8/20/10

grey rabbit

it was around 5 in the morning. tap or two on the door. the door was opened "yes ayya?".."amma you will have to leave this place..kalingar ayya has allocated space for you near neelangarai".."what? why should i move? why all of a sudden. i have lived here since independence.".."yes amma you are correct. but now they are going to clean the cooum ma. world bank ma. we cant do anything. you have been allocated new house. cement house ma.in neelangarai".."but its so far. wait is it my skin colour? the cooum was black and i was black and you let me live here. now it will become white. please. i will use fair and lovely. ".."aiyo amma fair and lovely is fraud.it wont change skin colour. and even if you change colour you have to move amma".."it doesnt work? farud. see how they fool people sir. the place where i sweep the lady is using it for 15 years. she says once the effect starts she will turn white . she expects the effect to kick in about a month"..."thank you amma. so you are moving right?"..."no no i wont move this place..noooo..."..."srija wake up. its 6 already. exam day.amma has already sat in poojai".

its was 7 before srija was ready. the bell signalled her amma's entry. srija was busy . make up. "srija loosu, what are you doing?".."decreasing the tension ma. its my first board exam remember. revathi miss said go to exam like you go outside with friends. no tension. and amma look at this new pencil thing. garnier ma. reduces dark circles under your eyes".."aiyo rama. please save this stupid girl.ok go fast to anjaneyar temple.."..and as she turned amma hit srija's elbow.."aiiyyyoo,amma this garnier pen has hit my eye. it burning..aiyooo"..."shaniyane. yendi ipidi panra?"

its was five minutes before srija reached the masoodhi theru anjaneyar kovil. it was a small modest temple. the main hanuman shrine. then a ramar and krishnar shrine. on exam days this temple would resemble the great ranganadhan street. this was by no means one of the older temples in mylapore. but it was famous among the students. of the various reasons , sreepadhy was one major draw. sreepadhy was a 30 year bearded priest. unlike the other two priest in the temple sreepadhy dint come to god after others failed. ever since anyone could remember him, he was always a man of god. every time he did an archanai, he will bless the bhakthas with the bestest of blessings. for every student to go there and be told that they will do bloody well was as good a boost as any. it was in the way sreepadhi put it across. he was ever smiling fellow. all the money that the archanai plate recieved was promptly passed over to the temple authorities. he would just take home him set salary of four thousand. everyone called him a man of honour and so on. but not his wife charukesi. she was really frustrated at the limited income. this meant she had to work too.

in the same compound of the temple there was a small building. an old one in dull green. here too many would flock. the great astrologer varadhan lived here. he was the patron of the temple , funding it as and when he could. he was also a saint. and a leader. only a month ago he was chosen as the head of the hindu swasida party. without any competition. this meant varadhan was not just busy and popular but powerful too. but he was a wise one. he never let the all this get to his head. he was 60 and still unmarried. he would get up , do the sandhyavardhanam then the saligramam poojas, then visit the anjaneyar temple and then only start work. he was an expert reader of the horoscopes. he never charged the poor. he would rest for hour and a half in the afternoon. this is time charu used to bring him lunch. charukesi was vardhan's cook. she used to cook and earn so that she could cook again. varadhan looked after charu like his own daughter. and when she lamented about her husband he asked for her horoscope. "raja yogam. dont worry good times are upon very soon"

it was about five weeks since varadhan predicted good times for charu but nothing had improved. until that monday. she got pregnent. after the initial happines evaporated,she started cursing varadhan mama."already we dont have money. now i cant work. on top of that doctor medicine and all. aiyo rama.." .."dont worry di. i will try to get some other part time job. maybe in the afternoon or night. we will manage dont worry"..at the very moment varadhan came over their room.."yenadi charuma you dint even tell me. very good news da sree. dont worry you need not come to cook. i will take care of all the medical expenses. i have no kids . what will i do with all this money? dei sree you need not come temple as often as now. take care of her" very happy sree went back to the temple that evening. everyone noticed his extra enthu that day. srija came and dropped a 100 rupee note in the plate "nan pass aiten"..for the first time sreepadhi took the 100 rupee note and folded it in his dothi.  he walked a few kilometres to radhakrishnan salai , krishna sweets to be precise and got half a kilo of the mysorepa his wife loved so dearly.

janaki was 58 years old. a doctor. she had expected her son to take her along to newzealand and ask her to sit at a home. instead she was left here alone to look after the nursing home. her husband had passed away when she was 40. unlike many doctors who claimed that this profession provided everything you expect from humanity janaki hated it. she hated the wailing babies. their shapeless features. the amount of drama during each delivery. how some women pooped all over the room just after delivery. so when sree called in she was far from happy. all these mylapore maamis were extra theatrical.  "yeah bring her in an auto. arambichachu yezhavu.. amma valikudha.. aatha yeriyudhu.. yenamo namellam kozhandhaiye peradha madhiri..(*drama like we never pregs*)"

it would have 3 or 6 hours sreepadhi could never know. yet there was no sign of the baby. it was early morning when varadhan came over. another 30 mins. janaki finally came out."its a boy. healthy. but before you see the baby we need to talk". janaki's room was a large spacious room with old furniture. across her table a beeming varadhan and a tensed sreepadhy sat.."see here mr.sreepadhy..the kid is healthy and all. but its a bit abnormal."...a nurse knocked.."excuse me madam the kid is washed and ready"..."seri you go. its better you come and see". and a clean white room with 10 craddle lay before them. just one of them had a baby in it. the baby was bundled in white dhothi. sree was very happy. it looked as beautiful as a baby he had known. he went near by and placed his right thumb in its small soft palm. it closed it tiny fingers around it. "hmm sreepadhy it better you unwrap and see it once"...it was nothing sree had expected. the baby looked quite old. it had facial hair around its jaws. its mouth seemed a bit bulging. and it had a small tail. yes a tail.

sree was composed. he dint expect this. but it was as if something or rather someone was holding him from falling down. it was varadhan. sree placed the baby carefully back and walked out."dei sree this is unbelievable da. the very god you have been praying to has come down as your child. can you even believe this? ah dear god. is there no end to your leela??".. sree dint say anything.."look sree this is big. we should pay these people to keep it under wraps. stay in my house for few days till we figure it out". sree dint utter a word. varadhan took it for granted it was him who will break it to charu. three days later they had spent two days in varadhans house. hidden. sree hadnt spoken yet. that night varadhan called them both "has the kid slept off? ok. i still cant believe that lord rama picked you both. this kid will unite all the tribes. convert the non-belivers. we cant keep this under wraps anymore. i have made the necessary arrangements. day after tomorrow we release pictures and videos . this baby is meant for really big things. we all knew it staright away. my hindu swasida party will take care of security. you will get a new big house and all that. you know its the god order. things are in motion. "..."yes mama i knew this would come. my son is meant to be the saviour of this failing hindu religion. am sure sree will like a good big temple with devotess packed. we are ok mama." . sree dint say anything.

and all the things happened as varadhan expected. the neighbouring house were brought with limitless cash. the temple and the house were expanded. everyone flocked too see bala anjaneyar. that was the baby's name.with a small crown studded with stones on its head which prevented it form tilting its head often, hourly poojas and darshan, bala's life was far from normal. he dint grow up as a human but rather as an institution. his first birthday put political party meetings to shame.  charu was so happy. she had everything she could have ever wanted. they adressed her as deva maatha. sreepadhy continued his job as a priest. but no one liked him any more. he was rich. he was no more cheer full. he would just chant the mantras and give away the prasadams. no more choice of blessings. but the devotees dint mind. he was a holy man. of course the guy to milk the most was varadhan. he started to become famous. and powerful. he was now known on a national circuit now. varadhan ji they called him. in short life was good for everyone.

all except the dravidian party members. atheists. they had lost they foot hold. and rumours. of a new hindu national wide party. with the bala hanuman as its mascot. 40 years of political life was vanishing in a wisp. they dint know what to do. they went and saw the kid. it was not a fake. he looked like hanuman him self. something had to be done. and meena azaghuraja decided she had to act soon. her father was one of the big shots during the dravidian movement. and she was well respected. if she could end the hanuman menance she would be the queen. or so she dreamed. but she was never able to do anything. a year passed. not just her but the whole party was under jeopardy. retired hindu leaders had come back into politics. all over the country all the hindus were galvanised. with election a year away it seemed inevitalbe. the whole scale of it all of course amazed everyone. including varadhan. but such is gods plan for him. he was always special but this . he never knew god had meant such things for him. to lead on all the hindus . to where he dint know. maybe once he became the pm he would.

 meena decided to visit the bala hanuman. he had grown as a 3 year old would. with more beard and a bigger tail. he was already being trained in the vedas and such stuff. what ever he wished it came to be. people waited for hours for him to throw tantrums settle down and call out their names and say good things. varadhan had trained him well. next called out the attendant. meena stepped forward. "are you really hanuman?".."yes he is. are you an idiot?".."wait let him talk.tell me kid are you hanuman?"..."yesss"..."what makes you think so?"..."i have face like him. i dress like him. i have a tail."..."that doesnt make you a hanuman. prove to me you are hanuman. do what hanuman did. can you jump through the trees and go to kapaleshwarar kovil form here?"....varadhan interrupted "idiot lady. who are you? how dare you talk.."...:"dont shout mama. prove it. hanuman was always able to to jump like that. we all know it. do it and prove it"'..varadhan dint hesitate for a moment. with great respect in his voice he turned to bala  "she is an idiot. please do this and prove it to her beyond doubt . just climb on the wall here and you will know what to do. you are afterall god". bala blinked. varadhan got up lifted bala and put him on the nearest tree which was a mango tree. all the devotess started chanting.. jai hanuman..maruthi deva.. and so on.. cheered on bala started moving among branches. it was five mins before he got to the branch nearest to the next tree. jump said varadhan. bala obliged. to everyones surprise he fell down and lay limp. blood everywhere. screams. confusions. meena was smiling. this is enough..she tuned to her aasnt "you recorded it fully right?"..yes madam.. meena left the place. next day morning there was a huge crowd in front of meena's house. all the party members had come over.,."madam you are great. just now we got confirm news. that hanuman paiyan is dead"

charu had gone into a state of shock. she dint speak a word. she sat in a corner. sreepadhi was his usual self. dint say anything. dint do anything. varadhan was no where to be fond. rumour was he had run away. fact was he had gone to his village to recover. everything, the whole empire built over 3 years had destroyed. just before the election. varadhan was broke. things were back to normal. or they seemed. the temple was deserted. charu looked more like a beggar now. varadhan returned after a month. that night he met sreepadhy . for the first time sreepadhy saw varadhan break down. varadhan cried. "mama please dont cry. look i am the father and am ok. its fine. its gods will. you said so".."sree what can i do now? we have failed all the hindus. look how fickle all this crowd is. sree promise me. promise me you will have a child as early as possible"..."no mama. i wont have another child. i had a child. i would have silently taken him away to some obscoure village and brought him up. but my wife was greedy and now we are childless."..."sreee you owe us all. do it or i will as well as commit suicide today. rama comes in my dreams and curses me for not finishing the job". finally sree gave in.

a month and few pregnancy test later, no sign of a child. varadhan started to blackmail and threaten sree. emotionally of course. sree felt he owned varadhan ,religion and god quite a bit. he tried. but no sign of the baby. charu was no more interested. she was just numb. her body felt like a vessel . everytime sree fucked her she felt nothing at all. nothing happened. varadhan passed away suddenly. and the guilt quotient in sree increased. he became desperate. one clear sunday morning charu just woke up. when she came to the hall it felt wierd. all windows were closed. there was a big steel cage. in it was a monkey. it appeared dead. sree was sitting next to it "charu this is your last chance. the monkey is sedated. take it to the bed room. do what ever you want. i want a baby in ten months. now take it and go in.."..."are you mad??".."no am not. i know how you had bala in first place. i dont know where you got the monkey from. you never had much sex with me. where did the tail and all come from? simple. you had sex with the monkey.i dont know how. i couldnt satisfy you. you couldnt go to another man. was it in sozhinganallur?? "..."hear youself. you are insane.i dont want to live with you anymore".."come back here. i have lost everything because of you. you owe me this. i dont know why we are not having a baby again. i tried all i could. so take this monkey before it wakes up"..the next morning sree was found hanging. charu was no where to be found
free
ps-as usual since its translated i got lazy and swallowed a lot




9 comments:

Srishti said...

WHOA! What a story, man. Did you write it or translate it from somewhere? Its reallyyyy good, I really like to read folktales and stories of different cultures.

Woww. Seriously.

Spaz Kumari said...

you've done a lot better before.

plus, i could be wrong but it looks like you got bored and just wanted to finish towards the end.

Anonymous said...

your mind is a monkey. photos, stories, blog posts-your laziness is stamped across it vishy. in your words free
-ro

soin said...

@srishti..i wrote it in tamizh and then translated it..free

@spaz..there is no use replying to you. as usual you are correct on both

@ro..ayeah what pleasure do you have in stating the obv?

Jil Jil Ramamani said...

Reads like Pudumaipittan translated word to word

soin said...

confused. as in pudhumai pithaan wrote same story or the story is like that or the translation is shitty?

Shalini said...

Loved the story...loved the pace...
But what happened in the end??? Everything done in a jiffy!

soin said...

well yeah the end, i was in three minds and sort of swallowed. either she killed him, or she ran away and he suicide.. or both ran away.. the last option was ending for tamizh version.here its the second

Ashwini Sriram said...

Soin,

Brilliant blog. You sound like an Indianised Roald Dahl :) Very sinister!

Ashwini