Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Maya Anthurjanam - Chapter 3

It had taken one Ezhavan man to break the power that Vishnu Namboodri held over the village. Over the years that passed, Vishnu Namboodri watched the respect and fear he inspired among the villagers melt away. In a state of desperation he started holding the most extravegant festivals at the temple. He hired twenty five elephants for the processions. He had fireworks to rival Thrisoorpuram. But it was all in vain. The esteem he had lost among the people could never be bought back again.

Somewhere along the way, Vishnu Namboodri took to the toddy that came from his depliting estate.Bhargavi Anthurjanam was found dead, one morning, floating in the Tharavadu Pond. Whispered stories spread among the village that she committed suicide. Some said that she was drowned the Namboodri. Some just shook their heads and said a silent prayer against the Ezhavan's curse.

Maya was still remained a prisoner in the store room, where her food was placed everyday at the small window sill by Naniamma , the Madan Tharavadu cook .

Vishnu Namboodri lived long. He suffered long. He stayed within the Tharavadu. All news about the Tharaavdu came from Naniamma, who spoke of the once powerful Namboodri, now a shrivelled old man seated on the easy chair in the dark confines of Thekkini, mumbling to himself.

The villagers started talking about strange occurances in the vicinity of the Tharavadu.

Kuttiamma's cow fell sick of a mysterious ailment , which made the cow bloat up and break out in sores. It died 2 days later. The cow had grazed in the over grown courtyard of Madan Tharavadu.

Gopi saw a blue light floating above the Madan Tharavadu roof one night. He was coming back after his bath at the Temple pond and had squatted near the open wooden gate of the Tharavadu to relive himself. He ran all the way back to his hut.

Soon, every one in the village had their own personal experiences. Naniamma stopped staying over night at the Tharavadu. Instead she started attending to the Illums requirement at day time and returning to her hut in the village before nighfall. She was convinced that the Tharavadu was over run with Kuttichattan, yakshis and other demons. She spoke of noises in the attic. Kitchen utensils falling by itself in the kitchen.

The villagers stopped taking the shortcut of the Tharavadu coconut groove to reach their homes. The pathways used for many generations soon disappeared under the wild grass.

The thravadu itself started falling apart. The pond where Bhargavi Amma drowned was covered with dead leaves. The water had turned thick and green with algae . The tiles on the roof that had broken from falling coconut were not replaced. Weeds and creepers overran the courtyard which was no longer being swept. Moss started growing on the walls that has not been whitewashed for years.

One day the panchayat meeting was held for the planning the temple festival for that year. Vishnu Namboodri was not even informed. Next day, Nanniamma went to the illum and found Vishnu Namboodri's corpse hanging from the wooden beam of the ceiling. He had used his mundu for the deed.

Naniamma ran out screaming.

The panchayat came back in the afternoon with some brave souls, who cut the mundu and lowered Vishnu Namboodri's bdoy to the ground. A cremation was done the same day in the courtyard. The mango tree near the well was used as fuel.

While the pyre burned, Naniamma entered the Illum for one last time. She took the key from inside the cupboard in Namboodri's bedroom and unlocked the store room.

Some where in the night, while the embers of the pyre glowed , the tharavadu was looted. Some blamed it on the gang of gypsies who had camped at the periphery of the village. Ammomma said that it was Naniamma's relatives. Either way, the doors of the illum stood pry ed open and everything of any value had been carted away. The panchayat members inspected the illum along with the Police. Nothing had been spared. They pushed open the store room door to finally release the legendary Maya.

The inside of the store room was dark and filthy. A stench of excrement emitted from the room. They saw what appeared to be scratch marks on the wall.

The room was empty.


Adorable Pancreas said...

I wanna know where she went. Waaahh!!!

diyadear said...

wow the suspense is building..