Tuesday, December 20, 2005

That Tamarind Tree

That one, you know, that one, is that tamarind tree in which that ghost lives, they say. I don’t know whether I would go there; I don’t need to. It is not on the way to the farm I am going now. Is it 12noon? I don’t know. I didn’t check before leaving. I forgot. I feel little uncomfortable in my stomach. I look at the sun. It is almost just above my head. Seeing the sun’s position, it looks that it could be 12noon. I look at my shadow. Is it slightly longer on the east? Yah? If it is, it is after 12noon. Yes I can see the shadow of my head just in front of my feet. Doesn’t that mean it is slightly longer in the east and it is after 12noon? Big breathe. Better now. I adjust my bag in my hip. I am going to a farm to wash all the clothes in a pump-set. I kind of enjoy that. Murugeswari akka is walking in front of me. We are walking on the varappu, a narrow ridge that separates farms and acts as foot path. I like to walk on the wet grass of the varappu. It is very green, fresh and pleasantly cold. Sometimes it hurts too, if there are any thorny plants. But it is not a big deal, as these thorns are flowery thorns, as my mother says. The thorn from karuvelai and seemakkaruvelai (Prospis) are dangerous though. Once I was hurt and we had to go to a doctor to get that out. I was limping for sometime. I think I still have scar.

I look at the tamarind tree again. This time I take a deep look. Mother says that I am a daring person. Mother says that I am not afraid of ghosts. Mother says that I dare to go anywhere in the night however dark it is. I look at the tamarind tree again. It is at a very far location, atleast three farms I have to cross if I want to go there. Murugeswari akka would think that I am crazy if I tell her that we should go there just to check whether there is a ghost or not. She is not afraid of ghost either. “Latha, did you read Sandilyan’s Yavana raani? I think Tiperius is intelligent than Ilanjeliyan. We blindly appreciate him simply because he is from our country and we think Tiperius is a villain simply because he is from Yavana Nadu”. What? …….. Soon we both were arguing so much about that, and then on some distracted side-track stories.. “Hey look, cotton plants”. We both love cotton. Young cotton fruits are very tasty. Mmm.. We hide amidst cotton plants so that the farm owner, if he is there in the farm, wouldn’t notice us. This is one of the attractions for me that makes me never say no to this weekend-pumpset-clothe-washing sessions. The biggest attraction being the whole session: the washing in the pump-set, drying in on the grasses and then folding before going home, actually. Murgeswari akka taught me to fold. She folds clothes very nicely and very neat. Myself and akka spend the whole day like this. I just love it. I would like to own a farm myself when I grow up and have money to buy. I will have rose plants around the well. I will surely have my little hut where I will make coffee and cook sometimes. :-)

Oh, that tamarind tree. I look at it again. “Akka, do you know that ghost lives in that tamarind tree”? “I don’t know. I have never been there”. “You know that farm owners, how do they handle it? What do they do whenever they have to go there? They have their crop, they irrigate it almost everyday. What do they do? How do the workers handle it? What do they do when they have to weed the crop, apply fertiliser/manure and harvest the crop? I mean all sorts of things they have to do there”? “I don’t know. I have never been there. Don’t even think about planning to go there. Your mother will kill me”. We have reached our destination farm. We select our stones and sitting locations/positions… The sun is hot enough to compete with the splashing water. I just love it. :-)


Lata said...

Hi Prema,
ippo Eppadi irukkeenga? Judging from your childhood pumpsettu... boresettu narration...nice to know that things are back to "normal". Eppovavudhu puliyampoo, puliyampazham marathileruthu saapittadhundaa?

Premalatha said...

Hi Lata,
ippo Eppadi irukkeenga?

why? what did happen to me?

(did you mean oil fire? We were not affected at all. I am preparing a full post on that.)

Eppovavudhu puliyampoo, puliyampazham marathileruthu saapittadhundaa?

That was going to be my next post. You have spoiled the suspense. :-)

Lata said...

Oh no! sorry...did'nt mean to spoil the suspense. Ennoda andha line cut pannidunga....seekram :)

Premalatha said...

Lata said...
Oh no! sorry...did'nt mean to spoil the suspense. Ennoda andha line cut pannidunga....seekram :)

summa sonnen. irukkattum irukkattum. ithu oru maathiri build up kuduththu innum suspense-i valarkku.

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

Hi Premalatha:
Nice post indeed. I can identify myself with most of your posts.

I was in a hostel when I was in class 4. There, I was told by my friends that ghosts are nailed on tamarind trees? And we are supposed to avoid playing under/near them at all time or else we might get possessed by ghosts. I recall how scared I was when I had to walk (alone) through those "haunted" areas at nights.

Premalatha said...

Hi Draj,

Also I wanted to post a little note saying that, this time, there is no bitterness I wanted show in this post. It is my mother's contribution in bringing me up as a daring person. Murgueswari akka's contribution in making me a "thinker" and approaching/understanding/analysing the same issue from different perspectives

டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

Hi Premalatha:
I did notice that this post was on the positive side :). Nice to see them coming...

Balaji S Rajan said...

Good post. What I learnt is, if you have any idea bring it immediately ie., put a post. I was about to write about those childhood myths of Ghost in trees... now I think you have put everything what I had in mind. There was a neem tree near my house and many of the grown up boys used to scare us by talking about Muneeswaran living in those trees.....Am I breaking the suspense of my future posts..... OK>.... Pumpsets...... I can write atleast one post on that.... Yours beautifully narrated....especially walking on Varappu.... Have you fallen while walking on those varappus... in those waters going to the lands.... Many more about varappu... Enjoyed your post...Kindles my childhood memories.

Dubukku said...

beautiful writing style. I like this style.

I have close acquaintance with village and hence feeling very nostalgic as well

Anonymous said...

Very good post enjoyed reading it.Your post has reminded me of my childhood i.e.when i used to drink from the pumpsets.

Michelle said...

Lovely prema. :) It made me smile to read this one.

WA said...

Sounds wonderful

Suka said...

Pretty good narration. I was almost flew from scotts valley to Irugur,kunnathuur and arachalur the places where i saw the puliyamarams. Will you be writing about the 'mini/muni' stories about Puliyamaram?

I liked your "varappu' description. It seems you are kinda making all these terms global ! Way to go :)

OT: (sorry , i don't know where to write this)
Thanks for featuring me in desipudit. I have also found a lot of good blogs over there.


sudha said...

hi latha,
:) nice post again. i have had puliyamarams and peii stories too. in fact there used to be a tomb right outside our property. it was pretty scary and enchanting at the same time.
since i came late, everyone else have kinda stolen my lines :(.

phantom363 said...

i grew up in early 50s in royapettah. our street were a bunch of townhouses, each with two stories, rather large, divided into 'portions'. :(

each family would have one or two rooms, an impromptu kitchen, and shared toilets and water taps. it was also a place for the womenfolk to congregate and exchange news.

all the buildings had terraces where people came after sunset to enjoy some supposedly cool breeze. :)

three houses away was a 3 story building. a woman there committed suicide by hanging.

within the next few days the rumours started about some one seeing a mohini. mohini is a pretty pisasu lady, clad in white and smells of jasmine. the only way you could identify her is that she 'floated' and had no legs. she would come near you to embrace you, and then give you such a hard slap that your neck broke. mohini's usual usual time of visit was around midnight, and you could sense her visit by the advance sound of kolusu...and she was always attracted towards men. :(

needless to say, my mother immediately closed the windows that faced the mohini building. thanthris were called and exhorcisms were performed. i was too young to watch. but i remember my mother going.

soon after that we left royapettah to mandavelipakkam. i never knew what happened to the vijaynarayna dass road mohini :)

surprisingly i have lived in canada for over 35 years. beleive it or not, stories of ghoses abound even in the new world. mostly due to suicides. :(