Sunday, June 05, 2005

Never let me go...

“They are buying a pig”, Muthachan said wrinkling his nose in total disgust.

I sniffed the air. I couldn’t smell anything bad. The ‘they’ in question were our neighbors at ‘Mutta thazhathil’. They were interesting people. They had ducks that waddled around all the time. They were infinitely far interesting that our arrogant hens! And the ‘pembilla’, the old lady at the house wore a dress, which had a fan behind! I loved seeing her walk, she was fat and she waddled behind her ducks, her fan swishing behind her and her ducks in front of her. Quack, quack, swish this side, swish that side…




Muthachan ignored me as he always did. The fact that I was a walking, growing replica of daddy helped!

“Are pigs bad?” I asked daddy. Two could play a game of ignoring. I ignored Muthachan too.

Daddy was sitting on the verandah with a generally bored air. Mom’s place was boring for him, he who was used to city life, television, friends and parties.

“Nothing is bad”, daddy the ever philosophical said.

Muthachan sniffed, “Lots of things are!”

He was listening on to the conversation with an apparent lack of interest. Daddy never contradicted him. I thought of a million rude replies…I wish daddy was smarter so that he could have retorted many a times! My help in this regard was never appreciated!

“Pigs are dirty animals” Muthachan said.

That’s when I think I began to love pigs. They were dirty and the fact that Muthachan didn’t like them won them a ticket to my loved list.

I wanted to be there when they brought in the pig. Hoisted on daddy’s shoulder, we went to ‘Mutta thazhathil’.

We didn’t tell Muthachan though. I loved daddy more because of things like this. He just understood that there wasn’t a point in telling everyone about some things!

We always made them uncomfortable, the people at ‘Mutta thazhathil’. They were in awe of us, though I never really understood why. The one time before I went there was when someone was ill and my grandma and mom went to see them, strict instructions from Muthachan not to eat or drink anything from there. I don’t know whether it was because of the instruction or because I really was thirsty, that I asked them for water.

My mom looked horrified. My grandma too. That’s when I realized that they looked quite alike.

I saw the other woman in the house, the daughter-in-law, open the side cupboard and take out a glass carefully. It was full of dust. She went and rinsed it I guess. She came back a while later holding a glass of crystal clear water carefully as if carrying a newborn baby. Where everything was of steel, they never used crystal and I guess mine was the first lip to ever touch them…

But they liked daddy. Everyone except Muthachan liked daddy! Pulling out cane chairs, they made us sit. Daddy asked them about their tapioca, the problem with the rats, the rubber and the yield, the rains… and soon we were eating hot tapioca in banana leaves with fish curry! I lifted the fish my plate quite gingerly and put it on daddy’s plate. There was a limit to friendliness and mine stopped with eating an animal!

But the hot tapioca that brought the out a faint flavor of the banana leaf I ate with relish. Another thing that we wouldn’t tell anyone. Secrets were nice… and I knew that I would share all my secrets with daddy. A trust like this from him deserved the same in return!

A bike pulled up in front of the house. There was excitement in the air. The son had come. In his hands he carried a black pig. That’s the first time I ever saw the animal that close. The three little pigs I’d read about were pink! This one was quite ugly and my heart went out to the squealing animal!



The children of the house ran out squealing too. The pig was then taken to its home. A pen that was surrounded by high walls.

We went back home. The pig had arrived.

Everyday I went with daddy to see the pig. It was quite bored actually. It slept most of the time. It ignored my interest totally. It ignored me, my calls and the bananas that I brought. But I faithfully went to see it everyday. The walls were quite high, walls from which tufts of grass grew, walls that were climbable!

I don’t know where daddy was. It was my daily time for the pig visit. I went looking for daddy. The pond where we bathed, daddy and me with a mug in hand because both of us didn’t know swimming! The stream where we sat and threw small pebbles… The cow shed where daddy never went… he wasn’t anywhere.

I walked slowly… my steps taking me to where I wanted to go. The pig. I stood outside the pen. The wall towered above me. I climbed the wall. After all I’d climbed a lot of trees!

Perched on the narrow wall, I looked out for my pig. It wasn’t anywhere to be seen. I craned forward. My second mistake, the first being I went pig seeing without daddy! Standing directly under me and in an unusual state of activity was the pig! I don’t know what he was trying to do, climb out of the pen maybe seeing that if I could climb almost inside, he could climb out!!! My legs shook. The pig snorted and grunted! Noises that made me terrified. My small plump legs shook I sat on the wall too scared to move! I sat there clutching the wall, my fingers digging into the mud wall… the pig stood directly under me looking all of a sudden quite scary. Would pigs eat children? Wolves did I’d read. I hoped fervently that fairy tales were true!

The brick I sat on was quite wobbly. I was sure I’d fall into the pen any moment. I gingerly moved myself to another brick. The pig too moved to stand directly beneath me!

I don’t know how long I sat there. What if no one missed me? I would just have to sit there forever I guess. Reason didn’t exist in my mind then. Morbid thoughts that were quite depressing hit me hard. I sat there staring morosely at the pig. Both of us quite alone. It was getting dark. Noises seemed louder than they were. I sat on waiting to be rescued… hoping to be rescued… I wanted daddy very badly all of a sudden! I was almost in tears… hot fat tears that threatened to well up any moment from my big brown eyes…

It was then that I saw him. My daddy. My tall wonderful daddy. He’s come looking for me!!! I knew he would, my pessimism of the last one-minute vanishing into air! I don’t know why I cried though… the tears that so long threatened to fall, fell now rapidly…



Daddy lifted me from the wall. I hugged him with all my might. He smiled and brushed my tears aside…

Sobbing I asked him, “Did you look for me at the pond?”

“No, I did not”

“At the stream?”

“No baby”

“At the cow shed”, I sobbed on.

“No”

“You knew I would be here?”

“Yes sweetheart”

M sobs increased. Hugging daddy fiercely I cried. Sobs that racked my small form. With relief. With happiness. He knew where I would be. He would always come looking for me…daddy would find me wherever I was… He would come…

15 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'M THE FIRST ONE TO POST A COMMENT!!! HIP HIP HIP HURRAY!

4:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm happy I found you...

4:38 AM  
Anonymous Illusionist said...

Black pigs, pink pigs, they all taste the same, it is the cook that matters.

The Pandi curry of the Coorgis is the best, it promises to be a gastronomic experience, and wash that down with a glass of rum on a cold madikeri night, and you would promise you have tasted it all.

5:46 AM  
Blogger Vijaychandran said...

Hey Pornima ..

How are u there . I gone through your blog I will tell u one thing that you got a very strong command on language...

The the next is there is lot of things you want to do in life ... My god you are damn energetic...

Then about the answer.. I am a megalomaniac I like it when things are really big and Armani is the brand which i like b cos of its power tag... And me next to me is really good ... So I liked it

Then i like the photos in ur blog..

I wish to know u more

6:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oi! I finally have to make moi request more public...
Plz Plz Plz do a blog on 'Singin' in the rain'....I have the ideas, but not the will to put this through...U, the experienced blogger could do it simply and easily.....
Plzzzz!!!
'Am Singin' in the rain,
Jus' singin' in the rain,
what a glorious feeling,
And I am happy again!'
Get the drift!! ;o)

6:27 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Fadia: I am happy you found me too!

Illusionist: Err... I am a vegetarian if you don't mind!

Vijay: I am fine. That's the only thing in your comment to which I can answer!!!!

Sharat(Anon): Sign your name! And yes- will do a photo blog for you on singing in the rain!

9:59 PM  
Blogger Kraz Arkin said...

Reminded me of two things - Thiruvalla and the Empress of Blandings.

12:00 AM  
Blogger hope and love said...

txs poornima..

1:13 AM  
Blogger Praveen said...

Chanced upon your blog, well written, i could understand the mallu words since I am one too :-)

3:49 AM  
Blogger arvindiyer said...

I ate like a PIG today...and wel I am a vegetarian too..(not really...but yea metaphysically) *mumbles gibberish* Metaphysically? Damn the Heat is gettin to me!!!!

5:09 AM  
Blogger manuscrypts said...

love the pig - pics connection :)

7:14 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Praveen: I feel inexplicably happy when I read English writings with a few Malalayam words scattered here and there...


Arvind: And you are in Banglore!!!!


Manu: What about the last one?

9:42 PM  
Blogger bindiya said...

*tears*

11:56 AM  
Anonymous flaashgordon said...

Awesome !

Loved the way you paint pictures with your words

The tragicomic sequence of you crying on the wall with the pig watching below was so poignantly captured.

Followed a trail of various blogs to reach urs.

Am not disappointed at all

cheers
flaash

3:11 AM  
Anonymous kerabyte said...

Please watch the movie "taken"

1:52 AM  

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