In sleeper class from Palakkad

Apart from the mesmerizing winds, passing through the opened windows of the sleeper class train, which kissed me all over. hugged again and again, shared some secrets and sang a Pallavi, there were other interesting aspects during my recent return trip from Kerala. I have, in my blog, already an emotional story on a similar travel earlier.

Usually, I get up more than once, from sleep, to empty my bladder, but my recent journey was so enchanting that I slept whole night, undisturbed, though there was an important reason, strong enough, to wake me up, a dozen times. That was to observe the reaction of an old lady to the ‘kusu, kusu’ sweet romantic chats of her son with his wife, about which she complained to me during the day . I never allow such golden opportunities to slip through my fingers as mothers in law and their actions and reactions always provide fodder to my internal cows of inquisitiveness.

‘Did you, during your young days, engaged in ‘kusu,kusu’, sweet talk with your wife throughout your journey, as my son is doing now, she had asked me.
And I had replied, ‘not with my wife, though with some other young ladies’

At Guntur, she woke me up asked me to follow the couple.
‘Don’t sleep like a log. Catch them red handed. They have gone out for a stroll’

I got annoyed.

‘Madam, they are your own son and daughter in law. Your son would have held the hand of his own wife and gone out for a morning stroll to buy a pack of hot Guntur chillies for you. Why do you torture me?’

‘No, my son is not that bold to hold her hand right before my eyes’, she replied. Pride of a mother of an obedient son was shining on her face.

‘The trains now a days start with no warning vessels,’ I tried to explain my fear. ‘If the battery of my hear aids fail when the train moves, will you ensure that the nenthram pazham and chakkapazham, long plantains and jack fruit, I’m carrying all the way from Olavakkode, will reach my Habsiguda house?’

‘We will uncle!’, the reply came not from her but from her son and daughter in law in the top birth.



Ammalu is always right

SP, will you please move from here?

‘Why should I?’

‘I want to change my dress. I need privacy’

‘Can’t you see I’m not wearing my glasses?’

‘You need glasses to see what should not be seen and
aids to hear what should not be heard. Don’t I know you?’

‘Don’t I know you? Go head’

‘Go ahead? I will physically carry you and dumb in your chair, if you stay here one more minute’

‘One minute is not a short period to see things worth seeing’

‘Get out, get out, get out. You ———!!!’

‘Ammalu, after thinking all these years, thinking and thinking again again, I am convinced now that I didn’t err in choosing you as my wife. What about you?’

‘I’m thinking. Yet to come to the thinking and thinking stage’

‘Ammalu, you have every right to scold me. I have every right to —-‘
‘Complete the sentence’

‘Let us not talk about rights’

‘That is right’

Time doesn’t wait for a nadaswaram

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!

Ammalu is always right

Ammalu, only my hope not my hold on you, is getting loosened.
What say you?’

‘I never lose my hope on you, as you are still in the process of growing. My hold on you has yielded fruits. And now my hold is only to prevent you falling. You want me to say anything more?’

Basic courtesies!!!

Consequently for four days, our home helper Yadamma was absent.
‘Couldn’t you tell me a word in advance?’, I asked her this morning.
‘Marictchupoyaanu Sir- I forgot’ . Her casual reply.
I’m helpless. Forgetfulness is not my sole property!

The paper walah Ramu throws the news paper, on the wet varanda floor, though I stand like a statue at the front gate. Cant’t he hand it over to me?

‘You didn’t see me standing?’ I ask.
‘No, Sir!’
He has gone!

If he threw the paper despite seeing me standing, there is scope for complaining. If he didn’t see at all?

The neighbor who comes to read my newspaper enquires earnestly,
‘don’t you have the habit of drinking coffee in the morning?’
‘I’ll have it after sometime’
‘Why, is it RahukAlam now?’


Leave away outsiders. Ammalu? Starts scrapping coconut when I practice singing. ‘What a nuisance.? Can’t you do it without making that rattling noice?’, I ask her politely.

‘Do you need chutney for idli or not?’, she retorts angrily.

‘I need chutney, dear, but why this shrill now?’. I submit soberly.

‘Ok, you do it yourself without noise’. She leaves the little mount with a forked tongue and goes to watch TV.

‘How to mount this Meru mountain, Ammalu?’ Can you help me please?’. I request her.

‘Let this serial be over’.

‘It won’t be over, now’

‘What is the hurry? You have Idli with jaggery ‘

‘Are you joking, Ammalu? Idli with jaggery is like you and me! Where is the combination?’

‘Happy Independence Day!’. She leaves for her mother’s home, next street.

I have somehow managed to sit on the scrapper mount . How to get down?

‘Ammalu, don’t disturb me till lunch time, please. I’m trying to figure out your problem ‘

‘I have no problems’

‘Exactly. And that is my problem. I worked like a bull while in service and continue to work like a servant for you, even now.
I struggled then; I struggle now. And you enjoy!’

‘Lunch is ready’

‘Problem solved’

Ammalu is always right

‘I mistook you for a star in the sky when I met you , Ammalu. My eyesight failed me’

‘My eyesight didn’t. You still stay on the ground level, moving up, not an inch. But, thanks to my firm hold on you, you didn’t slip and nose dive’

‘Ammalu, the problem is not with your poor attention but with your proximity itself. When I call for any little help, say to get a tumbler of water, you don’t respond. You are always busy in the kitchen . To cook for two, do you need twenty four hours?’

‘SP, do one thing. Employ a cook. I will sit with you all the day’

‘Ok. Look for a good looking girl’

‘I want a cook, not a daughter in law. And don’t think I’m a fool to miss your mischievous plan’

‘Ammalu, life should be give and take. I give you everything you need . What do you give me?’

‘Soap and towel when you extend your hand through the bathroom door gap’