No nadaswaram procession
I grew up at Olavakkode, a Muslim- dominant area on this side of the Kalpathy river, the other bank being the famous Kalpathy village.
Our neighbor Vavukka’s family was like our extended family. The kids from that house, were my father’s pets and I remember a twins lying on my father’s lap, looking sharply at his forehead shining with white vibhoothi marks. A wedding reception of that family took place in our hall. Their womenfolk used to gather on the other side of our backyard fencing to chat with my mother, during evening hours. I have been continuing my friendship with a descendant, Siddappa and recently, on our way to the railways station , I stopped my vehicle to give him a packet of the herbal seeds for diabetics treatment.
Another Vavukka taught me cycling. He had a small pan shop, financed by my father and when it failed to fetch him sufficient income to feed his large family, my father made some other arrangement for his survival. He worked as a night watchman for sometime and his high pitch command to thieves to flee , ‘chalthae raho!’ still rattles in my ears. He was a thin, weak man and a minor touch from any trainee burglar was enough to push him to the ground.
Sulaiman was father’s vandikkaran, cart man. I have, in my blog, a moving story on him, titled, ‘Sulaiman’s fourth wedding.
Thangal, a mulla from the neighboring mosque used to give us black thread sanctified by Alla’s name, to tie around waist.
My second sister’s wedding took place at our house. There was some disturbance in the town then, due to a quarrel between two communities. It didn’t affect the wedding, though, the boy’s mother, a close relative of my father, was angry that she was denied a nadaswaram procession from the bus stop to our home. The reason was there was a mosque on the way and temporarily noisy processions before the mosque was suspended by the police.
‘Amman, (uncle), I won’t move an inch from here, unless I’m taken to the wedding hall with due respect’, said the lady to my father.
My father known for his diplomacy and wits, responded,
‘Lakshmi, Nee inkeyae irunthuko. You stay back; I will take your son and others, complete the wedding and come back, to take you home in a royal procession. By then, I’m sure the situation will turn normal’
That lady, my father, my sister, her husband, her son- all have vanished from the world. Only memories stay back and time doesn’t wait for a nadaswaram procession to move on!