The house itself seemed to be radiant with prosperity. And at the centre of it was Radhika. The girl with the pretty smile who dropped coins everywhere. No one remembered when it began, it was as though she had always been dropping them. When she stood, coins fell out of her dress. When she woke, she would find herself surrounded by coins. When she lay down to sleep, coins rolled out of her hair, rolled across the mattress and spun in lazy circles on the floor. At other times they fell furiously, loud plink-plonks on the hard tiles. When she walked in the courtyard they fell with muted thuds on the hard earth and lay there reflecting sunlight. They ceaselessly fell: nimble, bright new one rupee coins, chipped almost polygonal two rupee coins and dull, fat five rupee coins that thudded threateningly. One morning at the washbasin, expired coins started falling out of her mouth as she brushed. Fifty paise and twenty fives, small ten paise coins and rhombus fives, all covered in spittle and foam.
In the beginning the coins were swept off with brooms, brushed under beds and stuffed under mattresses. Eventually the falling coins did not touch the floor but fell on their older cousins, metal striking metal. The rooms began to be covered in sheets of live coins with minds of their own: some hot, some cold, some bright and reflective, some old and corroded and some that changed colours when one squinted at them. Then the mother of the house had the servants store the coins in buckets. The old bathroom was dusted and the buckets were shoved in, brimming with coins, their pale plastic cracking.
It was then that everyone knew that Radhika had been seeing the cable-boy. One night as he prepared to jump back over the wall after their furious, restrained passion, his pockets began to jingle wildly. His shirt was pulled down by an immense weight and his pants seemed to poke into his legs. Then the mother of the house had him undress and leave all the coins in a tidy heap by the door. So it was that by the heap of coins, everyone knew that he had come and gone.