Quotes For The Book

Kalyani took Miss. Susan O’Leary through the long corridor. The large rectangular skylight on the roof threw a slanting light that caught the glass bead of the huge curtain that hung on a door in the hallway. The glass beads splintered the sunlight, deflecting blue, red, white, and yellow in unexpected combinations. The curtain tinkled musically when Kalyani gathered a few strands of the glass beads and held them to the left to allow Miss. O’Leary to walk through. O’Leary just stood there, mouth slightly open, staring at the long rows of glass beads sparkling in eye-catching colours, with some beads intersecting waved or twisted glass tubes held by pearly beads. From the top of the door to almost the level of the floor, the glass beads cascaded down in a beautiful pattern.

The afternoon sunlight reflected off the beads to rest in dots and dashes on the faces and arms of Kalyani and O’Leary as they stook inside the effulgent shade.

‘This way, Miss,’ Kalyani politely stepped aside and waited.

‘Wait, Kalyani,’ said O’Leary, fingering the curtain from left to right, then from right to left, like it was a harp.

‘Ah…this is bea…uti..ful,’ said O’Leary, running her fingers over it. She cocked her ears to listen to the silver-toned tinkling sounds of gini, gini, gini, as the glass beads and tubes swayed rhythmically to her touch.

‘Kalyani, this is grand! Where did you get it from?”
‘We made it at home, Miss.’
‘Made it? This long a curtain? Who made it?’
‘All of us. My mother, Athai, my sister.’
‘But how?’

‘We work on the floor. First, we find a pattern or design from a book we have. Then we select the glass beads, the twisted tubes, the colours and the shape. Then we spread them out on the floor according to the pattern, and then string them up.’

O’Leary saw how the twisted tubular glass in electric bule slowly dipped down to shades of paler blue in places, bleaching off to a near white at the bottom end. They were staggered with rows that rippled red and green, catching the sunshine in a jewelled glitter like gems with fine, cunning cuts. Miss. O’Leary had never seen anything like it.

The Glass Bead Curtain