Monday, May 29, 2006

The curse

"Ananth!" His uncle Padmanabham cried aloud!
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Eight year old Ananth was becoming unruly by the day. His eating and sleeping habits were never proper anyway. His handling of things at home had gone from bad to worse... a chinaware or a glass piece broken once too often these days, and his respect for elders was not worthy of mention at all... He was living in his own world.

Last week, his grandfather finally bought the tricyle that Ananth had been clamouring for. Alas! He didnt ride it even once. He was often seen sitting on the tricyle with the tricyle upside down, and peddling the front wheel with hands though! And after just three days, he came into the kitchen grinning, sporting a wheel of the tricycle in his hands. And then there was the crockery disaster when he wasnt allowed to watch his favourite mythological because they had to attend a wedding.

But what happened just now was the worst. His maternal uncle Padmanabham had just come to their home. He was very fond of Ananth, and used to turn a blind eye to the complaints of Ananth's mother. He understood Ananth like no one else. While this complaining was going on (as usual), Ananth opened his uncle's briefcase and started rummaging about. He found an alluring object-- a paperweight with some colourful gluey liquid within. It held its attention more than it should.

"What is this Vasudha! Your son has almost killed me!". At their doorstep was the colony's recognised Homoeopathy doctor Mr.Murthy, visibly shaken. He was an old man with a bald head. Mesmerised by the paperweight, Ananth wanted to put it to good use. On the road, he saw the bald head of Dr.Murthy being transported by his legs., which had been an object of his curiosity since long. Here was an opportunity to experiment...

How important can a tiny pebble on the road be? A life-saver if you ask Dr.Murthy, especially if you are fortunate enough to have it stuck in your foot and you bend a just little forward to have a look, just when an impish kid hurls a monstrous paper-weight right at your head. Ananth was disapoointed to miss this platinum opportunity. The doctor was sent home after due apologies and assurances.
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"Ananth!" His uncle Padmanabham cried aloud! He walked towards a shamelessly beaming Ananth and stood in front of him, menacingly tall. Ananth was uncertain what was going to happen.
"Ananth, you have been a very hard kid of late. I cannot let you go on like this. I have to punish you." Ananth gulped. This was going from bad to worse. But he could still handle those traditional punishments--- pinches, beatings et al., so he was still cool.
" I know your parents have tried all kinds of punishments to straighten you. But I know all this will not work. You need a stricter punishment not only to set you right, but also to set an example to other kids". This was getting wierder and wierder! He was actually getting a little scared now as he saw his uncle take a little water from a glass into his right palm...
"So here is my punishment. Ananth! I have decided to lay a curse upon you for your entire life." By this time, Ananth was totally scared. Raising his voice, his uncle said the following words--
"Calling as witnesses all the eight directions, the four vedas, the five elements, and the six seasons, I curse you to be unstable throughout your life, to be disliked by all throughout your life, to bring bad name to you and your parents throughout your life, to be sad and miserable throughout your life".
And he sprinkled the cursed water on a pertified Ananth's face. Little Ananth was crushed. He was gaping stupidly at his uncle.

It took some time for the facts to sink in. After that, tears had no problem in manifesting themselves.
"Amma!" went up the howl. His mother was watching all of this. "Uncle has cursed me. He has even mentioned the eight directions." It was tough not to laugh, but she held on to her stern face. He was told by his mother while they were watching one of those mythologicals that Oaths and curses have double the effect when 'the eight directions' are mentioned.
"Ananth! You have not be a good boy of late. You have hurt many people who love you. Yama's accountant Chitragupta has detailed accounts of each person. He has punished you in the form of this curse. I cannot help you."

Ananth was crushed. All his short life, he had been living according to his own will, never listening to anyone. And now, he was beginning to realise how wrong he was. How much hurt was caused due to him. Alas that it was too late. He was destined to lead a lowly life.

When Ananth's father came home from work, Ananth was not there to greet him. Nor was he seen at the supper. He couldnt control his laughter when he was told happened. But he knew what whatever happened, will change Ananth for the better.

Late in the night, his mother came to his room. He was lying sideways on his bed, his pink tender cheeks still moist with tears. She sat beside him and began stroking his hair with the tips of her fingers.
"Amma!" he uttered and hugged her tightly, and began crying again.

After consoling him a bit, she said, "You know, I had been to the temple this evening. I was talking to Pujari thatha. I think he has some information that might interest you."
"I dont want any information. My life is a waste anyway." Ananth lamented.
"Listen. Your uncle, in his anger has forgotten to mention 'The Nine Planets' in his curse."
"So? Isnt it enough that the eight directions are mentioned?"
"Pujari thatha was telling me that 'the Nine planets' are far more powerful than 'the eight directions'. If you dont mention them in Kali-Yuga, the curse is not that powerful."
"Really??'
"And you can actually defeat the ill-effects of the curse"
"Ohh!" He was a happy amalgam of relief and happiness. "But how?"
"Very simple. By doing exactly opposite to what the curse said. You should learn to be stable, to be liked by all, to bring a good name to your parents, and to be happy. Thats it!"
"Thats it?"
"Yes! And you must listen to your parents."
"Ok Amma! I will do whatever you say" He was totally acquiescent now. He was beaming like never before. he was on seventh heaven. His life, it seemed, was given back to him. He wanted to start afresh.
"You can start off by having your supper now."
He jumped upon her and she carried him off to the kitchen for a quick late night meal.

4 comments:

yadbhavishya said...

Nice one on the lines of your 'A Very Small Story'

The paper-weight flip is so very 'Budugu'.

In the days of He-Man and Ramayan, we used to have our own customised spells to go with our arrows. (Like "NAgAsthrAyanamaha")

They should beat the opponent one, you see.

Gandaragolaka said...

the paper-weight is a real story (it was a stone) ... so is the tricycle story...

Ragz said...

Super!!!!!

Thiagarajan said...

Good narration!!!