Pothivelu Pandaram swayed as he got up. He steadied himself for a second by gripping the wooden frame around the bed from which the mosquito net hung. Once his dizziness passed, he groped his way along the wall to the right to fetch the matchbox he usually kept in the crescent-shaped hollow gouged into the wall, when his foot made contact with a small copper water-pot at the foot of the bed. It toppled over with a clang and rolled noisily across the floor.
An excerpt from ‘The Abyss’, by Jeyamohan, translated from the Tamil by Suchitra Ramachandran.