Archana Iyer says:

    Wowww..perfect depiction..

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