Spicy Rasam

Not a cooking or food blog! I just share what's cooking in my mind.

To read the part 3, click here

India, 1986

Ashokan walked fast towards the apartment building from where he had got a call. “F block, No. 401,” he said to the security.

“OK! Pandit sahib, go straight and turn left. F block,” said the security.

Ashokan walked towards F block. His daughter was 5 months old now. The doctor had been amazed at the rate at which she was growing. He smiled to himself. He wished his parents were alive to see their granddaughter. He felt Janani that looked like his mother. But his neighbours, his friends and people around him were wary of the baby. “She says ‘ma and pa.. and ta…’ This is abnormal,” Shetawari tai, his neighbour of 14 years had said. Ashokan made Janani sit on his desk in his office and his friend, Mithun, had remarked, “That’s odd. She’s just 5 months old.”

Ashokan smiled as he climbed the staircase to reach door 401. He was proud of his daughter. He was proud that she was different and could do all these things. ‘My daughter will be great,’ he thought.

He rung the doorbell and waited. No one answered. He rung the bell again. Ashokan sighed and sat on the staircase. He looked at his watch. It was 11:12 AM. He was right on time. He took out the receipt and checked the address. It was 401. He stood up to ring the bell again. “I am the TV mechanic. Is anyone there?” asked Ashokan in a loud voice. He saw that the milk packet which would have been placed there in the morning was still there on a basket outside the door. It had defrosted and there was a trail of water running down the staircase. “Anyone there?” he asked once again before leaving. Ashokan sighed and turned to leave. He slipped on the trail of water, bent his knee and fell headfirst down the staircase.

India, 1998

“Stop following me!” said Janani with anger as she tried to run and lose bright eyes. “I have to,” said bright eyes as she kept pace with Janani.

“Why can’t anyone else see you?” asked Janani with anger. Bright eyes just smiled. “You could have saved the people in the autorickshaw!” said Janani bristling with anger.

“Look! I do not do anything that I am not supposed to do,” said bright eyes and walked away.

Janani ran to catch up with her, “Why do you always save me?” asked Janani. Bright eyes stopped, looked at Janani and asked, “Save you?”

“Yes! You always do. Recently from that bad man too,” said Janani.

Bright eyes smiled, “Are you sure I was saving you?” she asked and walked away. Janani stood there with tear-filled eyes, confused head and hungry stomach. She took the cream bun out of its packet and started to eat.

India, 1986

Janani ran towards the motor room with her small legs and slowly lifted herself up the small window shade and crouched. She could hear her mother, grandmother and Shetawari aunty call for her. Janani was wearing a pattu pavadai. Her mom wanted her to wear a top, dress her up and put jewellery on her. Janani wanted to wear just a nappy and play. Shetawari aunty spotted Janani sitting on the window shade.

“Janu…. Come down,” she said as she approached the window shade.

“Nu…I wunt,” said Janani in a baby voice and hid her head in an attempt to fool Shetawari aunty. Shetawari smiled and moved slowly towards the windows shade to pick Janani up. She caught the squirming child and picked her up. Janani laughed as Shetawari tickled her and showered her with kisses. Janani jumped and hugged Shetawari’s neck. “Aunty!” she said.

“Hmmmm” said Shetawari as she walked past the green bushes and plants.

“I don wunu des,” said Janani.

Shetawari smiled, “Sweetie! It is your birthday. Your first birthday,” She placed Janani on her hips and looked at her. Janani had a brown complexion and a chubby appearance. Shetawari called her gulabjamun. “Hey gulabjamun, dress up! I want to see my gulabjamun in the silk dress I got for her,” said Shetawari. Janani hugged her neck again and said in a muffled voice, “Na..” Shetawari kissed her head and walked fast towards Parimala. “Pari! Found your little princess,” she called out.

India, 1998

“What do you mean?” asked Janani as she tried to keep pace with bright eyes, who was effortlessly hopping and walking on wild grass path that led to Janani’s home. “Look! What do you mean by that? STOP!” said Janani and sat down on the wild grass.

Bright eyes turned to look at Janani. Janani sat cross-legged with a frustrated expression. Bright eyes smiled. She loved Janani. She was bright, courageous, generous and bold. She never had to direct Janani towards the right path. She never had to advise her. Janani was able to see bright eyes from when she was a baby. This was not the case usually. Janani was different.

“What?” asked bright eyes as she sat near Janani, cross-legged in a meditation pose.

“What? What…. Tell me! You were not protecting me? Who were you protecting? Why are you helping me?” asked Janani.

“Ask the right questions! You will get the right answer,” said bright eyes, stood up and walked away. Janani got up and dusted sand off her uniform. She searched for bright eyes. She was nowhere to be seen. Janani sighed and said aloud, “if you were not saving me, then who were you saving?”

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Tivini, the rat snake (dhaman), moved fast in the grass. The hunt was very productive. The snake lived in a small ant hill near the pond. The growing human population was a big hassle at first for Tivini. He was frustrated because he lost his home and many of his friends. Humans cleared his habitat and made it their home, but Tivini saw that they attracted a lot of rodents.

The rice shop was Tivini’s favourite hunting place. He did not have to invest a lot of time and was never hungry. The humans, for some reason, were afraid of snakes. They killed snakes. The huge cobra, Maali, was taken away in a van. Maali was the king of the wild lands. Once what happened to Maali spread, other beings became cautious.

The squirrels in the neem tree were no longer afraid of Tivini. They were afraid of Humans now. The leopards were not spotted for a very long time, now. Maybe even they were afraid of the humans.

Tivini had made the mistake of napping behind the big rice storage drum yesterday. It had become morning and he was afraid to go out in the light. There were humans. So, Tivini waited will sundown and is now hurrying to his home. As Tivini raced towards his home, he suddenly climbed on a very black, small rock. This rock was not very hard. Tivini was suddenly lifted off the ground.

‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑

Janani saw the small snake slither its way out of the grass and climb on her shoes. It was having a hard time moving past her shoes. Janani took the snake and looked at its eyes.

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Tivini was staring at the eyes of a human. This human had 3 eyes. The eye on her forehead opened wide. Tivini bowed to the sheer power she sensed. He was not afraid, for some reason.

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The snake put its head down. It did not want to look at Janani. This was not the first time an animal had avoided eye contact with her. Janani sighed, took the snake away from the walking path, and threw it far off in the grass.

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Tivini saw the glowing figure walk away. This human did not want to kill Tivini. This human was glowing. Tivini had once seen a dog that had 3 eyes and glowed. A human? Never. Tivini turned and moved towards his home, preoccupied with what just happened.

To read the part 5, click here

 

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