SNAPS FROM MY LIFE-wheat dosa

SNAPS FROM MY LIFE-wheat dosa
Before going to Bombay in search of a job, I stayed with my uncle at Palace
no. 11,Tripunithura for some days.
He used to eat dosa made of wheat flour mixed with plenty of water and made into dosa, as he was diabetic. I would carry it and coffee from the kitchen to uncle’s room.
On the way the day’s newspaper was lying and , to pick it , I placed the dosa plate on the parapet. Acrow was watching me and it took off the dosa in its beak. I felt ashamed, but had to tell uncle about it . He only smiled.

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THE HIGH WAY

Lonely people, feel the isolation, even at home, if it is not homely!
Where do they go? Ashram, of any hue, may seem attractive; old age homes too offer some shelter. But shelter is not their objective. They have a home, from which they have been isolated.
Travel is the best alternative, at least to some people. It is not necessary to have money. A haversack, with portable stove and minimum utensils will do.
In olden days, people used to go to Kashi, eating and resting at temples on the way. It takes about six months to reach there. Many stay there, awaiting His orders. One of my uncles lived in Cochin House in Kashi, being the property of the Raja of the erstwhile Cochin State. I have seen him only once. He died in Kashi, but the ritual of his cremation ceremony, a mock cremation, with an image of man, made of darbha grass, was done at home.
There is the story of a namboodiri, stranded in Kashi, without money. After a bath in the sacred river, he spread his only cloth, under a tree, and began chanting sahasranama, the thousand names of Lord Vishnu. When he opened his eyes, he was pleasantly surprised to see his cloth covered with small coins!
I can recite only gayatry; I hope that will do the trick. Even that is unnecessary, if I wear saffron cloths.
Now also there are temples offering free food, in many parts of India. People in Sadhu’s dress may travel in trains without ticket.
This is India.

BAD DREAM

I felt really very sad to see my close cousin being scanned for some unknown disease. I was relieved when my uncle, her father, came. He was young, but had a small green plant on his bald scalp!
Ultimately, when I woke up, I was badly shaken.
In the dream world, we experience all emotions and these have an effect on our psyche.
Our emotions cause hormones called EICOSANOIDS to be produced in our cells. So happy dreams do have a positive effect and vice versa. A big shock in dream amy cause even heart attack, resultig in death

ELEPHANT (AANA)

I beg permission to use few Malayalam terms like aana (elephant), kompan (tusker) and pidi-aana (cow elephant) in this write up.

A sad news item that a wild aana attacked and killed a pidiaana, in a wild life sanctuary at Parambikulam in Keralam is the inspiration for choosing this topic.

Tuskers do attack each other for supremacy or simply because of envy; but one killing a pidiana is unheard of. My suspicion is that refusal to have sex may be the reason. Rape is impossible in the animal kingdom, the tail being an effective lid for the vulva. In the case of aana, it is all the more difficult because the pidiaana has to remain in the same position for some time.

The tallest aana’s skeleton is preserved in the museum at Trichur. This aana belonged to Chengallur family. It stood in the centre, being the tallest, in pooram festival at Aratupuzha . On its side, was the aana (Govindan is its name, I think) belonging to my grandmother’s maiden home Veembur Kadalayil. Normally this one used to occupy the centre, proudly bearing the deity of Sastha on its head. In a fit of rage, it pierced the neighbour with its tusk and the victim died.

In Karnataka State, the tip of the tusk is sawed off, but here in Keralam, the tip is occasionally chiseled to make it pointed, as a beauty treatment.

Every year a number of mahauts are killed by aanas, because of ill treatment by the former. They are crushed with its foot, kicked off like a foot ball or caught by the trunk and whirled in the air, before being thrown off to a distance.

Once, Kirangatu Kesavan aana was being made ready for the pooram at Peruvanam, by putting on the caparison with golden embroidery, by the mahaut sitting on its neck. The one standing at its side, was trying to pull it for adjusting properly ( like ladies tucking their sari). Suddenly the aana tried to pin him against the platform made of masonry for visitors. The mahaut deftly moved away and the tusk pierced at least one foot in. My uncle who actually saw it, sitting on the platform, described this to me.

I AM BERIEVED

Mohanan, my uncle’s son, was hit by a motor bike and died early morning.

I had stayed with the family for two years, while studying in St. Thomas College, Trichur.

Mohanan was seven years old. Sasi 5 and Soya 3.

My aunt loved me, though no one cared for my family in those days.

 I AM ALWAYS OBLIGED TO THEM.

PREPARATORY CLASS

As we had no English as a subject in primary school, we had to study one year in a Preparatory class, when I joined the CNN High School, Cherpu.
With the Transfer Certificate, I  approached my uncle Vasudevaphan who was working there.
What I am I to do? He quipped.
MS (Mamunnil Subrahmanian Namboodiripad) master, who was standing by his side, answered, on my behalf: you do the arrangement for his admission.
So I found myself learning the English alphabet. I felt elated.
The next year, both KKN and myself studied in the same 6th standard, under Chulliparambil Sankunni Nair.
That vacation, my ammath shifted to Amballoor and so I shifted to Secondary School at Vendore at a walkable distance from ammath.
Mary teacher was our teacher. One Bahuleyan, Vasudevan and a face I knew but cannot recollect the name, were bench mates.
In the front row were girls, one with a small “bag” behind her ear was painful to look at. I have an inborn antipathy towards all types of abnormalities.
Devaky my class mate, started living at ammath. She was a namboodiri and helped in kitchen work . I did not like it, because Parameswaran the “manager” said she is a good match for me.
It was during this period that P—– took me to see the festival at Thrikur temple.
Once I failed to give fees and was thrown out of the class. I could have asked my people at ammath for money; some false sense of pride (can beggars be proud?) prevented me from approaching them. I went home to Pazhayil. I think Bhavadasettan gave me the money.
 
One day, football match was going on. Devassy the HM who was the referee calle me and gave me the whistle. I could not tell a football from a volley ball. All were crowdig round the ball and shouting. Some one told me to blow the whistle which I did, with all my power. Mercyfully everything became calm. The HM returned.
 For anniversary, I was asked to do some speaking. “ELOCUTION”  it was called. My cousin, Neil gave me a passage from Nehru’s speech. When I stood before the audience, words were stuck up in my mouth. Any way, it was all noisy; even if I spoke, they could not have heard anything. I got a pen as present. It did not work.
After the examinations, I obtained a transfer certificate and went to St. Antony’s High School, Pudukad. I failed to get admission. Had they known that I stood first in the scholarship exam. they would not have refused me; who would tell the HM?
Had I got admission there, it woud have saved me from all the sufferings, during the subsequent year.

SHORT STORY – ANANTHU’S FAMILY

My name is Ananthapadmanabhayyar. As it is too long, all called me Anathu. As we lived in a remote village, father put me in a school in Bombay where my uncle lived.

I had some school mates who led me to women of undesirable character and soon I knew things which were very tempting, including alcohol.

Uncle arranged a stenographer’s job for me. I was very quick and accurate; so much so that I got several jumps in my factory. Then father thought of marrying me to a girl who was related to him

There was no thrill of the “first night”described in novels and shown in films; still I enjoyed deflowering her. For the first time, I saw hymen!

 She was plain but very docile and enjoyed our new life, seeing a city like Bombay for the first time.

We were living in the quarter allotted by the company. I found that my wife, Nina, was becoming very popular with the neighbours and one or two were always there, when I came home. I didn’t like it but could not find a way of convincing Nina, who was too innocent to suspect their intentions.

I was happy to leave her in her home in the village as soon as she became pregnant. I reestablished contacts with my night lovers who were too eager and adept in making love.

When she came with a son, everything changed. I never knew that a baby could be so sweet and precious. As son as I came home, the boy would come smiling and the next one hour would be spent in playing with it. On holidays, we would go for a movie or to some friends’ flat. Or simply moving around in parks or temples.

The years passed and my son was enrolled in a good school. As soon as the school bus moved away with the kid, I would be uneasy until the boy returned safe and sound, at two in the afternoon.

We used to attend parent-teacher meetings. The teachers were full of praise for our boy, except that he needed improvement in maths. So we engaged a tutor for him.

One day I returned at noon from the factory to search for some document. I saw a pair of shoes in our front veranad. The door was locked from inside.

I quetly went round towards our bed room. There were sounds from inside; when I peeped through the window curtain, Nina was lying on the bed with her skirt drawn up and Pawar was pumping with gusto…. More forcefully, more forcefully: she was shouting…….

I was dazed and completely lost my senses.

 Somehow, I managed to walk away towards the railway station

I was sitting on a parapet on the road side, where the road and the rail line were running parallel. I do not know how long I sat there, watching the movement of suburban trains and the red buses. A woman came and sat beside me. It was Mary. Both of us had learned short hand in the same institute together.

She said: after a long time I am seeing you; what are you doing here? You look terribly upset.

I was in no mood to speak. We new each other too much and all attempts at evasion were futile. I spoke out, about what I saw in my bed room.

She kept mum for some time; then she urged me to go with her: my mother is not well. That is why I am here.

We walked along, talking. I just listened.

I am working in a private company at Nagpur. You know I can manage any boss with my beautiful body. Now I am getting handsome salary. Still unmarried. I don’t say you marry me. Let us live together. I shall fix up a job for you. I have just to ring up my boss.

We reached her place. It was a rented house which her parents occupied long ago. Her father was no more.

Her mother was very pleased to see me She told me to sit beside her in the bed and kissed me on the cheek: I am seeing you after a long time. Now you have become a man. Aren’t you married?

Yes, Maji. How are you?

I am beyond hope. My daughter gives me all sorts of medicines. I tell her not to waste money on me.

Mary brought coffee and biscuits. Afterwards, we went to her room.

As was our habit, we lay on the bed. She cuddled towards my body and whispered in my ear: I am yearning for your warmth.

I was in no mood. Yet, can any man resist it? How long? Soon we were converted into the Khajuraho postures.

At last, when fully satisfied, she opened the subject: you must realize that circumstances make us virtuous or not. What will your wife do when you are away in the factory and the kid in the school? And this neighbour, having done his night duty is ready all the time. It is not a new thing. Fashionable ladies are always eager to have a fling. They are just afraid.

I told her I can come with her.

The first few months were somewhat pleasant. But I missed the joy we felt at home, with the boy a source of great comfort, especially when I return from the factory. He was a tonic, better than a glass of fresh fruit juice.

And those barbs…….Poor Mary has to satisfy her boss in the office and Ananthu at home…. some wags would say.

I told her about it.

She said: if you want, I shall give up my job.

That is a good idea, but I want my boy.

We decided to go to my quarter in the factory, but my family had already left.

One day I just went away, in spite of Mary’s protests.

First, I went to Hardwar and then Rishikesh. In those days the mountainous Rishikesh was somewhat scarcely populated, especially upstream along the bank of the Ganga. In my state of mind I approached several sadhus living in caves. No one impressed me, but their very presence was soothing.

A well known Guru in a math was different. He advised me about life in general.

He said: sanyas is not for young people like you. You have done Brahmacharya (schooling). Now you must complete your Grihastham, including looking after business, property, children etc. When all things are settled and your children grown up and able to look after the business, should you think of Vanaprasth. You may wander the whole Himalayas even now, as it will change your narrow out look and enable you to see things objectively. Stay here for some days and go through the books in my library.

I followed his instructions literally and then returned to my village, after wandering in the Himalayas for full six years.

I was able to locate my family after some enquiriesthough her people had shifted to Salem.

 Nina appeared like a shadow of her former self, very thin and wiry. The boy was grown up and could not recognize me. In spite of the presence of curious on lookers, I went and embraced them.

WHEN WE REJOINED, IT WAS A NEW LIFE.