She didn’t want to. She had promised herself she wouldn’t return. But her curiosity got the better of her. Next morning, making an excuse that sounded untrue even to her ears, Urmilla went to the same place, sat at the same spot, in the same position with her feet dipped in the water. She fervently hoped Master Mei Ling, whether figment of her imagination or not, would show up.
“Namaste,” said Urmilla with her hands folded. She didn’t know what language to talk in, so she decided to go with Hindi. “Is Master Mei Ling still with you?”
The girl’s expression changed from polite indifference to shock. “I am sorry; who?”
“Master Mei Ling. My sister told me about him and how he was connected with this ashram. I wish to speak with him on an urgent matter.”
“Who is your sister?” the girl asked, narrowing her eyes.
Urmilla sat through the meeting in a daze, not really grasping the meaning of the words that were being said. If some passer-by thought that she was asleep, no one would blame them.
It had been a normal morning…or as normal as could be expected for someone whose sister had just died. She vaguely remembered the morning, and the memory of her getting dressed for this meeting was even fainter. She did, however, remember a single instruction, given out in a precise but cold tone, ‘dress appropriately.’ And she had. She looked every bit the part of a mourning sister – white sari with a conservative gold border and a pair of dark shades that hid her curiously dry eyes. She wondered idly if people could see through the sham.