Fiction, Travel

He showed his palm at me.


Looking at my reflection on the rear-view mirror, “Where else do you want to visit, thambi (younger brother)?”, driver anna (Elder Brother) inquired.

I paused for a minute and asked him, “Is there any, you think, I should visit?”.

It was quarter past five already in Vedaranyam. My plan was to stop at Chidambaram next, which takes a 3 1/2 hours of bus travel. Then look for a room there to stay, for Vedaranyam didn’t really have a convenient place to halt for a night. I was getting late.

“There is a small Agaththiyar temple, on our way to the town, if you want to visit..” he said.

“A temple for Agaththiyar? I definitely want to visit.” I couldn’t resist.

“Okay”, he laughed, “lets see if it is open still; nevertheless, will ask people nearby to open it for few minutes”.

I thanked him, he was indeed very kind to me.

Tholkappiyam – written by Tholkaappiyar,  lays the grammar for Tamil. Tholkappiyam is the oldest available scripture of and for Tamil. Tholkappiyam is believed to be derived from Agathiyam – written by Agaththiyar; which was lost and gone forever. Agaththiyar is the father of the language Tamil; Word ‘father’ here is not honorary; but an actual.

Vedaranyam

A simplest of Castles for the father of a Grandest Language. Uneven and unpolished rock floor; peeling off limestone painted walls; a deity as dark as the electric lightless room; dull light from the only oil lantern simmering on a side of the face – of the bearded statue and the priest with just a dhoti that has long lost its life and charm. I felt pressed by unreasonable reasons.

I was watching all around the place until the priest called, “Thambi..”, and nodded at me asking to reverence Agaththiyar while he showed the flame towards the father himself. It was emotional. Reverence was all pure.

I prayed, “Say all you left unsaid to this world, through me” and smiled. He showed his palm at me.

“How do you travel all alone?”, asked driver anna sipping tea, “isn’t that boring?”

“No, it is not. I’m comfortable alone”, I told him and smiled.

“Strange! did anything happen for you, recently?, like.. “, he meant unfortunate life-events and smiled.

“no..”, I laughed out loud.

He shook up left out little tea in the glass to dissolve the sedimented sugar and turned it down into his mouth; until no more drop of tea was left in it.

With empty glasses, we just sat there on the wooden bench for a while: I – looking around, him – reading a newspaper and shaking his head, perhaps, in disappointment, angst, apprehension that the happenings he read could have caused.

“It doesn’t seem like you could earn enough from your taxi..”, I asked about his earnings other than this.

“True, my brother does salt farming”, he said, “we are a join family”.

‘oh..’, I nodded.

“So, how’s life here na.. Happy?” I smiled.

“Happy?!” driver anna laughed throwing his head back, “I don’t really know, thambi”

“Why do you say that?”

“I don’t know..”, cuddling his grey beard he said, “sometime, even if I am happy, I doubt if that is what happiness is or is it like I’m faking myself about it, you know what I mean? For I can live, feel and perceive everything only from one life and body; I don’t have an approval, you see.. for many a things. And your feeling are nobody else’s. Sometimes, even the hard times, when I look back, I feel I enjoyed it; but does that mean happiness? I don’t know” he chuckled, twisting his wrist to show something is unknown, “like colors, ha ha.. you see, the green your eye balls may perceive may not be same as my eye balls do, they say. You can’t have an approval for it with just your eyes and brain. O! it is the same with the sadness, I may doubt sometime if I’m being too touchy. That is why I think, I really don’t know. Perhaps, I have allowed myself to analyze too much of a bare reality. Perhaps, we would be able to feel only ecstasy and despair as right as rain. uh?”

Leaning on the wooden bench, balancing my two arms over it, with my heads facing down, I smiled within, out of unexpected grander in his thoughts.

“what is that.. thambi”, he asked caressing my back.

“Nothing..” I tapped his thigh, “It is getting late for me, anna. I think, I must take a leave”

I settled up the money for his car rental and took a leave from him.

I don’t know if I’m right about it; but there wasn’t any want of an approval more assuring than that day has provided me for the kind of travel I wish to have.

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Fiction

Wee Fiction #2


“Why are you so kind to me?!”, I asked him. 

He lifted his face to look at me, then smiled and he said, “I should atleast be generous in being kind, isn’t it? Whatelse we have – that is to give genuinely to justify being a supreme species.”

I nodded my head.

“But.. why me?”

“Favour is not about what, but to whom; I think”.

I pulled his hand into mine and said “Thank you!”, that didn’t spell out.

Fiction

Wee Fiction #1


“I have a short life, I wanna enjoy, live it to the fullest, you see..”, I told him with zealous, “I do not have time for sympathy, empathy and external miseries”. Laughed.

“Alas, an inexplicable humane life seems misplaced on a cheap host.” he mumbled.

“What do you mean?”, I couldn’t avoid turning blue.

“Oh! I meant my dog.” he said.

Fiction

Profound


It was that one hour just after an hour of swim – where you would feel you want to eat twice your stomach’s capability. I knew, that the lunch I would get in A2B wouldn’t even half settle my hunger then. Nevertheless, I stopped my bike there of scarcity in options on a Sunday. If one wanna go for a swim in mid of a day, one has to plan a little, atleast I need very much. Swim for atleast two hours after food isn’t good for stomach. Food immediately after swim is a craving – body will make one feel that very explicitly. 

Anyway, I got a South Indian meal in A2B. Rested myself at the only available table there and started displacing all the cups – having everything from Salt to pickle, from the plate to the table; to make place for various mixes of taste, color and smell I was about to enjoy. I started, as I always say, to feed my hunger; fingers mixing, hands displacing food from plate to mouth, mouth chewing, mind thinking of what to get next after completing the meal.

“Is anybody coming here?” asked a female voice, pointing at the two chairs opposite to me in the table I was sitting. 

She was carrying. 

“No”, I said, “you can sit.” 

There was another one beside her carrying a plate. They both sat opposite to me, with a North Indian meal. 

“Even you have.. hmm… take..”  She told him.

“No. You have, I will have later..” he refused. 

They both looked to me like a couple who don’t quite come to such hotels unless for a special reason. Simple, ordinary, daily waged Indian class. I presumed, he wanted to get his pregnant wife a special food.

Somewhere in middle of their conversations he said “we should have taken that”, showing my plate, “It has more varieties..”. She tapped him a little firm, asking to pull his hand.

I saw them both, they smiled, I smiled back. He was himself – didn’t hide behind etiquette. 

When she was almost to be done, he asked her, “Whatelse do you want to have?”

“No no, nothing more, this is full”

“No, tell me, I have thirty more rupees, we can spend that..”. For thirty rupees one can’t get much there in A2B, that would make you feel as enough food.
“No, have it for your lunch”, She said. 

They seemed generous for each-other, amidst all deficiencies. I started my bike, remembering about the food I wanted to buy after the meal. 

***

Travel

Pause & Pass – Feb ’16


I was the only outsider dwelling in the shore in Kodiakkarai (Point Calimere), in that afternoon of Feb 2016. It was a sea shore without waves. Apart from me, there were two other fishermen on a fishing boat stopped at the shore; where they were untying the fishes and other aquatic animals caught on their net.
Sea shore without waves; many flocks of seagulls flying around like – kites all tied to a pivot – raising and raising and round and round, finally landing and raising again; wet sand shore holed and carved with architectures of crabs; a fishing boat with two fishermen on it plucking the fish from their net. It sounded to me as a backdrop enacted there just for my presence.
I reached to the fishing boat. Just stood there to see what they did; Didn’t talk or near them very close for sometime; they didn’t talk to me either. A young boy and his grandmother(atleast I assumed so).
“Can I take a photo of you two?”, I asked.
Grandma looked at me, then his grandson.
“No, don’t take”, boy denied without looking at me.
“Why?”
“No, don’t take”, he denied again.
“ok, I won’t”, I respected their refusal. Didn’t picture them.
But it affected me thought, not because I was refused.
I somehow felt that, he denied and acted to me like that because he was not happy to be captured by a well fed someone and who are not bother of his life at stake for his daily needs; like How a not so happy sibling would deny a sufficiently supplied sibling. Kodiakkarai, if you don’t know, is twenty five kilometers away from Srilanka. Kodiakkarai fishing community is one of many others who are neglected by central government and tortured, boats damaged, sometime shot at, by Srilankan navy.
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***
Next day, when I was in Pichavaram – chidambaram, second largest marshland in India. People were fishing in rowing boats.
“Anna (brother), will they say anything if I picture them?”, I asked the boatman on who’s boat I was in.
“No no.. don’t mind to..” he told me and he shouted at them – “hey.. You.. Pose for the photo here…. nobody is going to eat you if you smile…. Show your teeth….”
I smilingly took the photo and showed them the thumps up.
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***
Fiction

Nature Laughed – A flash fiction.


They were on ravage over buildings, bridges and roads, anything that was built out of cement, bricks and stones. They looked more like a human, only their head (perhaps because of larger brain) and hip-bone was much larger than us – the Homo-Sapiens, and their eyes could see through earth’s curvature. They are the upgraded version of homo-sapiens: “Homo-Meetpans”, I was told. They conversed in an humanly unrecognizable behavior, we shall call it the seventh sense.

No sapiens were concerned, until meetpans lived in jungles, not breaking Sapiens’ cycle of life. Meetpans were confined to a beehive – the Andaman islands, among Sapiens tribes -Jarawa, Great Andamanese, Onge and Sentinelese. Meetpans started biting Sapiens’ life only after they threw stone at former by latter’s usual born habit of cutting trees. Earth started taking new turn – An Habitat for an Habitat. Boastfulness of sapiens was eating mud – they couldn’t stand against meetpans like any other opposing earth’s species. Because, Sapiens couldn’t read meetpans, their foe, in first place.

Keep your toes off our soil, you will have your hut to live in – was the message meetpans had conveyed sapiens indirectly. But, But.. that was only until they understood sapiens have consumed much of nature from earth, than what was needed. From then on, many sapiens lost homes and livings, sometimes food. Their humongous desires, boiled down to one – survival. No wars, No borders, one race, one country.

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Meetpans ravaged sapiens made structured, as much as they wanted trees, plants, jungles. Need not mention, birds, animals and reptiles grew larger and larger in population. Endangered become sufficiently populated. Polluted air tuned to refreshing. pH of rain water jumped down to zero.

Then on, Seas stayed at shore, rain poured well, ponds and rivers shined with colourlessness. Traditional organic farmers among Sapiens become their demigods. Nature laughed of happiness.