‘Papathara’ by Sarah Joseph: A Story for Daughters’ Day

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Female Foeticide,  female infanticide, dowry system, degradations, humiliations, dowry murders…the saga of the girl child caught in a searing, powerful short story in Malayalam by Prof.Sarah Joseph.

Papathara : The Ground of Sin

 

മണ്ണിലോട്ടു തിരികെ …

cavafy

മലയാള ഭാഷയെ സ്‌നേഹിക്കുന്ന ആരും ഓർക്കുന്ന ചില സിനിമ സംഭാഷണങ്ങളുണ്ട്. പ്രിയപ്പെട്ട എം ടി വാസുദേവൻ നായർ സാറിന്റേതാണവ.

ആരൂഢം:

വർമ്മ: കോൺവെൻറ് ഇൻഗ്ലീഷില് നാല് മുറിവാചകം പറഞ്ഞാൽ വിജ്ഞാനത്തിന്റെ അങ്ങേത്തലയെത്തിയല്ലോ. ഉണ്ണി അക്ഷരം പഠിക്കണ പുസ്തകം കണ്ടിട്ടുണ്ടോ? A for Apple..I for Igloo ! ‘Igloo’ എന്താണെന്നറിയ്യോ?പറയൂ!
ഇന്ദിര മിണ്ടുന്നില്ല.
വർമ്മ : അറിയില്ല. Igloo’ ട്യുന്ദ്ര പ്രദേശത്തെ എസ്കിമോ വർഗ്ഗക്കാർ മഞ്ഞിലുണ്ടാക്കുന്ന കുടിലാണ്. ഒരു നല്ല വാചകം സായ്‌പിന്റെ സുന്ദരമായ ഇംഗ്ലീഷിൽ പറയാനാവില്ല. ശുദ്ധ മലയാളത്തിലും ആവില്ല.സോറി, മലയാളമല്ല , മലയാലം! വേരുകൾ സമസ്തം നഷ്ട്ടപ്പെട്ട ഒരു വർഗ്ഗം. നമ്മളൊക്കെ. ഞാനടക്കം.

ആരണ്യകം :

ചെറുപ്പക്കാരൻ : തെറ്റോ ശരിയോ എന്നറിഞ്ഞുകൂടാ. ഞാനിങ്ങനെയൊക്കെയായി. എനിക്ക് വേണ്ടിയല്ല. കുട്ടിയ്ക്ക് മനസ്സിലാവുന്ന വിഷയമല്ലാത്തതു കൊണ്ട് വിസ്തരിക്കുന്നില്ല. വീട്ടിൽ എല്ലാവരുമുണ്ട്; അമ്മിണീടെ പ്രായത്തിലുള്ള അനുജത്തിയുമുണ്ട്. പക്ഷെ..അവരാരും ഇപ്പോ ക്ലെയിം ചെയ്യില്ല . ഇടയ്ക്ക് അവളെ മാത്രം ഓർമ്മ വരും ..അമ്മിണീടെ അതേ ഛായ. മൃഗമല്ല , ആവരുതെന്നുണ്ട് . നല്ല വീട്, നല്ല കുടുംബത്തിന്റെ അറ്റമോസ്‌ഫിയർ, നല്ല ഭക്ഷണം, ധാരാളം പുസ്തകങ്ങൾ .ഇതൊക്കെ എനിക്കും ഇഷ്ടം! മൃഗമല്ലാത്തതു കൊണ്ടുതന്നെ.
അമ്മിണി : പിന്നെയെന്തിനീ…?
ചെറുപ്പക്കാരൻ : എനിക്കു മാത്രം പോരല്ലോ ഇതൊക്കെ!

വെള്ളം :

വികാരി: ഈറ്റ വീട്ടുകാർക്ക് സംഘം , പരമ്പു നെയ്ത്തുകാർക്കു സംഘം …എന്തായിത്?
തമ്പി : തെറ്റാണോ അച്ചോ ? ഹും ..അറിവില്ലാത്ത ഗലീലിയോ മുക്കുവരെ ആദ്യം സംഘം ചേർത്തത് ആരാണച്ചോ?

മാത്തുണ്ണി: നിന്റെ അപ്പൻ വക്കീൽ സാറ് എനിക്കെതിര് നിൽക്കില്ല. അത് നിനക്കറിയാമോ?
തമ്പി : എന്റപ്പൻ പലതിനും എതിരാണ് : ദിവാൻ വാഴ്ചയ്‌ക്കെതിര് നിന്നു പോയി. ചൂഷണത്തിന് എതിര് നിന്നതു കൊണ്ട് പണക്കാരനാകാതെ പോയി .
വികാരി : നിന്റെയപ്പന് വയസ്സെഴുപതായി . മരിച്ചാൽ പള്ളിപ്പറമ്പിലടക്കണ്ടേ?
തമ്പി : ഹും …നീ മണ്ണാകുന്നു , മണ്ണിലേക്കു തിരിച്ചു ചേരുന്നു ..ശരിയല്ലേ അച്ചാ ? പള്ളിപ്പറമ്പിനു പുറത്തും മണ്ണില്ലേ?

***

ശ്രീ എം മുകുന്ദന്റെ ചെറുകഥ “സിറ്റി ക്ലബ്ബിലെ സായാഹ്‌നം .”
സുന്ദര വസ്തുക്കളുടെ , സുന്ദര മനുഷ്യരുടെ വൈരൂപ്യങ്ങൾ കാട്ടി തന്ന്, മൂർച്ചയുള്ള ഒരു കത്തി കൊണ്ട് നമ്മുടെ ജീവിത ലക്ഷ്യങ്ങളെപ്പറ്റി പുനർചിന്തിപ്പിക്കുന്ന കഥ.

അടച്ചു വച്ച പുസ്തകങ്ങൾ, തിരക്കഥകൾ …എല്ലാം പൊടി തട്ടി തുറന്നാൽ തോന്നും : എത്ര കാലിക പ്രസക്തമാണ് ! ഒരിക്കലും മാറാത്ത ജീവിത സത്യങ്ങൾ.

 

 

The Cascade Effect

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Gargi checks the whatsapp message again: “Your silken curls, cascading like a river, are giving me sleepless nights! When do I get to bury my face in that garden of fragrance?”
She rubs her eyes and looks again at her greying old phone. The beep had woken her up from a rather deep sleep.
The message reads the same.
She checks the sender information.
There is no display picture. No pompous one liner or any other detail. Just an unknown number sending her this romantic stuff at one in the night.
‘Well, well,” she mutters to herself, “if it is any of my old admirers, I would like to shake him up for not sending this to me fifty years before! Could have given the Urdu poetry quoting Colonel a run for his money!”
She does not reply.
But when she goes to bed again, she cannot help smiling to herself. There is a song in her heart.
“Keshav should get that river side plot. He is struggling in his business now… This plot might help.” She thinks fondly of her younger son. He reminded her most of her late husband, the Colonel.
She caresses her long, thick, white curls, as she drifts off to a happy sleep.

**
Lakshmy giggles as she reads the message. Trust Krishnan to send her this syrupy sweet nothing at one in the night. Did he get drunk by any chance after doing all that Maths?
How did he get her number?
She caresses her silken black hair, cascading like a river, and imagines him hiding his face in that garden of fragrance.
Trust him to look all serious, the quintessential Maths teacher, and trying poetry to charm her at night! And except for looking deeply into her eyes in the staff room, he has till now never dared to express any emotion.
Was this his number? Ever since he had joined their school last month, she had been desperately trying to get it. Sheena , her friend, had mercilessly teased her about her crush!
Well, she will not respond now! But tomorrow, during the tea break, she will ask him whether he liked rivers and gardens!
She dreamily stares at the moon outside and is filled with inexplicable joy.
If only tomorrow arrived now!
**
Dr. Alice reads the message and wipes away the sudden tears.
When was the last time her husband sent something so nice?
And especially after a big fight? When she has almost decided to call it quits.
But this was not his normal number.
When he stomped out at ten in the night, she had thought it had ended.
Memories came flooding back: their college romance, their youthful days when George tried to create his business, the birth of their daughter…the recent fights over his drinking bouts, the extravagance…
‘ We will pull through… will go for a vacation together…a place somewhere far away, with rivers and gardens…He still praises my long hair! Lord, how I remember his courtship in college, quoting his favourite poets!’
Alice dials her husband’s number.
He picks up. A disappointed, frustrated man.
‘ Honey, come home. You know I love you,’ she says. Her sincerity makes her voice wobble.
There is a gasp from the other end. As if someone could not believe his ears.
‘ Alice, is that you for real? What..I mean…I love you too darling… I am reaching in ten minutes time!’
The man, nursing his drink and contemplating various ways of ending it all, feels as if the Lord has given him a wake up call.
He shakes his head and laughs at none in particular.
**
‘ You forwarded it to three numbers unknowingly? What do you mean, you idiot? The first thing you do in my brand new phone is to whatsapp lines of my new song to our grandmother, the family doctor and my English teacher? Arrghhhhhh….’

‘Shut up children! It is night one o’ clock. Get into bed!’ An extremely irritated mother calls from her bedroom.
A fifteen year old’s attempt to create a song for impressing his girl friend, fades off slowly, to the tunes of a screaming younger brother who is getting his ears mercilessly boxed.
Of course, the mysterious cascading effect of his creativity was slowly rippling through the neighbourhood even then.
**

 

 

 

Thirteen Years Later…

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Scene One: Conference Hall in a beautiful heritage hotel…There is a banner which says ‘ Giving Back to Society: The Innumerable Ways !’

People milling around. The smart youth, in latest fashions. Camera men, journalists, participants with their ID cards.
A sudden flurry of activity when the Chief Guest arrives.Bouquets , flashes of camera, voices…

Cut to back of the room…A tall man, in his late twenties, sits quietly. He is looking at the speakers on the podium. He gazes at one face and is lost in memories.

*
On the podium.

Compère: ‘And now, we would like to invite Mrs. Karuna Menon to share her experiences as a counsellor and rehabilitation specialist dealing with juvenile delinquents for many decades.’

A young woman steps forward and manoeuvres a wheel chair towards the mike. There is a poignant sigh rising from the audience. The woman in the wheel chair is around seventy, with a shock of white hair. She is radiant and cheerful.

Mrs Menon : Dear friends on the dais and beloved members of the audience! Thank you for giving me a chance to highlight the need for sensitivity towards juvenile delinquents. No child is born a criminal…As members of the society in which she or he lives, we are responsible for nurturing that soul to the proper heights it can aspire to. For that, we should stop looking at juvenile delinquents as evil. We should learn to open our eyes and see them for what they are: children fighting for survival.

Then she continues with her speech.

Back of the room. The man, lost in memories…

The Q&A session begins.
Raised hands: hyper smart questions, cynical queries, opinions disguised as questions…Mrs.Menon answers with grace and humility.

Slowly, the man raises his hand. He gets up.

Compère: Yes, sir… please ask your question.

Man: I stand here as a testimony to the great work of Mrs. Karuna Menon. I was a drug addict in my teenage. A very dangerous juvenile delinquent who stole his own mother’s jewellery. This lady, she saved my life. When the whole world hated me, she opened her home to the likes of me. Madam, thank you.

There is a ruffling sound, as many heads turn to gaze at the man. Slowly, someone begins to applaud. Mrs.Menon, in her wheel chair, stares unbelievingly at the tall man.

‘ Thank you, thank you,’ she murmurs, overwhelmed. She beckons the man to come forward.

He moves. He climbs the steps to the podium. And hugs the woman in the wheel chair.

Mrs.Menon: Ravi! Where were you, all this while?  How many years, now? Thirteen, fourteen? You never got in touch!
Man: I had to do something worthwhile before coming back to you, right?

Compère: Sir, the audience would like to know more!

The audience is on their feet now. It is a standing ovation for both the mentor and the protege.

Man: There is nothing more to tell. I was lost, she saved me. I have started a company which is into skill development. We actively work with prisoners released from jails and delinquents who are released from Homes. We help them get dignified employment.

Compère: What is the name of your firm?

Man: ( Smiles) Karuna, or Compassion.

He bends and touches the lifeless feet of Mrs.Karuna Menon.
*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unexpectedly…

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‘ People do not have enough time to read or watch anything long. So , can you write something interesting, which is er, let us put it this way, amenable to quick enjoyment?Especially now that all are writing love stories, can you try one?’ My friend sipped her coffee.

‘ Can I write a murder mystery instead: very short?’ I wheedled. Wry cynicism is more my nature than  a naive trust in happily-ever-after. Give me  short films like ‘Chutney’ any day with Saki’s stories as accompaniment!

‘ Later…we will try that later. You have half an hour,’ she said.

She is like a sister to me; and sisters have the right to demand anything.

*

Love In a Train

**

Sound of rain…and a train whistling…The story unfolds in a train compartment

Young man: Damn! The train has stopped again! Someone must have pulled a chain..The phone has no range in these parts…where are we, in the middle of jungles? Who lives in such places?

Old Man: ( Coughs) I guess, people like you and me.
Young man: I did not mean to be rude.But see, there is no internet or mobile range.
Old man: Girl friend? Urgent call?
Young man:( laughs) Oh, no! No time for all that…Besides, I am yet to find someone that special.Just my mother…wanted to tell her that the train is running late.
Old man: Since we are alone in this compartment, may be you will like to listen to a story?
Young man: Oh, yes…there is nothing else to do, anyway! I mean…please tell me…
Old man: It is a love story…
Young man: ( curious) Really?

Old man… It began in a train compartment like this …some fifty years ago
**
Young man( Old man’s younger version) voice: Oh, blast this rain…and this train is moving through jungles! Who lives in such places, I wonder…Ah, not again…another station?

Sound of a luggage being dragged
Young man( whisper) My lucky day! What a beautiful young woman! That must be her mother…or aunt?
Middle aged lady: Beta, can you help with the luggage? We are drenched…

Young man: Oh sure…here we go..Where are you going?

Middle aged lady: Oh this girl works too hard and has fallen sick! I am taking her home for a vacation…
Young woman: ( laughs) You exaggerate greatly auntie..

Young man: You work here…in the jungles? It must be terrible…What are you doing…I mean ..Are you teaching? You should try for a job in the city..There must be options…
Young woman: These are tribal areas…and people are much nicer than in the cities…I am a doctor.
Middle aged woman: She is a gold medallist. Did her higher studies in England but insisted that she would work for poor tribals….Works with a missionary hospital here…
Young man : ( Utterly flabbergasted) Really! My God! I feel so stupid…I am sorry…I mean…
Young woman: It is alright….I hear that a lot. It is my choice and I am fine…What do you do?
Young man: I have my own business…

*
Cut to modern train scene…train chugs..whistles..

Old man: I told her that I was running my family business in the big city. I had just opened a new factory in a nearby town…I was trying to impress her…You see, I had fallen in love.

Young man: Whistles! ( It strikes him for the first time that old men were once young too!)

Old man: We got married eventually.My wife started her own hospital in the tribal region.Later we started a school too…
Young man: Wonderful! Where is ma’am now?
Old man: Sighs…Love is such a gift…but sometimes it is snatched away fast…The memories remain.She passed away five years before…
Young man: I am so sorry
Old man: Don’t be…We had a beautiful life together.Today, our only grand daughter took over as the new head of the hospital…she has just returned from England with a gold medal…like her grand ma…I went to bless her.She wanted someone to accompany me back.I refused.There is strength in my old bones still.Besides, I wanted to travel in a train back…for memories’ sake…

Young man: I am speechless.
Old man: My phone is buzzing….the range must have come back…Hello…hello dear…I am fine…I have a travel mate…a young man in the compartment…we are having a good time chatting….Yes, I shall take my medicines…don’t worry…What…ok, will give the phone to him…One second..
Young man: Hello, yes…Ensure he takes medicines before he sleeps? Oh sure, I will remind him..May I know, your good name? Ah..lovely name…sorry, I mean…yes, sure…Shall look after him…

Old man: ( Laughs) She is as stubborn as her grand ma…By the way, what do you do beta?
Young man ( respectfully ) I have my own tea plantations, sir.
Old man: Ah…a businessman…I like that…
**
End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basheer’s Neela Velicham: The Blue Light…Translation of Story Continued…Part 2

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I was aghast. ‘ Aw. And I had paid two months rent in advance too,’ I thought. Then I said,’That is irrelevant. It will just need a spell or two. You please arrange that my letters reach that address.’

I spoke bravely. I am neither a hero nor a coward. What scares others usually scares me. You might surmise that I am a coward. What would you have done in my place?

I walked very slowly. I do not chase experiences for the sake of it. But what if an experience comes running towards me? I did not even know what was going to happen!

I went to a hotel and had some tea. My hunger had died. My stomach was on fire…the turmoil of fear. I told the hotel manager about my address- where he was supposed to send my lunch. When he heard about the house he responded.

‘ I do not mind sending food during the day time. But none will go there during the night. A woman killed herself in that well. She might be hanging around there. Aren’t you afraid of ghosts, sir?’

I felt half of my trepidation vanishing. Ah, it was a woman!

I said,’ I don’t care. Besides, I know a few spells and charms.’

I had no clue about spells. But as I had said, I was relieved that it was a woman’s ghost. I guessed that she might be slightly amiable. I went to a nearby bank. A few of my pals were working as clerks there. On hearing about my new home, they became furious with me.

‘Utter foolishness! That place is haunted. The men are particularly vulnerable to attacks!’

Oh, so she hated men, was it so?

‘ Why did you not cross check with us before renting out Bhargavi Nilayam?’

‘I had no clue about such a story. By the way, why did the woman kill herself?’

‘ Love!’ One f them replied.’Her name was Bhargavi. She was twenty one years old, and had passed her B.A. Degree. She was in love with someone. Big time love. But he ditched her and married another woman. Bhargavi committed suicide by jumping inside that well.’

My fear reduced by leaps and bounds. Ah, that was the secret behind her hatred of men.

I said,’ Bhargavi will not hurt me.’

‘ Why not?’

‘ Spells! Spells!’

‘ Let us wait and see! You will end up screaming the house down at night time.’

I did not deign to reply.

I returned to my residence. After opening all the doors and windows, I went towards the well.

‘ Bhargavi Kutty!’ I called out softly.’ We are not acquainted with each other. I am a new resident. In my opinion, I am a very good human being. Eternal celibate too!  I have already heard scandalous stories about you. You do not let poeple reside here. You open the pipes at night time. You bang the doors shut. You throttle people…I heard all that about you. What am I supposed to do? I have already paid two months of rent in advance. I do not have much money with me. Besides, I like your house so much. This house is in your name, is it not? Bhargavi Nilayam.’

‘ I need to work in this place. That means I have to write stories. Let me ask, do you like stories  Bhargavi Kutty? I will read aloud all my stories to you. I have no fight to pick up with you, Bhargavi Kutty. There is no reason why we should bicker. I did drop a stone earlier inside the well. I did it absent mindedly. I shall not repeat such actions in the future. Listen, Bhargavi Kutty! I have an excellent gramophone with me. I have a collection of almost a hundred songs too! Do you like songs?’

I sat quietly after speaking all that. Who was I speaking to? To that yawning well, which seemed ready to swallow anything at all? Was I addressing the trees, the house, the atmosphere, the earth, the sky or the universe? Was I speaking to the agitation within my own mind?  I was speaking to an idea, I decided.

Bhargavi. I had never seen her. She was twenty one years old. A young woman  who was deeply in love with a man. She dreamt of being his wife, his companion for life.But that dream…yes, stayed a dream. Depression overcame her. Humiliation too…

‘ Bhargavi Kutty!’ I spoke,’ You should not have done that. Do not think that I am blaming you. The man whom you loved, did not love you enough. He loved another woman more than you. Life became bitter for you, true. But then, life is not all that bitter. Forget it. As far as you are concerned, history will not repeat itself.’

‘ Bhargavi Kutty, please do not think that I am pointing out your fault. Tell me, did you actually die for love? Love is the  golden dawn of an eternal life…You were a naive donkey who did not know about anything! That is what your hatred for men proves! You had known only one man. For argument’s sake let us suppose that he hurt you really bad. But then, is it proper to look at all the men through that lens? If you had not committed suicide and had lived your life a bit longer, you would have realised how wrong your assumption was. There would have been a man who would have loved you and adored you . He would have addressed you as ‘My goddess!’

‘ But then…as I said, for you, history cannot be repeated. What is the way to know about your history, Bhargavi Kutty? But you please do not attack me. I am not throwing down a gauntlet. It is an earnest submission. If you throttle me to death tonight, no one will wreak vengeance on my behalf. Because, I have no one at all.’

‘ Bhargavi Kutty, you must have understood my situation. We are going to live here. That means I intend to stay here. Legally speaking , the house and the well now  belong to me. Let that be! You use the well and the four rooms on the ground floor. We will share the kitchen and the bathroom. Are you agreeable to that ?’

Night fell. Having had my dinner, I came in with a thermos flask full of tea. Lighting up my electric torch, I kept it to a side. Then I lit the hurricane lamp. The room was replete with yellow light.

I went down with my torch. I stood still in the darkness. I intended to lock the pipes. I opened the windows wide. Then I went to the well and then proceeded to the kitchen. Then I felt that I should not lock the pipes.

Having locked the doors, I climbed up the staircase and had some tea. Lighting up a beedi, I started to write. Suddenly I felt that Bhargavi was standing behind my chair.

‘ I do not like anyone looking when I write!’ I objected.

I turned to look. There was no one.

Somehow, I did not feel like writing again. I pulled a chair near me.

‘ Bhargavi Kutty, you may please take your seat.’

Empty chair! I started strolling through two rooms. There was no wind. Not even a leaf stirred  on the trees outside. As I stared through the window, I noticed a light!

Was it blue, red or yellow? I had no clue. I had glimpsed it only for a moment.

****

(Will Continue)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Axe Of The WordSmith

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“A book should serve as an axe for the frozen sea within us”..that was Kafka, surprisingly passionate, overwhelmingly intense, none of the analytical detachment and clinical apathy of interpretation usually seen in his words.

What would such an ice axe do, I imagined. I saw an axe raised, coming down heavily on steelish blue ice bergs and cracking the surface open – and water, angry and freed, ebullient, rising up in ecstasy.

Such a rise I saw in Alice Walker’s Colour Purple and Toni Morrison’s Beloved; two iconic classics that crack open the ice in the hearts of a benumbed humanity, by pointing out the horrendous pathos of what one part of humanity suffered during the days of slavery and soon after.

Sethe, Paul D,  Celie, Shug Avery and the other unnamed men and creatures…ah, these characters are caught in lyrical poetry (in Beloved) and in an uneducated woman’s words (in Colour Purple) easily moving a reader to tears and a rough shakeup of the complacence that crowds her in. There is only one human story, the world wide, I realised- and I know it in my blood, like any other human being.

In an interview with the brilliant author Khaled Hosseini , when asked about the popularity of his novels, he said that he was surprised and baffled- for he wrote stories straight from the heart and did not bother about the tag of “sentimentalism”, oft attached to such writing. He also reflected poignantly that  perhaps readers across the globe could relate to these human stories, because they were about emotions.

That brought me back to the ice-axe. A brother losing a sister, a friend losing a boyhood pal, a man discovering a woman’s love, the agony over a lost country…were these not themes (often seen in Hosseini’s works) that I had grown up with, in vernacular masterpieces? Did not the readers respond passionately to these simple themes and love them with abandon?

Book lovers, like Tolstoy’s opening sentence in Anna Karenina about happy families, are alike..and  book lovers, like Tolstoy’s quote about unhappy families, are different too in their own ways.

Closing the Colour Purple, and opening it again to catch a whiff of the book’s smell- as if trying to inhale Celie and Shug back into my own psyche with their tears and laughter, I thought of how I was alike and different, from other clan members.

Too much cleverness leaves me cold- I hated Ian McEwan’s Amsterdam. Death, death, death..please, I know I will die too, someday.I like my cleverness short and precise: as in a bumbling Father Brown discovering the psychology of the Hammer of God, or the imagination of Conan Doyle that made a woman scream “the speckled band, the band..” in throes of her death. Thank you.

Well at great risk of being labelled a show-off( huh, so you think you are the only one who reads? nahhhhh) , and with heart felt humility (apparently the word means walking the sacred earth), I like my reading simple, down to earth and touching my heart. The rule follows for movies, screen plays, plays, art work and life in general.

When Lalitambika Antarjanam writes about the beauty of the bride’s feet in AgniSakshi, “akin to lotus buds”, and the young protagonist becomes a life long fan of Devaki, one can actualy visualise the loveliness of the woman. When M.T.Vasudevan Nair writes about  Draupadi’s special fragrance- the enchantment of blue lotus,leaving  Bhima intoxicated beyond his own understanding and makes him her most ardent lover,  the reader sighs deeply. When Changampuzha writes a poem wondering on who would buy the queen of the garden today, he is also pointing at the prostitution forced on a young flower seller..and his words acquire an intensity and heavy sweetness that makes one mesmerised for a moment. (Nidrayennodu yatrayum cholli nirdayam vittu pokayal..since the sleep left me merciless to my own bereft self..)

The axe, the axe…sometimes it comes from the vernacular,  sometimes from a simple translated Chinese poetry, a sliver of an article from a travelogue across the Patagonia, yet a line from an ordinary novel, making one sit on  desert sand, parched for a glass of water..as another master story teller weaves his magic…

What a gift it is, this gift of story telling. Whether it comes in any guise- angel, devil, banshee or villainess..blue or aquamarine, cobalt tinted or a sultry peacock shade…I am game for cracking the ice open and rediscovering the great, one, human story within me- reflecting all what is outside.

In their own way, every story teller, shows us the way to ourselves.

In gratitude.