The plaster cast on my leg was heavy and I could hardly walk. I was hoping to enjoy every bit of the 10 day onam school holidays. Now I have no choice, but to watch everyoneelse enjoying.
Amma was busy stitching a new blouse for the saree she got from Bangalore. My sisters went to play with the neighbourhood children and Akkachi was washing the clothes.
I felt bored lying down on my bed all day, so I got up and hopped on one leg all the way to the main entrance. I sat down on the door step. The sky was beautiful blue with hardly a cloud in sight. I thought about my grandmother and what would she have said when she learned that I broke my leg? She certainly would have scolded me. After all suriani kristiani girls are not supposed to climb on fence or trees. May be I should tell her, how Amma beat me up. Perhaps, I should tell her, that I probably didn’t break any bones on my own, Amma beat and broke my bones. Now that would have been a super idea. I would love to get Amma in to trouble for hurting me so much. May be I should let Ammachi know, what Amma is up to. But I have no money, so I can’t send any letters to her. Then I remembered the clouds, and how Ammachi told me the story of Kalidasa and Megaduta.
I looked at the sky and found one tiny wisp of cloud. I decided to send a message through the clouds to Ammachi. The cloud that I spotted was really small. May be it is a baby cloud, so it may not understand complicated messages. I closed my eyes and said a simple request
‘oh my dear cloud, go to Chengannur and tell Ammachi, Amma hit me and broke my bones’. I imagined the cloud travelling all the way, past the Kodimatha Bridge, Pallom, Karimpumkala junction,Chingavanom bus stand, Changanasseri bus stand, Thiruvalla bus stand and then reaching the Chengannur.
“Amma. Amma” I was shocked to hear a really strange voice calling me Amma and nearly fell off from the door step. My heart was beating so fast. I thought of running inside to the safety of my house and shut the door. But my leg was not following me. I looked at the gate and the origin of the voice that called me Amma.
A lady was standing there, leaning on the gate. She had a big smile on her face. She wore a green colour saree and a red blouse. Her hair was cut so short that if she didn’t wear a saree, she would have looked like a man. I looked at her and with a heart that was beating so fast, I mustered enough strength to ask her
“What?”. But when I heard my own voice, I wanted to laugh. I sounded very much like someone was strangling my neck.
She replied in a tamil slanged Malayalam.
“I am Kaliamman’s disciple. I have good news for you.”
“Really? What good news?”
She slowly opened the gate and walked in. She placed the cloth bag that was on her shoulder on the ground and squatted in front of me.
“I will tell you my first good news, your sister got university admission”
I was stunned. How did this strange woman know that Chechy got admission to do engineering?
“I will tell you my second secret. You fell down from the wall yesterday and broke your leg.”
My goodness, this woman knows everything. I have two questions that needed answer. May be I will ask her
“If you know everything, tell me Where is my father?”
She closed her eyes for a minute as though she is looking for my father.
She opened her eyes slowly and quickly covered her mouth. There was fear in her eyes.
“What? What is wrong? Why did you cover your mouth?”
“Youe father’s life is in danger. I have to do special pooja for Kaliamman to save his life”
“Why? What happend to my father?”
“If I don’t do the special pooja, your father will Die!”
Oh my goodness, What Am I going to do?
“How will you do special pooja?” I asked her
“There is a temple in the forest. Nobody knows about that temple. Kaliamman showed me the place one day, when I was travelling in the forest. I will go there and do special pooja for your father”
“Can you go now?”
“Ofcourse, but I need to buy all the ingredients for the pooja. For that I need money”
“I don’t have any money. Will you please do me a favour and go and pray for my father?” I begged her.
“Sure, I will.” She looked at me from top to bottom and her eyes rested on my ears.
“Give me your gold earring. I will pawn it and get money.”
“My mother will kill me, if I loose my earring”
“What is more important to you? You want to save your father’s life or worry about your mother?”
I thought about my father. I didn’t want anything to happen to him. I slowly unscrewed my earring.
“Who are you speaking to Nina?” I could hear Amma walking towards us
“Hurry up, give me the earring quick” The lady’s hand was in front of my face, trying to pull my earring from my ears
“Oh my goodness”. I heard my mother shouting. “How dare you try to steal the earring from my daughter’s face? Thief Thief, somebody help” Amma was yelling
The lady quickly took her bag from the floor and ran out, Amma close in pursuit. But the lady was fast. She disappeared quickly down the road.Amma took stones from the floor and threw at her in anger. That is when I saw Akashavani’s son ducking his head near our gate.
It didn’t make any sense. How did that lady know that chechy got University admission? What is Akashavani’s son doing outside our gate? Then I figured it out, Akashavani’s son gave her all the information. He was hiding behind the gate and enjoying, seeing how I nearly became a victim of an Indian Gypsy.
“Are you ok Nina? Did she hurt you?” Amma asked me
“No Amma, I am fine”.
“I think from now on, we should lock the gate. And Nina the next time when someone try to hurt you, just scream at the top of your voice.”
“Ok, Amma”.
“My god, what is happening to this world? My poor innocent daughter’s leg is broken and people try to steal her earrings!. kali kala vaibhavam”
I said silently kali kala Vaibhavam

19 thoughts on “Kakkothi

  1. wow…u had a close shave, didnt u! i can imagine what ur plight wud have been had u lost the earring.

    neways i wonder if in ur next post, u got urself a beating by confessing the truth to ur mom? haha…just cant wait to read on!

  2. Oh we have had incidents like this, dad used to love grilling these kid of people with all kinds of questions. As we all spoke tamil we would to them talk in tamil, tha tused to discourage them.

  3. I closed my eyes and said a simple request
    ‘oh my dear cloud, go to Chengannur and tell Ammachi, Amma hit me and broke my bones’.

    Goosebumps when I read that! Nice!

  4. yeah, when we are kid we get carried away by simple truths. Good that your mom came at the right time!.. and what kind of idiotic neighbour you have..!

  5. reminds me of the days i “enjoyed” at home after breaking my leg while playing football. i spend nearly 2 weeks at home. and dad brought me lot of video cassettes to avoid my boredom :). for me those days were good.. i realy enjoyed the unexpected “vacation” from school.

  6. “Kali kaala vaibhavam!”
    The translation is “The effect of Kali era.”
    This is Kalikaalam, an era where vice eclipses the virtues, and will end in Armageddon.
    Kali kaala vaibhavam! Allathenthu parayaan!

  7. Jiby: Mother still doesn’t know..But the thing is I fell for that woman’s trick, hook line and sinker..

    Mindcurry: Thank you.. I sat next to the witch, so I can write!!!

    thanu: Perhaps tht is another reason why I felt comfortable with tht woman tht day.. She reminded me of the Amah who worked in my maternal grandmother’s house in Malaysia!!

    Maya: they know just how to trick innocent children

    Lg: thank you

    I love Munich: I never told my mother that I was only seconds away from giving that woman my gold earring.. which by the way, I still have..

    Sujit: Malayalee neighbours are unique.. they give you 100 % support when you are in trouble.. they are extremely helpful.. but they also give you 100% trouble, when ever there is an opportunity..

    Visithra: we never had them in Malaysia!!

    Rock sea:!!

    Starrynights: Kalidasa wrote tht many many centuries ago.. Even when I see the clouds moving fast, I try to send a message!

    Monu: if only i had broken my legs during the exam!.. I broke it when I have holidays!!! Imagine how sad it is!

    Geetha: Now you know why I remember that incident!

    Chandu: Hmmm.. you are right
    and thank you for the translation..

    Has to be me: How did another girl manage to trick you??

    Annita: If i told Amma about the neighbour, she would go there and fight.. and as far as possible, we try to make sure tht, Amma never fight with others.. it was really embarassing..

    Hillgrandmom: I don’t know how my Ammachi knew all these stories.. but she kind of taught me to look for options all the time.. No money for letters.. then send messages through clouds.

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