March 2, 2009

Almost lost and almost recovered - Chapter 3

Vacationing forever at a land of 
far from a land of threat.
A refugee.


Seven years later.


Shyama had managed to move from Rameshwaram to Coimbatore and was now a clerk at the local firm that dealt with the export of garments. All her nightmares were finally over and Mathi Malar was now a seven year old school girl put up in one of the renowned schools at Coimbatore. It was the "Traditional day" at Malar's school today. Shyama made Malar wear the "Osariya*". She was not able to help but remember Malli as soon as she had thought of making Malar wear the traditional Srilankan attire. A sudden realization of emptiness all around made her feel sick. In no mood to relish Malar's Srilankan looks Shyama dropped Malar off at school and reached her work place.

A hundred yards down the lane Shanti was trying her best to make Maanu stand still at a place in order to wrap the last piece of clothing on her to give her a traditional Telugu look. She painted a cute shwetabindu* on Maanu's forehead to add to her ethnicity. After a photo session with the newly bought camera and taking blessings from Chandran, Ammamma* and Thatha* Maanu started off to school with Shanti. On the way they stopped at the Hanuman* temple. 

Maanu was awestruck at the magnificent 15 feet high Hanuman idol at the heart of the temple. His stone eyes and broad chest were covered with plates of silver adding to his unbeaten charm. He carried his weapon, a golden Gadha* on one of his hands while offering blessings with the other. Maanu wondered why a deity of such prowess and might was given the face of a monkey. Butter brought by the devotees was continuously being smashed all over Hanuman's face by the priest. Shanti offered a garland of holy basil to the priest. The priest came out of the Garbagraha* with the saffron colored holy powder mixed with oil and dabbed a small circle of it on Maanu's forehead just above the shwetabindu. They were also offered the holy snack made of black gram batter and finely scraped coconut mixed and fried in oil. Shanti returned home after leaving Maanu at the school gate. 

The school was filled with costumes of all variety and colors unlike every other day when the kids were all dressed either in maroon or white. Sister Divine was all smiles for the attire of the tiny tots. It was high time she started general knowledge class for Standard 2 Section B. The class 
was filled with sarees, mundus, salwars, panchas, dhotis, madisaars and ownis. She had planned to make every child narrate something about their native since it was the traditional day and there would be no better time for the task.

It was Malar's turn to narrate. Malar stood up with her head bent down. Sister Divine asked her to tell the name of her native place. Malar had no answer. She wondered why her mom, who taught her the lessons never taught her about this "native". Sister Divine thought that Malar was not able to comprehend the question. 

"Where is it that you go during the summer vacation, Malar? I suppose that must be your native.", Sister Divine tried again.

"I have never been anywhere during the vacations, Sister." Malar broke into tears. 

Sister Divine consoled Malar and made her sit. That noon Mother Dorothy disclosed Sister Divine of Malar and Shyama's past. Sister Divine realized that she had made a terrible mistake by asking Malar of her native. Now Shyama would have to face the consequence of answering little Malar's questions back home. "Forgive me my Lord" Sister Divine crossed herself. 

It was 4 in th evening. Shanti had come to take Maanu home.
"Ma, why is Malar's tamil accent different from that of ours?" Maanu asked her mother.


Osariya - Traditional Srilankan costume
Shwetabindu* - A white colored mark that vaishnavite women wear on their forhead during traditional occassions.
Ammamma - Maternal grandmother 
Thatha - Grandfather (Both maternal and paternal) 
Hanuman - A famous Hindu God who has the body of a human and the face of  a monkey. Also known as Annjaneya and maruthi
Gadha - Hanuman's weapon
Garbagraha - The heart of any South Indian Hindu temple where the idol of the God is situated. The access to this place is restricted with the priest. 


  1. i love this.. you gie all details but never too much to bore any one.. its just the perfect amalgamn !! make a quick link to ur series in the saidebar :)

  2. Prats di :)
    thanx a bunch and shall do :)

  3. i second Prats here..... It feels like reading an ancient story rich with history and culture...

    Good goin..!!


  4. i agree.. cant wait for the next part.. :)

  5. Well written, detailed, researched and narrated like a pro' . that was a brilliant effort. Looking forward to your next part.


  6. i second kings.. it is so professional.. i am loving it.. :)

  7. Im waiting for more... I cant think of anything else to say! Each makes me want more! :D

  8. now i get the prologue too :)

    as i say you do it so well !! keep writing, look at your ceiling, can you see me there? :P

  9. wow yet again....i second kings...a pro at work...the detailing...the research (though lot of it comes from personal experience), the way of putting it across, the way of walking that thin line between ancient culture n modern India, the skill of taking readers on a ride, of not boring them even once especially with a story of this just keeps getting better and better...infact the idea of longer posts would not be bad...coz u r left craving for more at the end...

    way to go nan...take a bow!

  10. I wuz awaiting your comment sandeep :) Thanx for droppin by. Am humbled


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