Sunday, July 31, 2011

At the brink of infinity -முடிவின்மையின் விளிம்பில்

Translation of Writer Jeyamohan's Short Story -

 

At the brink of infinity

Incidentally, I met with Freddie in this world wide spread web. Full name Freddie Williamson, age 38, married and divorced twice, from the state of Florida, USA. He had politely denied disclosing his city. An affluent man, spending his time in Fishing, Hog farming, Literary Writing and E-chatting, had been living alone in his farm house. He was yet to compile his poem collections, and wary of publishing the anthology. But when we got acquainted, Freddie had just completed his novel work.

Insatiable final draft of the novel, in his own words, has been darning him like psychotic wife. In West, book publication is not a five-finger exercise. Freddie was not inclined to undertake that daunting effort at that moment. He asked me once, why not, could he publish the novel in the Internet? I encouraged him to proceed with that affirmative idea. If it attracts online readers, there would be a definite choice of publishing in printed book format for wider public.

Freddie amazed when he came to know that I had written 2 prominent novels in Tamil. At the same time, he perplexed upon hearing that I am doing a clerical job for living. When I told him that my lofty novel Vishnupuram comprises the traces of Mythology, he got excited. His novel was also written in Mythological backdrop. He asked me to read his novel and give my thoughts on that, especially he wanted to know my feel on the novel’s ending, whether it is completed.  I said “A novel can never be completed; we have to stop it at some point”.  He rather firmly believed that an unwritten ‘tip’ still remains in that unfinished novel.

From the day onwards Freddie’s novel occupied my system, it turned as an uneasy burden for me. My computer went on hesitantly touched that novel for a second, every time in the middle of other tasks. At last I began reading that novel when it became ineluctable.

The story was about ancient Rome city. Protagonist Clarinda Beckon goes to Rome pursuing her research work on Ancient Religions. There, she buys an erstwhile book written in a calf’s skin, from a salesman who sells the archaeological artefacts. It was sold to him by a woman owing to her poverty, originally gifted to her by her grand-father who was earlier worked as a guardian of an Abbey. Upon reviewing that book, she finds that it wasn’t a book but a collection of letters. In ancient Rome, a religious tradition of writing letters to god was followed. Marking with some cryptically secret symbols, they used to bury these letters deep under the soil. Somehow one of those letter bundles dug out after several centuries. It must had been preserved reckoning as a precious antique artefact or forbidden book filled with hidden secrets. When the Abbey dilapidated over the years, most of its preserved possessions slowly disappeared; some of them completely vanished, barring this “letter compilation” in some tortuous way reached the hands of the old guardian.

It appeared that, in 17th century some unidentified person affiliated a foreword note to this book. Later the book was embellished with the high quality Morocco covers affixed in both side. Some details about the contents of the book also briefed in the blurb.    

Following incident occurred roughly around, 300 years since founding of Rome. On those times, the members of Patrician descents were the ruling elites. They were believed to be the foremost emigrants of Rome. Only the Patrician families were bestowed the special status as sovereign citizens. During the next 300 years, the elite Patrician status slowly faded away, it became a denotation for all the common citizens. Patrician community comprised of many sub-castes. A girl called “Adhina” belonged to one such sub-caste Bebians had written those imploring letters.

Clarinda puts strenuous effort on learning proto-Latin language to read those letters. Soon she finds that it is neither a theological book nor a family history book, instead a pornographic book.  Supplicantly requesting the mercy of her beloved god Rex, those letters were actually written by Adhina, vividly exposing her inner sexual desires.   

On those days, every community of Rome was permitted to wag war against each other at their whim.  Only just an unforced custom of obtaining permission from senate ahead the war was maintained. At the end of the war, the entire booty wealth of defeated group was taken by the victorious group. They just needed to pay a small amount to senate as tax. The groups should not fight within themselves. There was also an unwritten rule of unarmed Plebians should not be assaulted by Patricians, but this was maintained only in words. Plundering the nearby cities and villages was the primary business for those Rome communities. Particularly, the Bebian descents comprised with full of rigorously trained, sturdily ruthless and most disciplined force were the most success full plunderers.

Once, entire 306 Bebian men went ahead to pillage the southern pagan city called “Veyi”, since there was no share afforded to the men who don’t take part in the booty. But the news about arrival of brutal Bebian forces, reached the head of Veyi city much earlier. He was dead sure, it was not at all possible to defend the Bebians in the direct battle field. So they formulated a strategy. The surrounded forts of Veyi, made from immense round boulders plastered with clay. They made cracks by jabbing the bottom of the fort. When the Bebians thrust into veyi, by breaking through the fort doors, Veyi soldiers jostled the fort from inside. Eventually the entire fort crumbled on to the Bebian army with sparing none.

On those days, every individual’s rights, obligations and responsibilities were determined only on the basis of line of descent. Blood relation between the various communities was entirely banned. Bebians were left out with only one male, a 16 year old crippled boy called Titus. On these bad fortunes, all the remaining Bebian women should get killed themselves, according to their descent’s rule. But one of the elderly women prevented others to commit suicide. She claimed that since no other descent people worships Bebian gods, if bebian community perishes, no one would be there to worship, to appease the Bebian gods and to subside their wraths with the sacrifice offerings.

They devised a solution. The decision was to re-sprout the Bebian community from the sperm of the solely survived male Titus over again. Since no one was ready to die, everyone agreed to that solution at last, though there were some strong protests at the beginning. Hostile reactions came from the malcontent young women, whom were in sister relation to Titus. Only few least discomforted were the elderly women actually in mother relation with Titus.

Adhina was one among these 480 Bebian women. In those letters, she had narrated the whole re-germination period of Bebian community from Titus. Freddie’s creativity broke through all the conventional boundaries in the episodes of the novel where Clarinda reads the letters of Adhina. Freddie had taken full advantage of this chapter to travel deep into the inner minds of two dissimilar women belongs totally different periods of time.

Clarinda is a very lonesome woman.  Owing to her unattractive appearance and stammering tongue disability, she is emotionally dis-comfortable in socialising with others. She has grown as a daydreaming adult and a full time book worm who always sinks into herself. In fact, she chose history subject, only to escape from the wretched present and bury herself completely into past. Adhina’s letters penetrates through the psyche of Clarinda and boils her like storm. She reads those letters over and again frantically. Clarinda soulfully accedes through the world formed by the letters, which she magnified beyond bounds. Freddie had written with extraordinary confident and intent writing style, in these parts of novel, the moments when human life’s adorned apparels like love, marital and relations crumbles down and conspicuous lust appears with full nudity. Bebian women threw away all the conventional rules and bounds. Adiha mentioned that as “Four hundred and eighty sweltering uteruses!!” A tiny prey among the famished wild beasts, upon seeing the prey, famishment outspread like gigantically raging wildfire.

Soon elderly bebian women formulated tireless rules and enforced them mercilessly. Initially Titus was prisoned in a closed room. He was offered high quality food and they formed a squad to physically train him to keep him healthy. All Babien women spent their night with Titus one by one. Because of each woman got only single night for the whole year and half, inevitably they turned as sexual daydreamers and started engaging in homosexual activities. Ferociously fervent desire for Titus’s body induced them like daemon. They made holes on the walls of Titus’s room and watched his daily sexual acts. These activities were allowed by elderly bebian women to some extent to vent the women’s desires. As days passed on, closed room was replaced by the inner courtyards for the activities and all other Bebian women were permitted to assemble the surrounding to watch it. Later these were evolved as rights of the women and then as a ritual. Soon the sexual act attained the performing art’s status. Particular body movements, special music and specific timing for those rituals were determined. Entire bebian women learned that art for the whole year. Performing and learning this art was established firmly as a sacred practise blessed by god. Elderly bebian women believed and preached that gods them-self attend that sacred ritual as ethereals.  Mythological stories were developed and venerating songs composed from this ritual and on advent of the gods. As a part of performing art these songs were vocalized by appropriate musical band.

Eventually Titus had upturned as an entirely different, deranged lustful beast. He had casted off visual sense to distinguish the woman from one another, and hearing and speaking senses soon. Due to ceaseless training, his body had started performing those movements elegantly and immaculately.

These rituals existed until emerge of the next generation young men, till then no outsider were aware, even a hint of these practices. Titus died at his age of forty.  The emerged generation men despised these rituals. Therefore it became a secret ritual performed only by selected few instead of a compulsory practice for the whole community. Then the practise was restrained as a responsibility of 3 appointed families and their descents and performed only during particular days of spring season. These descents became sexual apparatus of Bebians. Though in general they were held in disdained status, only during spring season when they perform these practices, were treated with sacredness and venerated by whole community. Abolishing the actual sexual acts, the practice was left with a symbolized body movement.

After few generations, these practices were entirely extinct and the persona of Titus evolved as God status. Titus, who was nude for most of his life, portrayed likewise in the statue with unexplainable grievous eyes and stooped head. During wedding ceremonies, Bebians started giving life sacrifice offerings to God Titus and few remnant songs of old rituals underwent generations of metamorphic changes, were also played as music of love. Some of the movements of those days wedding party dances were considered to be originated from that earlier ritual’s movements.

In Freddie’s novel, Adhina depicted the lewd sexual playacts of Bebians acutely and explicitly, describing their every aspect of transgressing beyond bounds!! When lust went impracticable, supplanted fantasy flew crossing sky, executing exuberant and vehement dreaming events soulfully in the mind over and again. I never happened to read any other literary work which nails down in intensely portraying that “human’s lust resides only in mind not in body”.

At another phase of the novel, Freddie described, the changes that Clarinda going through. Initially she get attracted towards that book, at one stage she dismays observing the derangement caused by the book and tries to avoid it. But soon she only could fall for the book with much more severe thirst. She becomes more and more, relentless daydreaming introvert, irrevocable to consciousness. Her craving for lust dilapidates, she could not get closer to men anymore, though her lesbian dreams arouse her feelings, she could not contain the touch of woman either. At last, least she could do, happens to be masturbation, by fantasying the group sexual activities of plentiful women clothing with ancient attires. The novel ended with this.

“Transgression is an essential quality of literature. Authenticity of history, contemporary thought processes and the boundaries of morale conducts and moreover, everything believed to be well known by many has to be crossed over by the literature. Therefore the idea of transgression in your novel appeals to me. “I wrote to Freddie.

“‘Bebian community was re-sprouted from one single young man’ is a historical fact.  Even Friedrich Engels mentioned this in his treatise ‘The Origin of the Family, Private Property and State’” Freddie wrote back to me.

”There is nothing called truth in history, furthermore ‘historical fact’ is itself a deceitful term. Only the choices fulfill the role of facts.” I replied back.

“I still think the novel is unfinished, how would you complete it?” Freddie asked me.

“I would have elaborated the inside information of the Abbey furthermore, by raising question like, what was the reason behind, preservation of such a book for these much long period  in the monastery of Christian monks? They were the ones volunteered to become celibate monks for Jesus Christ. I would make sure hold some hints in the novel that one of these monks might have written this book. Those monks had been reading that book from generations to generations in the dark rooms of Abbey. The ‘turbulent crave’ depicted in this book is actually the lust relinquished from the body of the celibate monk. “ I wrote back to Freddie.

”I primarily asked about the changes that Clarinda going through reading that book because that is the centre subject dealt in the novel. ” he wrote to me.

“Okay, Let the end be like this. Clarinda apparently knows that the book is eventually leading her towards dissipation of mind, yet she is not able to keep off the book even for a day. Upon completing the book, she detects a small note attached at the end, actually a forewarning message written at some former time. ‘Dear Brother, I beg you not to read this book. This is an insane inducing, sorcerous book! The one reads just one page of the book, cannot keep off until completing the whole book.  The one, who completes the entire book, can never return back to sanity. Beware of this horrific book; this has been outspreading generations of insanes!!!’  Below to these lines, another message with different handwriting is also affiliated ‘In the beginning, the above warning note was attached at the first page.  I am the one ripped that off and pasted it at the last page.  My name is Lucifer!!’ - I would have finished the novel with these lines. But you may not concur with this end; after all, I live in the opposite side of Earth.” I wrote back to Freddie conclusively.

“The end sounds good. I had firmly made up my mind not to bring bible into this novel. That's okay, but I wonder, how are you settling that only a man could have written this book? ” Freddie asked me.

“The theme of the novel is evidently, “Male daydream transgression”. When we breach rules and limits, we never prepared to admit full moral liability of repercussions. The reason is ‘feeling of guilt’. This would fizzle out, the savour of the male’s impulsion. Therefore a male’s mind fantasies ‘inescapable circumstances’ by creating horrendous women whom hunt him until he gets into those situations. Every man’s dreams are full of blood sucking enchantresses and insatiable defiant succubus. Think for a moment, this novel itself nothing but the daydream we interchange with one another, isn’t it?”

Freddie replied me after a week that was the final E-mail. After that we lost contact. Neither I received any response for my mails, nor heard any news about that novel publish. In that last E-mail, Freddie wrote as “Dear J.M, what made you to declare that I am a man?”

<The End>

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Serpent- நச்சரவம்

Translation of Writer Jeyamohan's Short Story -

Serpent ( நச்சரவம் )

Serpent

I

A kind of subtle complexity observed in History, can never be soundly debated with majority of our  historians. They presume history as a well constructed firm structure with substantial facts. These historians always tend to discuss history like their dinner party debates.  Being a theorist of History, I do not agree with them. I  imagine history like a stage backdrop screens.  We change that frequently in flash depending upon the subject at the “center of stage” of that moment.  Houses, Foothills, Sea shore, Royal court. Whenever i claim this with any historian, he scowls and flushes hotly at once. They misconceive that i accuse them as a fictitious fabricator, instead of consenting as an intellectual who formulates permanent truths. Once i wittingly cited a historian as a  fabricator who fictionalizes the truths. He loudly squalled at me till eyes glistened with tears.

Let me start with a precise example. What is the current state of Hinduism’s largest and oldest religious section Shaivism’s one of the main center Thirparappu mahadevar temple? Inside the fort like compound walls, there are erected large mahals(stone pillared structured opened in all four sides) and pragarams ( paved way surrounded the sanctum). Within the sanctum, roofed with copper sheets, in the shiny pedestal oil-lamps and hanging lamps, a Lingam resides in exalted position with Golden shields.  Fifty years before, the avarna caste(Section of people in Hindu, whom do not belong to any Varna) people were not allowed to walk, not only inside temple, but even in the temple surrounded streets. People trespassed by violating this ban, were tied with the wet skin of rat snake in the Coconut tree and left under sunshine. Dried up and contracted snake’s skin lacerating apart the skin, sank into the flesh. This was a modest punishment. More awful punishments can be found in the erstwhile “Tantra prabhodhini” book. The accumulated wealth of the temple was in stunning scale. On those days, in order to feed the Brahmin community for free, 3 specific eateries functioned uninterruptedly for whole year. In the temple surrounding streets, the arrays of bullock carts from all the four sides, used to continuously merge like unceasing river stream. Also Hegemony of  brahmins was at its peak.

But if we go back in the history what do we discover? The inscriptions and the copper platted documents of ancient kings states a contrary version. These malayala brahmins were chased away and expelled by force like flock of crows by Chola kings.  They forcefully  introduced the Aagama worship methods in the temple.  Hundreds of tantrism books were destroyed by burning and the tantras were slaughtered.  The gratis eateries functioning was stopped and the  cooks were exiled. Chola kings carved these brave achievements in various stone and metal inscriptions called Meikeerthi (true fame) as praise of their conquests.   All these information are elaborately  researched and written by  Kavimani, K.K.Pillai and A.K.Perumal.   

II

In my view, why should not we go back beyond this? Historians usually trust stone,metal inscriptions and palm leaf manuscripts as their evidence. Sir, these are all concretes, solids. Why don’t we take account of the incisively subtle and imperishable evidences found in language?  They don’t answer this question. “Thirparappu mahadevar” is called fierce god sivan(shiva)  even today. Temple priests have lots of stories related to this term. In a legend, after burning the three outer sheaths known as muppuram (gross-subtle-causal bodies), in unendurable hotness Lord siva had taken off and placed his attire “tiger skin” on the river bank, ought to take bath in the water     falls.  The lingam beleived to be uprised from that exact place. Siva’s body and mind was appeased after dipping in the waterfalls, then he returned back to kailasham.  But in all the erstwhile tantra books , this lord Siva was referred as  “Kradha(barbarian) god” instead of Fierce god.

This is the only “Kradha idol” of the whole South Travancore region. “Kradha” means barbarian, a tribe.  In another legend, “Kradha” siva had intercepted Arjun who was on this way in search of  a special “Paasupatha” weapon. Then siva had drawn him for a combat to assess Arjun’s strength and at the end of the fight, had bestowed him that special weapon as gratitude. Even today there the tradition of enacting this event in Kathakali (Indian dance-drama with attracted make ups) dance every year has been maintained.   On that festival day, entire village gathers to watch the play of  roaringly dancing main actor( also a dancer) in “Kradha” get-up , with black colour applied in his entire body, with big white teethes ,flaming eyes and with a crown made of red hawk’s feather was worshipped by another actor in Namboothiri Brahmin get-up.  When the “Kradha god” appears on the stage, fully erupted crowd venerates Kradha god by chanting “Hara Hara Mahadeva, Sambo Mahadeva”.  When i had the glimpse of  “Kradha”’s blackish laughter like of piled up clam-shells, a screen  apparently unfolded in front of me.  I obtained the profound revelation of history which i mentioned earlier.

After that incident, i started extensively analysing  the tantra books and investigating the Thirparappu temple. First i observed that all the tanra books are translation or elucidation or  supplement from some other older piece of writing. I detected that source written material vanished long ago, after searching it for 8 years.  Seven namboothiri families were the only tantras of Thirparappu temple. At that moment, no one was associated with the temple administration. After completing their education three families of them moved to abroad in search of jobs. Heirs of remaining families were not even aware of their association with the temple.

III

   After persisting hunt for few months, finally found a useful information from an elderly man Sridharan Namboothiri in Banglore. He had preserved few inscrutable books of palmyra leaves hereditarily.  But recently he donated those to bangalore archaeological center. Still, i was able to recover those books from archaeological center without much effort. I had already read most of those palm leaf manuscripts. But one particular manuscript was written in brahmi script.  I was able to interpret those with the help of an archaeological linguistic Sankara Kuruppu. Yes!! that was the source tantra book , i had been searching for long time. But it looked like, that itself a translation of some other source. I was not able to exactly find the source language.

I did elaborate and intent investigation on that lingual structure. Usually, Sanskrit translations would have indistinct traces of source language. In this case, it more and more seemed like a Tamil source. But still, the translation appeared to be less complicated than a regular tamil translation. I was totally perplexed.  I instinctually believed that from any of the temple related objects or from the rituals associated with temple, there must be a definite solution to this puzzle.  So i visited the temple more often than ever. A Temple is an ancient and mysterious book. We see only covers of that book with our normal eyes.  It possesses heaps of unexplored information. But with all my efforts to explore that, still i was yet to resolve the puzzle.

IV

On those days, i noticed an elderly man sitting near the entrance of temple administrator Narayana pillai’s office.  He had unkempt lengthy tuft of hair tied at the end, putting on wooden ear rings, with chewed betel leaf saffron smeared up in his mouth and bloodshot eyes. He did not have any facial hairs, with closely spread wrinkles like elderly chinese man’s facial wrinkles, all over his face and neck, accompanied by a small girl appeared to be a rural girl with a majestic blackish colour. She had big eyes like the rural goddess “Yatchi”. The old man made obeisance by folded hands upon seen me. she turned towards me with glittering lethargic eyes and stood quietly.

Narayana Pillai was seated in the office along with old , wore off tables, chairs and wood shelf typically found in the Devasthanam(governing body of a temple) board offices, Milk-free tea, betel leaf box, Kolaambi (a small brass vessel used to spit the chewed betel leaf ) , beedi (raw roll of tobacco - a kind of cigarette ) bundle.

“Oi, Pillai!! Who is that at the entrance?” i asked Narayana pillai.

“At entrance?” pillai replied.

“Some old man...”

“oh that fellow? ...Malaiyan, (tribe man) ..He is waiting here to collect his bill 180 Rs from that Petulant Superintendent for upteenth time. Superintendent would snarl upon me if i insist that.  Do you want to have tea?  black- tea?”

“what for?”

“He does puja for ‘Athi (old)-Kradha idol‘ of this locality, a ritual has been performed from olden times.” replied Pillai by pouring tea in a cup.

“Athi Kradha temple?”

“Well, it is not exactly a temple. A Siva lingam resides in the other side of the river bank, deep inside forest, beneath a papal tree is addressed as Athi-Kradha idol. It is believed to be the foremost Kradha idol. Though there is no daily puja peformed, before start of every Thiruvaadhirai festival season , a sheep or a hen must be sacrificed as offering to appease the Athi-Kradha. At the end of the festival, another puja would be performed along with sacrifice of animal offered as subsidence the Athi-Kradha. One of the prescriptions of the religious custom maintained traditionally. ” explained Pillai by drinking tea.

“man, Now it is almost eight month elapsed after Thiruvaadhirai festival!!!”

“This is a ‘Government bill’ sir!! how would a commoner expected to get it so soon. Usually it takes at least a year to get cleared, some times more than year and half.  Only during the auditing in the pressure of cleaning up the accounts, secretary hastens me to seek Malaiyan.” 

“Does the ritual mandated only for Malaiayn?”

“Yah, That was the Tantra rule. Now a days, there are not much tribesman left in the hill. Barring malaiyan only one another toddy drunkard  remaining to perform this ritual at the moment. But during 1920s in Maharaja period, this was not the case. When Malaiyan gets down from hill to commence this ritual, a Samanthan Nayar (A dignified sub-clan of ruling elite Nayar) receives him with the  royal sword and holy parasol. He even used to perform a foot adoration pooja to Malaiyan. This 180 Rs  offertory was exclusively ordered by Maharaja to deliver  Malaiyan directly from treasury. On those days , police man’s monthly salary was 3 Rs. In a sacred salver, along with the  coconut, flowers, betel leaves, this offertory was bestowed to Malaiyan in the form of Gold coins.  In the following 4 months, entire hill bustles in stirring dance parties, meat dinners and  soaks in toddy beverages. That bygone era passed away long ago. Now, look at him, this little money would not even sufficent for his beedi spending, yet he came here to collect it.”  

“Disburse him the money by collecting his voucher. I will give back that money later.” I said.

“why?”

“I have a small business with him...”

“Your research work, Huh?, Why are you wasting time on researching these tribe-men? Better do research on noteworthy autom bombs or hybrid vegetables, or at least do sane research on these desirable tribe-women. would you?”

Malaiyan handed over the payment to his daughter at once receiving it with shivering hands after signing the voucher with thump impression. She hastily counted the money using the saliva. Then Malaiyan started getting down upon obediently greeted us. I followed him right away.

V

His daughter  turned towards me and whispered something to Malaiyan after noticing me. Malaiyan looked at me intently by keeping his hands above eyes and then obediently greeted me once again when i approached him. He gesticulated inquiry through the unfolded mouth. 

“Malaiyan, where are you from?” I asked.

“From the North of the hill.” replied Malaiyan. I was surprised to find his hearing sense at this age.

“oh!!, So, how old are you? around 80+,  huh?”

“yes,” grinned Malaiyan. I noticed that his teethes were still intact.  “ I surmounted 9 decades already, waiting to pass through 10th one.”

“I came here to collect some information about the temple on my research. I need  your help. I will remunerate to your help. You know...”

“I don’t know much about the temple details. Pothi people or Namboodiris may help you on this.” said Malaiyan as though excusing himself.

“‘I‘ve already enquired  them. But this is about the Athi-Kradha temple in the hills.”

“Oh..” exclaimed Malaiyan. “The same old story, sir. In the actual temple Lord Siva placed his tiger skin attire at first. When he found there were ants, he replaced the attire here in the hill place. Thus brahmins take care of the rituals in the original temple and  Malaiyans (tribe-man) perform rituals in the hill temple. That tradition have being followed for long time. ”

“This story is the version of Brahmin’s, isn’t it? What is told in your caste?”

“Same story been told in our caste too..” said Malaiyan without any intention to conceal anything.

“So, Do you have any songs related to this?”

“No there are no songs, we perform only the rituals.”

I explained him few information that i translated from brahmi language to tamil. “ These are all erstwhile tantra rules. This particular song has some details about the offerings, sacrifices for kradha (sacrificed lives). Did you ever heard this song in your language? ” I asked curiously.

”We have so many songs in our language. but none is related to the Kradha worship rituals.” answered Malaiyan resolutely.

Later I gratified malaiyan with one kg Palmyra jaggery, 300gms tobacca and quarter kg tea packet. Malaiyan bought 2 kg salt by himself without waiting for my consent. I enquired the detailed direction of the path to his house in the hill. Later he took leave from me and entered into the forest through the hill path by crossing the river stream.

Next day i went directly to the Athi Kradha idol located place in the hill. At least 500 thousand similar idols can be found in this south Trivancore region. The idols used to be formed beneath trees, mostly using a stone erect kept perpendicular above another horizontal stone. I found this particular idol situated under the cool shadow of the trees amidst of dry leaves, with the garlands made of oleander leaves or தெற்றி மாலை a, Perfumed sandal paste and Kungumam (holy red power or paste formed of turmeric with alum and lime juice) applied all over. Though in records that region was declared property owned by temple, it was still a forest region with typical ceaseless cicada’s droning, bustling wind’s sound, decaying dry leaves's smell and with horrendous noise of several reptilians moving over the dry leaves. I sat there for a while.  It was hard to believe that a vast temple, surrounded with  palace alike house streets is located within a kilo meter distance from there. The same sonance of the waterfalls was heard as one of the temple’s sound from the temple,  heard as forest’s sound from here.

A week later i met Malaiyan in the hill. Top of the Neeli hills was the only remnant region of forest. It was surrounded by rubber estates in all the four sides. From road it looked like army men’s haircut. Malaiyan’s hut located under a big rock, near to whirling formed due to river water ran afouls with the rock and the water about to gently falls in the stream. Malaiyan’s hut constructed by planting the bamboo sticks firmly on the ground, in the modest height, looked like a small float or sparrow nest. When i went there , Malaiyan was tightly tying a drum. His grand-daughter or may be great-grand-daughter was grilling some tubers in the accumulated dry twigs fire. By hearing my walking steps with the sharp hearing instinct from good distance, he noticed me at once. He looked at me intently by keeping hand above his forehead, nodding his head and greeted me with a smiling face.   I sat on the pial(a raised floor of the verandah outside the house ), he cordially offered me honey mixed in water. Later we three started having the grilled fumy tubers by dissecting it served in the banana leafs. Malaiyan narrated his family story during the meal time. All of his seven son had died long ago. Grand sons were scattered intractably. Remaining sole grand daughter gone into forest to collect honey. That small girl named Regina mary was her daughter.

“Regina mary? ” i asked with surprise.

“Yah, she is studying in a christian missionary school.”  replied Malaiyan. Malaiyan’s son was also converted to Christianity earlier. “They get wheat grains and tooth powder. Also new clothes for Chrismas.” said Malaiyan.

“You have not converted ?”

“I can’t manage my meager Pooja rituals and Christian prayers at the same time. Thats why i have not converted” retorted Malaiyan .

VI

On that day, I conversed with Malaiyan till night and left the hill. Only useful information i managed to affirm from Malaiyan was that the Source Tantra book was actually translated from  Malaiyan’s language. Though Malaiyan’s mother tongue appeared to be same as tamil but it was some kind of proto language. Some of the wordings of his language presented in the Tantra books as it is. For example he mentioned the flower KamugamPaalai  as  Kamugin Kaathu (Kaathu - Ear in tamil), and bud of the thechchi flower he refered as thechchi Mookku (Mookku - Nose in tamil).

But Malaiyan was completely unaware of any points mentioned in the Tantra book. He repeated same old stories of the Thirparappu pilgrimage legend.  I exhausted finally after the failures of my repetitive attempts to extract any other useful information from him. My oftenness meetings with him was reduced, also because of the expenditures on Malaiyan  who stopped buying tobacco, Tea powder and  Palmyra jaggery after my first meeting with him. More over he started complaining on the quality and quantity of these things  believing that gratification of those  was my mandatory duty. Once i willingly went there without these gratifis , that day Malaiyan did not even pretend to receive or notice me. Added to this, his grand and great grand daughters trusted that a non-believer like me bring along satan’s feature, so they never ever attempt to converse with me.

Seven or Eight months later i went to hill to meet Malaiyan again. During the mean time the Thiruvaathirai offering rituals were performed without Malaiyan. Another drunkard Malaiyan fuddled with Palymya beverage staggeringly performed the rituals like offered blood of sacrificed seven hens to lingam and confered the garlands made of oleander leaves, baels and தெற்றி மாலை. He stumbled twice on to the lingam and grabbed the lingam for balance. Only myself , Nayarana Pillai and a Sendai man (man who plays a kind of large drum) were witnessed that. Later Narayana Pillai informed me that Malaiyan was unwell. “Imminent death is possible, after all a fusty body...”   said Pillai. After founding uncertainty over Malaiyan’s health, I started to hill to see him. On the whole way i  was mulling over the thought of Malaiyan might already have died at that time. But I intuitively believed that he wouldn’t have died that easily. When i reached his hut, he was not there. I found only that girl.

“Grand father have gone to upper hill..” said she.

“Where?”

“To give sacrifice offering to Hill God ‘Malai Vaadhaiya patchi’”

“oh..on which side?”

She came out of the hut. “Look at there... on that Peak!!”.She gesticulated by pointing towards the top of the mountain.

Climate of the hill was mild on that day. Though it was windy and chilly, was not humid. Also i went there in a passed by lorry, i was not tired at all. So i started climbing the hill with full of zealousness. After an hour of walk, it became more clear that, only from the downward river stream, that hill appeared to be without trees and much nearer but both were wrong. Trees stood up clasping with branches like couples tightly holding the hands, plaiting their fingers, embracing waists.  The thorny plants and creepers plaited together like tangled flowing hair of woman, intercepted the way. Through these, the hill path appeared like hair parting line.

On the way, i relaxed for some time after drinking the river stream water in two places. As distance and time progressed, it became very uncertain to find Malaiyan in this thick forest. But i sensed that particular hill path through i was walking, must be formed for procession of that deity.  Soon i was totally drained up, by observing the creeping hot blood flow in my  flushed red ears, when i was heedlessly looked around, noticed a small stone deity there. I got up , went nearer and absorbed it.  A small stone was placed above a broad stone in the center. Close to a  “Siva lingam”. It looked as if no one touched that deity for many years, dominated by hair mosses and covered with bushes and creepers. There was a nearby pit, closed with tangled plants and covered by few blossomed white flowers. A thousand leg leech was creeping over the siva lingam. I guessed there must had been a big papal tree, crumbled after decaying. Siva lingam never decays.

Soon i proceeded in the same path. on the way, i spontaneously looked around searching for the other deities. I saw seven or eight sivalingams in the side of the Path. Which means there may be many more in the deep forest. Hundreds of, thousands of, like  these trees, like these hidden roots, there may be countless sivalingams buried under soil eternally. A kind of unquietness filled up my mind.  

VII

At last when i discovered malaiyan he finished his pooja rituals. The stones resided under a luxuriantly expanded pterocarpus tree, appeared like sivalingam and plain stones at the same time. Under that tree,  Malaiyan reposed by keeping his head on a root bulge. He wore a mucky towel in the neck, typically used while climbing trees to seize his legs and on the waist there was another red towel. I found தெச்சிபூ garland in his head, when i saw him intently. “Malaiya!!!” i called upon approaching him.

He looked at me with red shot eyes and closed back. i sat on another root bulge in fair distance. His body was like soil of forest, on that strings of nerves appeared like root bulges, even the mucky towel looked like a kind of root.  His blackish colour naturally blended with that forest atmosphere. My light blue shirt and light skin colour was unusual and odd for that place. In case a wild elephant appears there, it would chase after me and squash like louse upon caught me. Elephant hates the light colours. Thats why fences and sluices built in the forest streams usually in ash colour. Yet the elephants demolishes those furiously. It ragingly dislikes the on-forest objects.

When Malaiyan woke up his neck towel slipped down on his lap and wriggled.  He put on the towel back and started walking and i followed him at once, almost ran after him.

“I kept the gratis es in your hut”  said me, to divert that uncomfortably silent atmosphere. But he did not seems to be listened that.

He started climb down from there through some other path. The river stream passes through Malaiyan’s hut was visible from there. Below hundreds of feet , it looked like a silk thread coated with silver laid on the floor. The small mountains appeared in variously densed light blue colour.  At long distance even the “Agastiyar kooda Moutain” appeared like light blue screen. All these mountains are like curtains. What would appear, if we swiftly discard these one after another?

“Is this a short route?” i asked Malaiyan.

He entered into a path through bunch of bamboo trees without answering me. Suddenly it became rustling dark. Greenish shadow formed above the head by leaves of bamboo. In both sideways, bamboo’s yellowish line contoured like walls.

“Is that your family deity?”  i asked.

He did not react even now. He turned back and saw me as if he was noticing me only that moment. The sound of the flowing wind chimed with bamboo trees, varied sounds of flowing wind sliced and perforated in the holes of bamboo forest, resounded like several animals groaning in unendurable pain, growling noises, howling noises. Still there was no sign of spotting me in the eyes of Malaiyan but I found a wild animal’s look in his eyes.  Am i the prey?

It was a daunting task to recover my voice at that moment, but still i wanted to say something to normalise that atmosphere.   “Who is that god?” i asked.

That old man did not stir his face. But i heard a voice just behind him,

“I am the one!!!!”

My body tingled in excitement and frozen for few minutes, i heard echoes of that uttering repeated over and again in various tones and several places.

I flew back from there at once and darted in to the hill path tremblingly, on the way i hurriedly crashed down and got up to running in several places. At last i was unconsciously lied down in a place called “Sitrayampalam” with muddy clothes. Later i was rescued by a passed by lorry and reached my town. My friends told that was just a hallucination. Yes indeed, In the deep forest various noises, sounds are common. Anyone can explain and prove that incident was just an illusion. Including the snarling of the mucky neck towel of Malaiyan with glittering eyes and ferocious twin tongues.

==End==

Serpent- நச்சரவம்

Translation of Writer Jeyamohan's Short Story -

Serpent ( நச்சரவம் )



Serpent


I


A kind of subtle complexity observed in History, can never be soundly debated with majority of our historians. They presume history as a well constructed firm structure with substantial facts. These historians always tend to discuss history like their dinner party debates. Being a theorist of History, I do not agree with them. I imagine history like a stage backdrop screens. We change that frequently in flash depending upon the subject at the “center of stage” of that moment. Houses, Foothills, Sea shore, Royal court. Whenever i claim this with any historian, he scowls and flushes hotly at once. They misconceive that i accuse them as a fictitious fabricator, instead of consenting as an intellectual who formulates permanent truths. Once i wittingly cited a historian as a fabricator who fictionalizes the truths. He loudly squalled at me till eyes glistened with tears.


Let me start with a precise example. What is the current state of Hinduism’s largest and oldest religious section Shaivism’s one of the main center Thirparappu mahadevar temple? Inside the fort like compound walls, there are erected large mahals(stone pillared structured opened in all four sides) and pragarams ( paved way surrounded the sanctum). Within the sanctum, roofed with copper sheets, in the shiny pedestal oil-lamps and hanging lamps, a Lingam resides in exalted position with Golden shields. Fifty years before, the avarna caste(Section of people in Hindu, whom do not belong to any Varna) people were not allowed to walk, not only inside temple, but even in the temple surrounded streets. People trespassed by violating this ban, were tied with the wet skin of rat snake in the Coconut tree and left under sunshine. Dried up and contracted snake’s skin tearing apart the skin, sank into the flesh. This was a modest punishment. More awful punishments can be found in the erstwhile “Tantra prabhodhini” book. The accumulated wealth of the temple was in stunning scale. On those days, in order to feed the Brahmin community for free, 3 specific eateries functioned uninterruptedly for whole year. In the temple surrounding streets, the arrays of bullock carts from all the four sides, used to continuously merge like unceasing river stream. Also Hegemony of brahmins was at its peak.


But if we go back in the history what do we discover? The inscriptions and the copper platted documents of ancient kings states a contrary version. These malayala brahmins were chased away and expelled by force like flock of crows by Chola kings. They forcefully introduced the Aagama worship methods in the temple. Hundreds of tantrism books were destroyed by burning and the tantras were slaughtered. The gratis eateries functioning was stopped and the cooks were exiled. Chola kings carved these brave achievements in various stone and metal inscriptions called Meikeerthi (true fame) as praise of their conquests. All these information are elaborately researched and written by Kavimani, K.K.Pillai and A.K.Perumal.


II


In my view, why should not we go back beyond this? Historians usually trust stone,metal inscriptions and palm leaf manuscripts as their evidence. Sir, these are all concretes, solids. Why don’t we take account of the incisively subtle and imperishable evidences found in language? They don’t answer this question. “Thirparappu mahadevar” is called fierce god sivan(shiva) even today. Temple priests have lots of stories related to this term. In a legend, after burning the three outer sheaths known as muppuram (gross-subtle-causal bodies), in unendurable hotness Lord siva had taken off and placed his attire “tiger skin” on the river bank, ought to take bath in the water falls. The lingam beleived to be uprised from that exact place. Siva’s body and mind was appeased after dipping in the waterfalls, then he returned back to kailasham. But in all the erstwhile tantra books , this lord Siva was referred as “Kradha(barbarian) god” instead of Fierce god.


This is the only “Kradha idol” of the whole South Travancore region. “Kradha” means barbarian, a tribe. In another legend, “Kradha” siva had intercepted Arjun who was on this way in search of a special “Paasupatha” weapon. Then siva had drawn him for a combat to assess Arjun’s strength and at the end of the fight, had bestowed him that special weapon as gratitude. Even today there the tradition of enacting this event in Kathakali (Indian dance-drama with attracted make ups) dance every year has been maintained. On that festival day, entire village gathers to watch the play of roaringly dancing main actor( also a dancer) in “Kradha” get-up , with black colour applied in his entire body, with big white teethes ,flaming eyes and with a crown made of red hawk’s feather was worshipped by another actor in Namboothiri Brahmin get-up. When the “Kradha god” appears on the stage, fully erupted crowd venerates Kradha god by chanting “Hara Hara Mahadeva, Sambo Mahadeva”. When i had the glimpse of “Kradha”’s blackish laughter like of piled up clam-shells, a screen apparently unfolded in front of me. I obtained the profound revelation of history which i mentioned earlier.


After that incident, i started extensively analysing the tantra books and investigating the Thirparappu temple. First i observed that all the tanra books are translation or elucidation or supplement from some other older piece of writing. I detected that source written material vanished long ago, after searching it for 8 years. Seven namboothiri families were the only tantras of Thirparappu temple. At that moment, no one was associated with the temple administration. After completing their education three families of them moved to abroad in search of jobs. Heirs of remaining families were not even aware of their association with the temple.


III


After persisting hunt for few months, finally found a useful information from an elderly man Sridharan Namboothiri in Banglore. He had preserved few inscrutable books of palmyra leaves hereditarily. But recently he donated those to bangalore archaeological center. Still, i was able to recover those books from archaeological center without much effort. I had already read most of those palm leaf manuscripts. But one particular manuscript was written in brahmi script. I was able to interpret those with the help of an archaeological linguistic Sankara Kuruppu. Yes!! that was the source tantra book , i had been searching for long time. But it looked like, that itself a translation of some other source. I was not able to exactly find the source language.


I did elaborate and intent investigation on that lingual structure. Usually, Sanskrit translations would have indistinct traces of source language. In this case, it more and more seemed like a Tamil source. But still, the translation appeared to be less complicated than a regular tamil translation. I was totally perplexed. I instinctually believed that from any of the temple related objects or from the rituals associated with temple, there must be a definite solution to this puzzle. So i visited the temple more often than ever. A Temple is an ancient and mysterious book. We see only covers of that book with our normal eyes. It possesses heaps of unexplored information. But with all my efforts to explore that, still i was yet to resolve the puzzle.



IV


On those days, i noticed an elderly man sitting near the entrance of temple administrator Narayana pillai’s office. He had unkempt lengthy tuft of hair tied at the end, putting on wooden ear rings, with chewed betel leaf saffron smeared up in his mouth and bloodshot eyes. He did not have any facial hairs, with closely spread wrinkles like elderly chinese man’s facial wrinkles, all over his face and neck, accompanied by a small girl appeared to be a rural girl with a majestic blackish colour. She had big eyes like the rural goddess “Yatchi”. The old man made obeisance by folded hands upon seen me. she turned towards me with glittering lethargic eyes and stood quietly.


Narayana Pillai was seated in the office along with old , wore off tables, chairs and wood shelf typically found in the Devasthanam(governing body of a temple) board offices, Milk-free tea, betel leaf box, Kolaambi (a small brass vessel used to spit the chewed betel leaf ) , beedi (raw roll of tobacco - a kind of cigarette ) bundle.


“Oi, Pillai!! Who is that at the entrance?” i asked Narayana pillai.


“At entrance?” pillai replied.


“Some old man...”


“oh that fellow? ...Malaiyan, (tribe man) ..He is waiting here to collect his bill 180 Rs from that Petulant Superintendent for upteenth time. Superintendent would snarl upon me if i insist that. Do you want to have tea? black- tea?”


“what for?”


“He does puja for ‘Athi (old)-Kradha idol‘ of this locality, a ritual has been performed from olden times.” replied Pillai by pouring tea in a cup.


“Athi Kradha temple?”


“Well, it is not exactly a temple. A Siva lingam resides in the other side of the river bank, deep inside forest, beneath a papal tree is addressed as Athi-Kradha idol. It is believed to be the foremost Kradha idol. Though there is no daily puja peformed, before start of every Thiruvaadhirai festival season , a sheep or a hen must be sacrificed as offering to appease the Athi-Kradha. At the end of the festival, another puja would be performed along with sacrifice of animal offered as subsidence the Athi-Kradha. One of the prescriptions of the religious custom maintained traditionally. ” explained Pillai by drinking tea.


“man, Now it is almost eight month elapsed after Thiruvaadhirai festival!!!”


“This is a ‘Government bill’ sir!! how would a commoner expected to get it so soon. Usually it takes at least a year to get cleared, some times more than year and half. Only during the auditing in the pressure of cleaning up the accounts, secretary hastens me to seek Malaiyan.”


“Does the ritual mandated only for Malaiayn?”


“Yah, That was the Tantra rule. Now a days, there are not much tribesman left in the hill. Barring malaiyan only one another toddy drunkard remaining to perform this ritual at the moment. But during 1920s in Maharaja period, this was not the case. When Malaiyan gets down from hill to commence this ritual, a Samanthan Nayar (A dignified sub-clan of ruling elite Nayar) receives him with the royal sword and holy parasol. He even used to perform a foot adoration pooja to Malaiyan. This 180 Rs offertory was exclusively ordered by Maharaja to deliver Malaiyan directly from treasury. On those days , police man’s monthly salary was 3 Rs. In a sacred salver, along with the coconut, flowers, betel leaves, this offertory was bestowed to Malaiyan in the form of Gold coins. In the following 4 months, entire hill bustles in stirring dance parties, meat dinners and soaks in toddy beverages. That bygone era passed away long ago. Now, look at him, this little money would not even sufficent for his beedi spending, yet he came here to collect it.”


“Disburse him the money by collecting his voucher. I will give back that money later.” I said.


“why?”


“I have a small business with him...”


“Your research work, Huh?, Why are you wasting time on researching these tribe-men? Better do research on noteworthy autom bombs or hybrid vegetables, or at least do sane research on these desirable tribe-women. would you?”


Malaiyan handed over the payment to his daughter at once receiving it with shivering hands after signing the voucher with thump impression. She hastily counted the money using the saliva. Then Malaiyan started getting down upon obediently greeted us. I followed him right away.


V


His daughter turned towards me and whispered something to Malaiyan after noticing me. Malaiyan looked at me intently by keeping his hands above eyes and then obediently greeted me once again when i approached him. He gesticulated inquiry through the unfolded mouth.


“Malaiyan, where are you from?” I asked.


“From the North of the hill.” replied Malaiyan. I was surprised to find his hearing sense at this age.


“oh!!, So, how old are you? around 80+, huh?”


“yes,” grinned Malaiyan. I noticed that his teethes were still intact. “ I surmounted 9 decades already, waiting to pass through 10th one.”


“I came here to collect some information about the temple on my research. I need your help. I will remunerate to your help. You know...”


“I don’t know much about the temple details. Pothi people or Namboodiris may help you on this.” said Malaiyan as though excusing himself.


“‘I‘ve already enquired them. But this is about the Athi-Kradha temple in the hills.”


“Oh..” exclaimed Malaiyan. “The same old story, sir. In the actual temple Lord Siva placed his tiger skin attire at first. When he found there were ants, he replaced the attire here in the hill place. Thus brahmins take care of the rituals in the original temple and Malaiyans (tribe-man) perform rituals in the hill temple. That tradition have being followed for long time. ”


“This story is the version of Brahmin’s, isn’t it? What is told in your caste?”


“Same story been told in our caste too..” said Malaiyan without any intention to conceal anything.


“So, Do you have any songs related to this?”


“No there are no songs, we perform only the rituals.”


I explained him few information that i translated from brahmi language to tamil. “ These are all erstwhile tantra rules. This particular song has some details about the offerings, sacrifices for kradha (sacrificed lives). Did you ever heard this song in your language? ” I asked curiously.


”We have so many songs in our language. but none is related to the Kradha worship rituals.” answered Malaiyan resolutely.


Later I gratified malaiyan with one kg Palmyra jaggery, 300gms tobacca and quarter kg tea packet. Malaiyan bought 2 kg salt by himself without waiting for my consent. I enquired the detailed direction of the path to his house in the hill. Later he took leave from me and entered into the forest through the hill path by crossing the river stream.


Next day i went directly to the Athi Kradha idol located place in the hill. At least 500 thousand similar idols can be found in this south Trivancore region. The idols used to be formed beneath trees, mostly using a stone erect kept perpendicular above another horizontal stone. I found this particular idol situated under the cool shadow of the trees amidst of dry leaves, with the garlands made of oleander leaves or தெற்றி மாலை a, Perfumed sandal paste and Kungumam (holy red power or paste formed of turmeric with alum and lime juice) applied all over. Though in records that region was declared property owned by temple, it was still a forest region with typical ceaseless cicada’s droning, bustling wind’s sound, decaying dry leaves's smell and with horrendous noise of several reptilians moving over the dry leaves. I sat there for a while. It was hard to believe that a vast temple, surrounded with palace alike house streets is located within a kilo meter distance from there. The same sonance of the waterfalls was heard as one of the temple’s sound from the temple, heard as forest’s sound from here.


A week later i met Malaiyan in the hill. Top of the Neeli hills was the only remnant region of forest. It was surrounded by rubber estates in all the four sides. From road it looked like army men’s haircut. Malaiyan’s hut located under a big rock, near to whirling formed due to river water ran afouls with the rock and the water about to gently falls in the stream. Malaiyan’s hut constructed by planting the bamboo sticks firmly on the ground, in the modest height, looked like a small float or sparrow nest. When i went there , Malaiyan was tightly tying a drum. His grand-daughter or may be great-grand-daughter was grilling some tubers in the accumulated dry twigs fire. By hearing my walking steps with the sharp hearing instinct from good distance, he noticed me at once. He looked at me intently by keeping hand above his forehead, nodding his head and greeted me with a smiling face. I sat on the pial(a raised floor of the verandah outside the house ), he cordially offered me honey mixed in water. Later we three started having the grilled fumy tubers by dissecting it served in the banana leafs. Malaiyan narrated his family story during the meal time. All of his seven son had died long ago. Grand sons were scattered intractably. Remaining sole grand daughter gone into forest to collect honey. That small girl named Regina mary was her daughter.


“Regina mary? ” i asked with surprise.


“Yah, she is studying in a christian missionary school.” replied Malaiyan. Malaiyan’s son was also converted to Christianity earlier. “They get wheat grains and tooth powder. Also new clothes for Chrismas.” said Malaiyan.


“You have not converted ?”


“I can’t manage my meager Pooja rituals and Christian prayers at the same time. Thats why i have not converted” retorted Malaiyan .


VI


On that day, I conversed with Malaiyan till night and left the hill. Only useful information i managed to affirm from Malaiyan was that the Source Tantra book was actually translated from Malaiyan’s language. Though Malaiyan’s mother tongue appeared to be same as tamil but it was some kind of proto language. Some of the wordings of his language presented in the Tantra books as it is. For example he mentioned the flower KamugamPaalai as Kamugin Kaathu (Kaathu - Ear in tamil), and bud of the thechchi flower he refered as thechchi Mookku (Mookku - Nose in tamil).


But Malaiyan was completely unaware of any points mentioned in the Tantra book. He repeated same old stories of the Thirparappu pilgrimage legend. I exhausted finally after the failures of my repetitive attempts to extract any other useful information from him. My oftenness meetings with him was reduced, also because of the expenditures on Malaiyan who stopped buying tobacco, Tea powder and Palmyra jaggery after my first meeting with him. More over he started complaining on the quality and quantity of these things believing that gratification of those was my mandatory duty. Once i willingly went there without these gratifis , that day Malaiyan did not even pretend to receive or notice me. Added to this, his grand and great grand daughters trusted that a non-believer like me bring along satan’s feature, so they never ever attempt to converse with me.


Seven or Eight months later i went to hill to meet Malaiyan again. During the mean time the Thiruvaathirai offering rituals were performed without Malaiyan. Another drunkard Malaiyan fuddled with Palymya beverage staggeringly performed the rituals like offered blood of sacrificed seven hens to lingam and confered the garlands made of oleander leaves, baels and தெற்றி மாலை. He stumbled twice on to the lingam and grabbed the lingam for balance. Only myself , Nayarana Pillai and a Sendai man (man who plays a kind of large drum) were witnessed that. Later Narayana Pillai informed me that Malaiyan was unwell. “Imminent death is possible, after all a fusty body...” said Pillai. After founding uncertainty over Malaiyan’s health, I started to hill to see him. On the whole way i was mulling over the thought of Malaiyan might already have died at that time. But I intuitively believed that he wouldn’t have died that easily. When i reached his hut, he was not there. I found only that girl.


“Grand father have gone to upper hill..” said she.


“Where?”


“To give sacrifice offering to Hill God ‘Malai Vaadhaiya patchi’”


“oh..on which side?”


She came out of the hut. “Look at there... on that Peak!!”.She gesticulated by pointing towards the top of the mountain.


Climate of the hill was mild on that day. Though it was windy and chilly, was not humid. Also i went there in a passed by lorry, i was not tired at all. So i started climbing the hill with full of zealousness. After an hour of walk, it became more clear that, only from the downward river stream, that hill appeared to be without trees and much nearer but both were wrong. Trees stood up clasping with branches like couples tightly holding the hands, plaiting their fingers, embracing waists. The thorny plants and creepers plaited together like tangled flowing hair of woman, intercepted the way. Through these, the hill path appeared like hair parting line.


On the way, i relaxed for some time after drinking the river stream water in two places. As distance and time progressed, it became very uncertain to find Malaiyan in this thick forest. But i sensed that particular hill path through i was walking, must be formed for procession of that deity. Soon i was totally drained up, by observing the creeping hot blood flow in my flushed red ears, when i was heedlessly looked around, noticed a small stone deity there. I got up , went nearer and absorbed it. A small stone was placed above a broad stone in the center. Close to a “Siva lingam”. It looked as if no one touched that deity for many years, dominated by hair mosses and covered with bushes and creepers. There was a nearby pit, closed with tangled plants and covered by few blossomed white flowers. A thousand leg leech was creeping over the siva lingam. I guessed there must had been a big papal tree, crumbled after decaying. Siva lingam never decays.


Soon i proceeded in the same path. on the way, i spontaneously looked around searching for the other deities. I saw seven or eight sivalingams in the side of the Path. Which means there may be many more in the deep forest. Hundreds of, thousands of, like these trees, like these hidden roots, there may be countless sivalingams buried under soil eternally. A kind of unquietness filled up my mind.



VII


At last when i discovered malaiyan he finished his pooja rituals. The stones resided under a luxuriantly expanded pterocarpus tree, appeared like sivalingam and plain stones at the same time. Under that tree, Malaiyan reposed by keeping his head on a root bulge. He wore a mucky towel in the neck, typically used while climbing trees to seize his legs and on the waist there was another red towel. I found தெச்சிபூ garland in his head, when i saw him intently. “Malaiya!!!” i called upon approaching him.

He looked at me with red shot eyes and closed back. i sat on another root bulge in fair distance. His body was like soil of forest, on that strings of nerves appeared like root bulges, even the mucky towel looked like a kind of root. His blackish colour naturally blended with that forest atmosphere. My light blue shirt and light skin colour was unusual and odd for that place. In case a wild elephant appears there, it would chase after me and squash like louse upon caught me. Elephant hates the light colours. Thats why fences and sluices built in the forest streams usually in ash colour. Yet the elephants demolishes those furiously. It ragingly dislikes the on-forest objects.


When Malaiyan woke up his neck towel slipped down on his lap and wriggled. He put on the towel back and started walking and i followed him at once, almost ran after him.


“I kept the gratis es in your hut” said me, to divert that uncomfortably silent atmosphere. But he did not seems to be listened that.


He started climb down from there through some other path. The river stream passes through Malaiyan’s hut was visible from there. Below hundreds of feet , it looked like a silk thread coated with silver laid on the floor. The small mountains appeared in variously densed light blue colour. At long distance even the “Agastiyar kooda Moutain” appeared like light blue screen. All these mountains are like curtains. What would appear, if we swiftly discard these one after another?


“Is this a short route?” i asked Malaiyan.


He entered into a path through bunch of bamboo trees without answering me. Suddenly it become rustling dark. Greenish shadow formed above the head by leaves of bamboo. In both side ways, bamboo’s yellowish line contoured like walls.


“Is that your family deity?” i asked.


He did not react even now. He turned back and saw me as if he was noticing me only that moment. The sound of the flowing wind chimed with bamboo trees, varied sounds of flowing wind sliced and perforated in the holes of bamboo forest, resounded like several animals groaning in unendurable pain, growling noises, howling noises. Still there was no sign of spotting me in the eyes of Malaiyan but I found a wild animal’s look in his eyes. Am i the prey?


It was a daunting task to recover my voice at that moment, but still i wanted to say something to normalise that atmosphere. “Who is that god?” i asked.


That old man did not stir his face. But i heard a voice just behind him,


“I am the one!!!!”


My body tingled in excitement and frozen for few minutes, i heard echoes of that uttering repeated over and again in various tones and several places.


I flew back from there at once and darted in to the hill path tremblingly, on the way i hurriedly crashed down and got up to running in several places. At last i was unconsciously lied down in a place called “Sitrayampalam” with muddy clothes. Later i was rescued by a passed by lorry and reached my town. My friends told that was just a hallucination. Yes indeed, In the deep forest various noises, sounds are common. Anyone can explain and prove that incident was just an illusion. Including the snarling of the mucky neck towel of Malaiyan with glittering eyes and ferocious twin tongues.



==End==