“Nina can we do skiing?” Asked my sisters
“Skiing? in our house? What exactly have you in mind?”
“What if we stand on something and you pull us? we can take turns!”
“Good idea, but what do we use to stand on?”
“We can use pala(petiole of palm leaf)!” Liza suggested.
We ran to the areca nut tree in the corner of our house. There was one dried palm leaf on the ground.
“Oh we are so lucky” Exclaimed my sisters.
“Go and get the knife and find some rope” I ordered
Within minutes my sisters were back with a knife and a rope. I sat on the washing stone, cut the palm leaf petiole in to half and used the bottom part. I tied the rope on my body and Liza stood on the petiole and held the rope that was tied on my body.
“Akkachi we are going to do pala(petiole) skiing”. I yelled
Akkachi was inside the kitchen making tea and she popped her head out of the kitchen window and said
“Whatever you do, be careful, your mother would kill us all, if anything untoward happens”
“Don’t worry Akkachi, We will be careful”.
We took turns and were having so much fun, then the untoward happend.
“Oh No, what are we going to do?”
“it is your fault Nina” screamed Liza
“How is it my fault?”
“You ran fast”
“but you are the one who was standing on the leaf, so you broke it”
“No you ran fast and you are the reason the leaf broke.”.
“I am not going to play with you any more”
I pulled the rope away from her hand and removed the knot from my body.
“You are a mean sister, Nina, I wish I never had a sister like you”
“Too bad, it is too late to find a new sister.”
“I hate you”. She ran inside.
“Nina, can we get another pala(petiole)?Sally asked
“There are no more palm leaf, Sally. Amma cut them all up for firewood”
“There is one on the tree”
“ofcourse, it is a palm tree, it has to have leaves on it, bodoh(stupid).”
“No Nina, there is a dried leaf, just about to drop, on the tree”
I looked up at the tree, What Sally said was true. There is a semi dried leaf still hanging on the tree. I couldn’t reach it from the ground level. But if I climbed on the fence wall, I will be able to grab the leaf and pull it down.
“Tell you what, Move away from the bottom of the tree, I will climb the fence wall and pull it down.”
“Nina, you are not allowed to climb the fence wall”
“I know, but Amma won’t know, Do me a favour, go and check the road and see if Amma is coming, if you see her, yell and call my name. I will climb down quickly. ok?”
“Nina, are you sure, you will be ok?”
“Ofcourse, I will be, I am Methran Thampi’s granddaughter!”
“Nina, who is Methran Thampi?”
” He is our famous grandfather”
“What is he famous for?”
“That I have no idea, but there is a feeling, when you say I am Methran Thampi’s granddaughter!!!, Now go and stand near the main gate and look out for Amma”
Although I boasted that I am the courageous grand daughter of famous Methran Thampi, climbing the fence wall was no small task. For one thing the wall is 5 feet tall and the top part is curved and smooth to prevent people from walking on it. I analysed my options and finally figured the best way to climb the wall. I will stand on the washing stone and reach the top of the wall and slowly lift my body up. Once I am on top, I have to quickly grab the leaf and jump down. All I have to make sure is that my landing spot is free of stones and the leaf won’t fall on top of me. That is an easy task, so I thought.
Confidentally I climbed the washing stone, I reached for the top of the fence wall and I managed to lift my body up and slowly managed to stand on top of the fence wall.
‘Wow, I felt like, I am on top of the world’. I slowly craned my neck and looked all around me. That is when I heard
“maram keri Mariya,maram keri Malaysian Maria”.(Maria, the tree climber from Malaysia). Akashavani’s son was jumping up and down and yelling .
“I am not Maria, I am Nina” I was so mad and I quickly turned. One minute I was on top of the Fence wall, the next minute I wasn’t. I landed on the washing stone.
I tried to get up , my legs didn’t move. I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t even breath.
“Akkachi, Nina fell down from the fence wall” Sally was howling
Akkachi ran out from the kitchen
“Did you hit your head Nina? Where does it hurt? Oh my goodness, Nina speak something.” Akkachi was shaking me
“I am ok Akkachi, but my leg is hurting”
“Oh my goodness, I think you have broken your leg Nina!, Oh god, What are we going to do?”
“Serves you right Nina, See Jesus punished you, because you are a nasty mean sister”
I turned to look and saw Liza grinning happily
“Go away Liza, How can you be so mean, Chechy has hurt her legs and you want to rub more salt in to her wound?” Sally asked her.
“Let Amma come, I am going to tell her, I am going to tell Amma everything and make sure, she beats the life out of you, Nina”
Before I could get up from the floor, we heard Amma opening the main gate
“Amma Nina climbed on the fence and fell down” Liza ran to the main gate to tell Amma the good news.
“How dare she disobey me”. Amma ran to where I was lying down, took the part of the palm leaf that I cut earlier and started to hit me
“How dare you Nina? How dare you disobey me? Your father is not here, if anything happens to you, who will take care of you? You are already deaf and dumb and blind and now you want to break your body too? What do you think I am? A millionaire? To save so much dowry for a disabled”
“Chechy, Enough” Akkachi splayed her hand across and tried to protect me from further blows
“You are siding and protecting her? You take care of her!” Amma dropped the leaf and grabbed my sisters hand and went inside.
I couldn’t cry till then, now the tears started to flow
“Never mind Nina, don’t cry, it is ok”
Akkachi slowly lifted me up. She held my hand and we walked to the kitchen. I sat on the kitchen door step and Akkachi slowly washed the dirt from my legs. My feet was getting swollen.
“Nina can we do skiing?” Asked my sisters