When the train reached Chengannur station, I still had one last obstacle to clear. The ticket examiner at the exit. I was hoping for a huge crowd near the exit and do the same stunt like last time, ie tell the ticket examiner that my mother is at the back of the queue with the ticket. Unfortunately only 2 passengers got down at Chengannur station and I didn’t know what to do.
I opened my lab coat and hung it on my shoulder. I knew I looked like a Doctor. With my head held high, I walked to the gate and smiled at the examiner and walked out, before he could ask me for the ticket. I quickly walked out of the station, leaving the stunned ticket examiner near the exit gate.

I suddenly felt extremely tired. I haven’t had anything to eat or drink since last evening. Till now, all I thought was to eascape. Now that I have escaped, I didn’t have any more strength and couldn’t walk all the way to Chengannur house. I looked around and finally decided to take an auto rickshaw from the stand.
“You are Thomas Uncle’s daughter right?” The driver turned his head and asked
I was really surprised and asked him “How do you know that?”
“You look just like your father”
“Really?” I knew I look like my father, but it is really exciting to hear that from a stranger.
“Carbon copy. 100%” He replied
“hmm” I nodded my head
“Do you know who I am?”
I shook my head.
“Do you remember walking under the elephant’s leg?”
“Hmmm” I nodded
“Do you remember me now?” He turned his head again and grinned.
I looked at his face. He had curly hair and a nice mustache. But I couldn’t remember him at all. Then I remembered the nikkerwala payyan.
“Aha, aren’t you the one, who wants to marry me?” I asked him
He started to laugh. “Wow, your memory is super”
“Ofcourse, I am after all Methran Thambi’s grand daughter!”
“What are you doing now?” I asked him
“I am going to Dubai soon. I am waiting for the visa”
“Why?” I asked him
“Why What?” He asked
“Why do you want to go to Dubai?”
“Pengale(sister), I completed B.com with first class and the only job I got here is to drive an auto rickshaw. Even to apply for the postion of a peon in the government, I have to pay bribe. There is no future here. Atleast in Dubai, even if I get a job as a labourer, I will make more money than here!”
“hmm” I nodded my head. I was afraid even to think, what my future would be with a simple pre-degree qualification.
When we reached the main road near the house, I got down from the rickshaw. I was planning to make him wait at the junction, run home, get money from Ammachi and come back and pay him
“How much?” I asked him
“How much what?” he asked me
“The fare!”
“Oh that ! Ente pengale(my sister), during karkkidakam(monson) even when we can’t light a fire, we had food at home. Your Ammachi made sure of that and now after all that do you think, I will take money from you?”
I looked at him, trying to understand everything that is happening. What a difference from yestrday’s rickshaw driver to today’s rickshaw driver.
Pengale(sister), you go home now, I will stand here and make sure you reach home safely”
“Thank you for dropping me here” I mumbled and started to walk.
When I reached the kaitha koottam,I turned and looked. The rickshaw driver was still standing there near the junction and watching me and I realized I don’t even know his name. I waved at him and turned right.
This time, I didn’t feel like, trying to spot the thatched roof or shouting Ammachi’s name across the paddy field. When I reached home, the living room door was open and I walked in. There was no sign of Ammachi. When I reached the kitchen Ammachi was just walking towards the dining table to place the bowl of porridge on the table. She saw me and looked stunned.
I ran to her and hugged her. I had so much to tell her and no words came out.
“Are you ok Nina?” She asked me
“Is your father ok?”
“Why are you here Nina?”
Why am I here? Oh Ammachi I wish I could tell you that.
“I just wanted to see you Ammachi”
“hmm, go wash your hands and come”
I kept my coat and books on the dining table and went to wash my hands and legs. The cold water from the well was soothing, So I washed my face again and again
“Nina, stop playing with the water like a little kid and come and eat your lunch.”
“I am not playing with the water. And I am not a little kid anymore” I screamed back
Ammachi was already sitting on the bench and waiting for me. I looked at the food on the table. There was porridge, unakkameen chammanthi(salted fish chutney) and white moru(yogurt curry)
“Where is Chakki?”
“She is not here”
“Where is she?”
“I don’t know”
I looked at my grandmother, trying to understand what she is telling me. She was busy eating her porridge.
“Ammachi, What happend to Chakki?”
“You won’t let me eat in peace will you?” She screamed at me
I was so upset with her. I ran away from Bangalore, hoping to escape from everything and find comfort and safety with my grandmother, and here is she, yelling at me and I don’t know what happend to Chakki
I looked down and started to paly with my spoon. I was hungry, but I didn’t feel like eating.
“I had to ask her to leave” Ammachi spoke
“Because your father won’t leave her alone”
I looked at my grandmother. There were too many things that was going in my life and I always thought, my father is a wonderful man, even when he hit my mother, I always thought Amma had asked for it. Now I didn’t know anything anymore.
We ate the rest of the meal in silence. I understood why Ammachi has progressed from rice and 3 different curries to porridge and salt fish chutney. My grandmother has to do everything all by herself. I was glad to be home. Atleast now I can help her.

11 thoughts on “Home

  1. It takes two hands to clap and produce a sound.
    Unfortunate, that you were destined to hear it.

    I liked the “coat-trick” at the station- employed routinely by docs even to get into their own hospitals at odd hours!!

  2. Hmmm.

    Problems will come,
    And they will go,
    The world will try to deceive you.

    After reading your post, i was wondering how much the world likes to deceive us.

    Do you think that you should have told ammachi about what happened?

  3. searching batura recipe…landed up here, saw kadhakali icon so came right in and checked more…thanks for the recipe..ur daughters of tomorrow sounds interesting.. plan to come back…

  4. MadhavanKutty: Life is never the way you expect it would be

    Sujit: Yeah.. that was the hardest part.. there was no escape

    Toothless: How can I tell her? What will I tell her? and What can she do? Nothing..Even if she knew, there was nothing she could do

    maya: Pavam Chakki..

    Alex: Ammachi’s life revolved around Chengannur house.. She has never been outside Kerala.. There was nothing she could do and what was the point in making her worry about me?

    Techno: Imagine my state!

    Neihal: Yes

    Serene Living: Thank youf ro visiting my blog

    Vidya: the feudalistic landlord ideologies don’t change with education… land and the workers belong to the master!

  5. I was hungry, but I didn’t feel like eating.

    I was hungry, but I didn’t feel like eating.

    I was hungry, but I didn’t feel like eating.

    I was hungry, but I didn’t feel like eating.

    I was hungry, but I didn’t feel like eating.

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