Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Impish kiss

She said it all began with an impish kiss on her lips and then a swift withdrawal with the dramatic air of innocence. I chose to make her believe that she could make me believe. It was like her borrowing all the light in the world to make believe it is dark.

She was always succeeded  to bring out the air of innocence ,the piteous and the prevailed. She always appeared demure, and displayed a taciturn air. However a close observation would penetrate through the veil of modesty and shy strain she displayed. Modesty, a  quality though unfortunately misplaced and identified with women who are  hail from surroundings of  conventions and traditions. And she was indeed from a background as similar as that.It could be said that a woman’s eyes are the portals into her being. And watch her eyes closely, and one may see the abyss and  the mountains that she and only she can pass over. It is fathomless repository and men know not what it beholds. She was such!

She could enthral young and old among men in the captive, enchanting regard of her eyes. And cast away women to moan in peeve and anguish emanating out of envy; make her spouse prostrate and crawl on his four, thus was the beguile and power of the enchanting sorcery of  her gaze and enamour.

So, it began, she alleged with the “impish kiss”.
The chemistry of adultery ingrained in Man like ineluctable chaff! I felt, and told him so, that it can only end up in a blame game with no end and reason in sight. The chemistry of adultery!

The room was well alighted by the sun that threw in its radiance . It was  a well lit place. The walls were pearl white and the curtain and drapes spotless in union. The snow white cotton -silky mattress laid spread immaculately on the mahogany cot .And seated on its edge lest the fabric crumble  she beckoned him to continue from where it all began. The impish kiss, genesis from her gaze that can behold men, young and old.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The' Gulags' of today

"Blow the dust off the clock. Your watches are behind the times. Throw open the heavy curtains which are so dear to you -- you do not even suspect that the day has already dawned outside".

-- Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Udhara nimittam oru Gulf yatra" (In quest, a journey across the seas)

"Athilo mundee luncitha kesa
Kashyambhara bahukrutha vesha
Passyanapi cha na passyathi loka
Udhara nimittam bahukrutha sokha ( vesha)”.

                       “Men with hairs overgrown,
                         Men with a shaved head,
                         Men with a well- cut hair,
                         Men with ocher robes,
                         See the world,
                         But pretend they don’t,
                         And suffer all the way,
                         To fill their belly forever”!

No spiritual conceits this, or aided by exotics in spirits;
Reflections and musings,in search of spirit to move fore.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Blood of Dracula

'The creature bent over the young woman, whom its red bloody eyes put into a trance. The Count’s mouth opened and snapped shut in a deep kiss on her neck. His teeth felt the soft skin and went in through it like a hypodermic needle. The woman writhed and moaned in ecstasy.The Count drew in the young blood for a while and held back his mouth. Blood dripped from his reddened mouth and lips. The girl was still in the trance he flung her. Dracula beamed in maverick smile  and mused in content and surveyed around ,his eyes darting like that of the  he wolf that drank to its heart’s content’

The Vampire story with the eponymous antagonist Dracula must have descriptions like these. Though I do not remember the exact words and sentences Stalker used to describe the ritual of the Count Dracula.
I happened to hear on the regional FM channel the social advert meant to encourage blood donation. The feminine voice that exhorted the virtue of donating blood, took me back into many years in the past. With all respect to the solemn virtuous deed of blood donation and without any disparaging intent let me narrate some experiences with blood donation.

The Count Dracula story was only the visual symbol of the abstract idea that came to my mind from experiences long ago. The difference was that the Count was a petite paramedical nurse and the sting of the Count’s sharp tooth was the piercing of the syringe fitted with a thin, sharp steel needle which went through the outer layer of the skin and into the vein; blood of teenaged and youthful red exuberance gushed out first in a torrent and then dripping down gently into the glass bottle!

The display of virtue, though for a token consideration was not to be publicised at that period in time. So there was a lot of stealth and secretive planning that preceded the transfusion at that private laboratory. There was in fact nothing resembling moral excellence in that transfusion of blood. It was not donation ‘per se’. The consideration was Rs 20, as the blood filling up the glass bottle being RH positive.It would fetch Rs 40 for the blood with RH factor negative.

There was no ecstasy that the pretty lady lived through when the Count Dracula bent over her and punctured his sharp teeth on to the side of her neck. This was an anxious feel of getting done with the procedure, pocket the money and slither out hoping to be not noticed by the gentry in the city to whom I was familiar to.

The extraction ritual in the little room of that laboratory got over in even time. And the lass who conducted the transfusion ensured that I lay on the cot for a while. Later she gave me a glass of fresh lemon with liberal additive of glucose and a few cream biscuits. There was no signing of vouchers and I pocketed the twenty Rupees and slid out to walk the few meters to the bus station.

All avenues that were lawful and unlawful were exhausted before some of us decided on this new means of pocketing some money for mundane indulgence like, having a coffee and vada, a few chapattis and the infamous, but tasteful beef curry at the college canteen, or a ‘Charms’ cigarette and spending on tickets to the favourite Hollywood films that were invariably released on all Fridays at the Sreekumar /Sreevisakh movie theaters.The exercise that fetched “blood money” went on over a few times over a period. It sometimes gave a feeling of chivalry to us who struck upon the idea. We even joked on it as the symbol of “Eucharistic liturgy”.

Since it has passed three decades after those eventful days, I guess that there may not be something inappropriate in mentioning the end story which became a sorry saga and the name of one of the artist. Rajan was a boisterous, trouble shooter, both in the confines of his home or out at the college or elsewhere. He had the denseness of mischievousness that one will be surprised to see, concentrated in one person and always displayed in his fair chubby face. The movie was releasing through its first exhibition on that afternoon and we took the bus straight from the laboratory. We managed to be very early in the queue for tickets and ensured that we did not miss out the first days first filming. While we were in the queue waiting for the counters to open Rajan got embroiled in the most stupid of all indulgence. Hearing the violent cacophony we looked around and saw that he was into fist fights with a group of gamblers who were squatting nearby. They were fooling people to throw money into a game of dice promising a win of three or four times the sum that was put in. This idiot put all his “blood money’” into the game and lost squarely. Rajan was standing a cropper and he tasted his own blood!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

An Old Story

Dhandhapani Pillai hailed from Nagercoil, now a town in Tamilnad, south of Thiruvananthapuram. In fact before the restructuring of the States in the 1950s, Nagercoil was part of the Travancore Princely State. The influence that the old political dispensation has on the social fabric of Thiruvanathapuram from Tamil culture and from people from the former Tamil speaking areas of Travancore is remarkable. For instance Deepavali a distinct Tamil festival is observed with delirious energy in Thpuram, whilst its aura wanes as one travels northwards and beyond from Thpuram. The influence of the heavenly offspring Subramanian, the God with distinct Tamil flavour is widely accepted as deity in Thiruvanathapuram. And south/central Kerala has many temples where he is the presiding deity. Towards north Kerala he seems to be still like the BJP unable to make inroads.

Our Dhandapani Pillai was the namesake of this Tamil God, the distinctly egoistic son from the relationship between Siva and Parvathi. I was often narrated the early beginnings of Dhandapani Pillai by my mother.
It was way back in 1950s that Dhandapani Pillai, a widower, migrated with his son and daughter, to Thpuram. He was from quite penurious background and by chance approached my maternal grandfather who then owned a well known and respectable business in textiles in Thpuram. The helpful points in his general demeanour were his widely bared air of submission to authority and his verbal volleys that can bowl over anybody.

Thence began a new innings and Dhandhapani Pillai  gradually entrenched  socially as a Tamil speaking Mallu . He worked as a salesman at the textile counter and also trained as a tailor. He married a second time and begot three children, two girls and a son. Dhandhapani pillai was ambitious but was too anxious to go forward that he often stumbled and that put him back one step behind. When the enlarged family found it difficult to meet their living from one source of income which was his salary, he laid out his small plan to his employer (my paternal grandfather). He proposed to put up a small pan shop that those days meant an outlet for beetle nuts and tendu leaves, fresh lemon juice and local sharbath, besides local candy and bananas.He came on an auspicious morning to my grandfather along with his son and family- his son decked up as a priest and carrying a framed photo of the God Subramaonaian. And I ‘m told that they were helped with the initial capital and the tiny shop was begun very near the place where I lived in my childhood days.

My earliest memories of Dhandapani Pillai were from the time I used to buy small rubber balls to play. He also sold paper kites which was a fascination for kids like me. Occasionally I used to be send from home to Dhandapani Pillai’s shop to buy bananas. He usually used to play his smart tricks and pack for me amongst the good ones the mice eaten bananas too. He also used to charge me the extras anna for bananas. When I was sent from home to fetch half dozen chicken eggs and the tiny parcel  opened back home there will always be an egg short.This was his way of making the extra nickel.

Later I had been often given the feeling of being a “jack ass” by Dhandhapani Pillai’s cunning. He had by then expanded his wares and business that he bought a few bicycles which could be hired on hourly rent. He also had a couple of the smaller bicycles. They were hired by kids who were learning the art of cycling. My first lessons and subsequent many little escapades where first on the little bicycles of Dhandhapani Pillai and later on his more flashy “Raleigh” bicycles.

I remember well that it was twenty paisa for one hour of hire. And I and a few local friends used to hire them on weekends. The meanness which Dhandapani Pillai could not resist was very infuriating and gave us helpless feel. But when thinking about it now, I can sometimes smile at his crooked acumen as a business man and laugh at the trickery he used to regularly play on us. It was quite upsetting that the one hour we hire elapses in a jiffy. Dhandapani Pilli carefully winds forward his little time- piece soon after we have hired the little cycle. And after a few rounds when we check with him the time left he will in his shrill voice say, “smayam ayii ini anchu minute mathram”, (it’ is almost time and five more minutes left).The fact is that he ensures that we pay him the twenty paisa for thirty minutes and if we protest he will agree that we can keep the cycle another thirty minutes if we pay extra.

Dhandapani Pillai had electronic antennas all over his body. That he smells everything and anything in the neighbouring households.

The foolery that he inflicted on us was burning like amber, but we could do nothing. His forward winding the hour on his time- piece was continued even after I began hiring his bigger bicycles for my little clandestine trips. He had by then increased the charges to fifty paisa an hour. Though I knew his larceny, I was afraid to confront him as he was privy to my hiring the cycle without the approval from my house hold folks. And also he sort of knew where I have been. Grudgingly and helplessly I had to always pay the hire charges he wanted.

The opportune moment dawned like destiny come calling. I was well into my teens. I and a few neighbourhood boys found out like a revelations that Dhandhapani Pillai had an illicit affair with a vegetable vendor, a woman living a few blocks away. Since his house was adjacent to his outlet it could also be left unattended for a while. At 6.30 pm every evening Dhandapani Pillai used to vanish from his shop. And he comes back after an hour or so, with sandalwood paste and vhibhoothi on his forehead some pooja offerings in hand. This temple visit of Dhandapani Pillai went on without fail and undeterred.

The enterprising detectives amongst us boys found out the truth of the gloaming visits of our man. We, one day, keeping an undetected distance, followed him to the house of his paramour. We hung around outside on the road for Mr Pillai to alight after his courtship. It was getting quite dark but for the incandescent street lamp in front of the small path way to the woman’s house. Like a whiff Mr Pillai cycled out from the pathway and on to the road, to virtually ram into us. Mr Pillai was decked like after a temple visit, sandal wood paste on the forehead etc. His face in that street light is still amusing to relive. One boisterous fellow among us , tapped on the bicycle handle and asked, “Dhandapani anna njangade karyam paranjo akathe deviodu”(Dhandapani anna did you tell about us to the Goddess in there)?

Since that late evening, I cannot recollect one instance when he played his opportune tricks on us. But he continued his temple visits at dusk until the Vegetable vendor died. And the wonderful  end to the story is that he entrusted his little shop to one of those local boys while he was away on his daily pilgrimage at dusk.

He passed away after quite some years.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A recipe for Environmental Euthanasia

“Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth”, said, Henry David Thoreau. But that was more than a century ago and well before the Wright brothers dreams took to flight. But the reality stares. It does not blink, it stares!

All Fools Day has passed and the next one is quite many months away. Nevertheless here is an opportunity to become a “Fool for Forests”. The Government of India proposes to mine coal in forests and forest lands of East and Central India. This quixotic plan if it becomes real will have the potency to emphatically destroy thousands of hectares of forests for coal. The plan when implemented will be more destructive than the Armageddon. It  will destroy forests,wildlife and displace millions of people dependent on the forests. This is, when there is clean renewable energy and energy efficiency measures to power our needs. But the Government of India seems to favour the recipe for environmental euthanasia.

"There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before".  ~Robert Lynd. 

India's Prime minister was widely quoted of having said that when it comes to development, environment will have to take the rear seat. Rotting food grains and millions going without even a repast a day are not a bolt to the conscience of this septuagenarian whose Curriculum vitae has been circulating the NET as the perfect example of academic brilliance and erudition.. He has like the medieval knight declared that India has world class safety measures in place at all her nuclear energy facilities. And there is no room for panic and alarm. Stupid that he is, he does not see that when it comes to nuclear safety there is nothing consoling called “world class”.
What Mr. Manmohan Singh should know is that the first country in the world to include “Environmental” protection in its constitution is Namibia . And which certainly does not have much to rest in form of laurels of a bygone and rich culture or civilsation as we do.

Those voicing against this disastrous path have been labeled foolish by the government. And now
Fools have joined Greenpeace, a civil society group working on environment, to help save the forest. 

Read more about this movement below and become a Fool for Forests. 

The government plans to mine coal in the last remaining forests in eastern and central India. Remember that multinational conglomerates and behemoths like POSCO and VEDANTA have almost got foot hold there. These forests support millions of livelihoods and are home to the last remaining vestiges of flora and fauna unique to India. There are clean energy options and energy efficiency measures which can help us meet our energy requirements.But yet.......!

 To quote the great Indian chief Seattle, "We do not own the land air and water we have borrowed them for our children".
If our “farsighted”' government' has its way it will slaughter and clear all the forests and leave barren open pit mines for posterity.Do we want this to happen? If all the Fools for Forests get together they can help strengthen the movement to save our forests from destruction. 

You should become a Fool for Forests to help save the forests. 



A study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reveals that renewable energy options can power the world.[3] Forests cannot be created , they have to evolve. And no extent of trumpeted afforestation can bring back the forests that have been killed.  

Become a fool and tell them "Now", and before its is too late.! 



1.Allow mining in 90% no-go zones', Hindustan Times, October 29 2010 

2. Greenpeace provides an alternate energy vision for India, Greenpeace, March 24, 2009

3. Renewable energy can power the world, says landmark IPCC study, Guardian, May 9, 2011 

"We say we love flowers, yet we pluck them.  We say we love trees, yet we cut them down.  And people still wonder why some are afraid when told they are loved".  ( Unknown)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

"Dog in the manger"

A dog in the manger!
Though the trait is devoid of altruism and is a strange form of selfishness, disputes may arise as to which gender holds sway over that quality..
Selfishness may be a universal trait transmigrating gender, societies, culture and lands. It does not discriminate between either of the sex. man and woman can be equally selfish and equally less as well.

But the “dog in the manger” is more often women than men. I have not heard or come across a man being possessive of his son or daughter and warring with the hapless son-in-law or daughter- in-law. It is not often that we hear of a man enforcing surreptitiously or overtly an attitude that if he is denied something in life, the same must not be enjoyed by the rest, (Often in this case, the children, sons or daughters- in law).
But I have noticed this quite often in woman, irrespective of her education, social status or background, economic, religious or cultural. The very disposition have many a time mauled and ruined lives. And she enjoys it deep with in. If she dose not succeed, beware she will come back at you like “The devil woman”.

A few examples I have known .

The first protagonist is a former bureaucrat and since retired. She lost her husband quite early in life after he begot her two children. They are now grown up, employed and settled well. He hit the tavern and ruined his life, causing as far as I can understand immense difficulties to our protagonist. I would have thought that a similar life would certainly make any woman ensure that her daughters enjoy a life that is opposite to the one that visited her. However in spite of this fact, she goes great length to engineer and sustain rift and differences among her daughters and their spouses. And matters once even went up to the extent when one daughter wanted to call quits to her marriage. I’m absolutely certain that this possibility must have enlivened the older woman. Though fortunately for the couple, the mechanisations of the mother (-in law) did not succeed, the prospect of a recouped assault is always in the air.

The second example is far more vicious and of stealth. Those who know her at close quarter can vouch that she has it in her to walk astray from the flock in search of greener pastures. She thus bartered a frugal but respectable life that was easily within her grasp to wealth and power. However it was her fierce conviction that the goodness of life which was not hers or stay within her grasp must not be allowed to others. Whether it was her own siblings or outsiders she used stealth and mechanization to deny or purge. She was violently possessive, and fiercely too, be it as things as sharing a candy with her younger ones. She ensured that the icing was hers and hers only. She displayed a countenance opposite to that of the dog in the manger. i.e. she did not growl, bark like the proverbial canine when the bovines want to partake the food in the manger. She exhibited an aura of virtue, nicety and religiosity. And often the victims were misled into illusion. Systematically the plans are laid and happiness in of others was held to ransom. She has succeeded quite well with the strange trappings which only some of the female sex have.

The third specimen sample is a top secretary in the Administrative service. She takes long sabbatical when the dispensation that is voted in is not the party that she is in cahoots.. She moved into the IAS from the Foreign Service after quite a few years as diplomat abroad. In fact the story about her is not a fair advert for education and the elite Services. She has to a considerable extent made her spouse pliable. Ostracised the mother in law and the sister in law and controls the show. She displays artistic decorum and conduct in public, amongst friends and family, that it will be hard to understand that she has a distasteful side. Just see what she could do sitting in the pedestal of a senior IAS officer- they have to cooks at home, and the two women take turns in the kitchen. Our officer lady has a strange diet which is a very little boiled rice, some vegetables micro cooked and curd. She does not (or is it a medical advice, which I cannot tell) have meat in her diet. The old woman, mother- in law loves to devour meat, be it lamb, chicken or beef. And food is cooked for her separate. Strange indeed almost always when meat is cooked for the old woman it is inedible because of the high presence of salt. Tastes like having been cooked in the Dead Sea! The cooks were called up and given dressing down, but the story continued. The poor cooks swore on the Mother of God they were sure that salt was added for taste and nothing more. The story went on and the old woman was repeatedly denied her food. Until one day the son caught his wife sneakily dumping spoons of salt into the food prepared for his mother. Pliable he is, he did not wag a finger. And now the old woman has moved to another house.

The stereo typed mother in law and daughter-in-law are the ones who act as  irritant flies, who finds happiness and pleasure in the difficulties that they could inflict on her son(s) spouse or mother. But   the above examples are pretty unique as there is a mother-in-law, a divorcee and an educated daughter- in- law. Wonder if they  provide good advertisement to Woman hood. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Jack Fruit Tree

Katthukutty amma  gave deep sigh  when she was told by the peon in uniform- white trouser and tunic with white  turban and a red, & gold bordered militia barrette  that the sub collector “sar” will now see her.

Early that morning, Kathukutty Amma left home when it was still dark and had some time to go before  day break. She had to travel through the narrow path cutting across the stretches of paddy fields, and do a balancing act that she was so accustomed to across the brook over the make shift bridge that was the trunk of a coconut palm .She walked along the side of the canal that flows from the dammed river and reservoir a few kilometer upstream. She reached the road circumventing the Sreekrishna temple, when the early dawn keerthanam (hymns) was gently flowing through the loud speaker placed somewhere above on the old pea pal tree that must be rooted there for centuries ,adjacent to the temple pond. She held her right palm close to her bosom when the mesmerizing ode “kaninkanum neeran …” flowed through the loud speaker. She did the customary bow and uttered prayers for a minute standing outside the temple perimeter, before she crossed the road towards the  street light pole that displayed  a  tin sheet painted red and with white letters” BUS STOP”. The first few crows took flight from their perches on the pea pal tree and flew  in circles. An hour before that Kathukutty amma polished off  the Kanji ( rice gruel or porridge ) and the Chakka Puzhukku ( Jack fruit stew) with some chutney of Knadhari Mullaku ( hot green chili, native to Kerala). From the past many times, she knew that a visit to the Government office will not be a brief affair and she may have to as before sit in the verandah of the office till dusk awaiting the officer to consider meeting her.

“Velliamme Sar akatheku chellan paranju”, (Sir asked you to meet  in the office cabin).Katthukutty Amma was a quite surprised by the early ushering. She went in after the peon and was astonished to see a very young maiden in the chair of the sub- collector. She was told by the Collectorate staff that the former sub collector was transferred out and a new officer was in charge. But now looking at the sub collector, a young woman may be as old as her grand child if she had one surprised the old woman by no bounds. And when the peon said “sir will now meet you”, she presumed that a man would be in the chair.

The young sub collector beckoned her and reciprocated her “namasthe’ with folded hands. She asked Katthukutty amma to occupy the visitors’ chair, which the old woman declined out of anxiety and surprise in seeing the unpretentious new appointee. Besides she was uneasy seeing the powerful Circle Inspector, her neighbour and a retinue of other officials seated around the sub collector’s table. Anxious about the fate of her grievance and how this little girl would entertain her supplication, she palpitated within. More over she a poor woman was not used to being offered a seat in a government office. She was not even allowed inside the cabin or office on her many previous visits to petition. She stood behind the officials with folded hands.

The circle inspector began, “madam this old woman is my neighbour and she lives in the ten cents of land adjacent to my house. Respected madam, as you know I’m a police officer and the custodian of law. I subscribe predominant value and importance to my job and engage much of my time and effort in safe guarding the law of the land. I spent considerable time of the day and night in pursuit of my haloed duty. I ‘m faced with constant threat to my life while engaged in my duties. While I work under ever looming mortal threat while on duty, I ‘m not saved from that plight even while at home with my family. I, my wife and children besides my aged parents live in constant danger and threat from the Jack fruit tree that stands precariously on the fringe of this woman’s property. The mortal possibility of danger from the tree and or its huge branches falling upon my house is real as sunrise. I request your office to issue the order to slaughter that tree before it can put at risk the life of a sincere and honorable officer of the constabulary.”

The sub collector looked towards the Tahshildar seeking his explanation and report. He endorsed the plea of the inspector and agreed to its genuineness. The Village officer and the Revenue official were unanimous and in chorus nodded in agreement in favor of the inspector’s plea.

Kathukutty amma could not control her sob. Tears streamed down her weather beaten, skinny cheeks and she stood with flowing tears and pleading with folded palm begging for righteousness and mercy. The sub collector looked towards Kathukutty amma. More than the plight of the old woman she was harrowed by the unanimity of the officialdom in lining up against the poor hapless woman. She enquired if Kathukutty amma had something to say.

“Kathukutty amma leaned forward and  began sobbingly, “Ssare njan arrorum illatha niralambhayanu.Ente bhrathavineum moneum deivam nereathe kondu poi.Kooli vellaum, a plavil ninum kittunna chakka vittumanu njan annam muttathe kazhiunnathu.Deivam sahaichu a plavuil varshaam muzhuvan chakka undu. Athu oru shaliavum arkum nalkathe ente parambil nilkunnu. Oru vidhathilum njano a plavo ee emanu prayasm akoolla. Ente jevvan a vriksha manu. Athillangil ee njan um undavilla. Kunju onnu athuvare vannu nokiayal mansilakum. Athu inspector emmanu apathavum athu vettanam ennu kunju paranjal aa nimisham najan a plavu murichu mattam. Ee vaysiyodu dayavundavanam”.(Sir, I’m a poor destitute woman with no one to turn to. God took away early in life my husband and son. I live engaging in menial jobs and selling the fruit from that jack tree, which mercifully bear fruits through the year. Neither I nor the tree is of any threat to the inspector. If the tree is gone I have no means to live. I request you to please go to my place and know for yourself. If you then feel that the tree has to be cut down I will not hesitate a moment to abide. Please have mercy on this poor woman)

Hardly had Kathukutty amma ended her tale of woe and request the Tahashildra blurted out, “No, no what do you think old woman. Madam has important work and her time is invaluable to throw after your silly tree and story. She cannot be going there for inspections. Moreover your place is far away by road and through the dirty fields. You have to cut the tree immediately”.

The sub collector had a penchant to read between the lines, something she picked from her father who was himself a bureaucrat.. She glanced through the reports  on the subject that were lying on her table.All  three officials have given in their report . They all endorsed, “slaughter the tree immediately”.

The collector leaned back in her chair and said, “Amme njan adutha thingalastcha varam. Amma onnu ithu vare vannal ente car l thanne onnitchu poyi sthalam kanam” (Dear woman I will go with you next Monday to the site. You may come here in the morning and we will travel to your home in my car).

She turned towards the Tahashildar and said, “I have to conduct  a site inspection before making a decision. You may plan it for next Monday morning, first thing. You can come with us and the rest can meet us at the site”.

Kathukutty amma could not believe her ears. She felt that a tiny door has opened for her.
The following Monday, Kathukutty amma joined the sub collector and travelled back to her little land. The car stopped at the temple and then they began the arduous walk along the sides of the canal. Walking for a while the young sub collector enquired if the site was very far. Kathukuttuy amma said, “illa molle kuracthu koodi poayal mathi, oru oru mile matram,.( No dear just a little over a mile left). The young woman smiled. They went over the foot bridge through the winding path amongst the paddy field. And finally reached Kathukutty amma’s little piece of land and the villainous Jack tree. The sub collector went around the plot and was able to see at one glance that the Jack tree was away from any harm’s way and will have no bearing on the inspector’s house even if it is uprooted. It stood majestically, and in greenish splendor with fruits dotted all over its branches and trunk. The amazing fact that she saw was the tree had fruits and they virtually camouflaged the bark and the trunk! It seemed like manna for the old woman.

She had no hesitation to immediately order that the tree need not be slaughtered and also asked the Tahshildar to ensure that the inspector meted out no trouble to the old woman. As a parting gift the sub collector asked Kathukutty amma if she could buy a jack fruit. Though the old woman was hesitant to take money ,but the sub collector ensured she did.

On the way back the sub collector asked the lawyer of the inspector why such frivolous matter was pursued and the old woman harassed. The lawyer pleaded that he was acting only on the behest of his client and the Jack Fruit tree was the main subsistence provider for Kathukutty amma. The inspector planned that if he could force her to cut that tree down she will be left in the lurch and will be forced to sell the plot of land. And he could buy it for a song and enlarge his chunk of property.

This story is based on a real life incident mentioned in brief by Smt J. Lalithambika (former bureaucrat). This was one of her most vivid experience as an IAS officer!