Friday, June 16, 2006

Sugar "Cane"

Here is the sugarcane story I wanted to write yesterday.

Abdul Samad was my good friend and roommate while I was in Thrissur briefly. Since his dad passed away, he was raised mostly by his tough disciplinarian mother who wanted him to be as meticulous and thorough as her. Even after his body showed clear signs of burgeoning adolescence she would shout at him for the smallest mistakes he made, and whacked his skinny ass when he misbehaved. But the genius worked meticulously and thoroughly to be quite the opposite of what his mother wanted him to be.

He took me home one day, and on our way to Wadakanchery, his home town, he warned me one last time about his hot tempered stickler mother. When we reached home, I found stacks of sugarcane all over the place. He explained to me that they had a small sugarcane farm and they sold the produce to a local co-operative run by a Brahmin priest they called ‘Saanthi’ (priest). As we entered the verandah his mother came out to greet us. She was a sweet, kind woman quite contrary to the mental image I had formed of her. She laughed like wind-chimes and talked like a drill sergeant. But she was loving and affectionate and seemed to enjoy my company.

The next morning, after a solid breakfast complete with pathiri, mutton curry and a tall glass of buffalo milk (mixed with the sweetest sugarcane juice I ever had), Samad and I sat down to watch a cricket match. A moment later his mother called out to him and asked him to deliver some sugarcane stacks to the co-operative, since the saanthi who usually came to pick those up could not make his rounds that day. Samad, fully immersed in the match did not hear what she said. She waited for a minute and then came into the room turned off the TV and shouted at him like a feverish subaidar . I was stunned. After she left, he looked at me embarrassed, and then as if nothing had happened turned the TV on. She shouted from the kitchen once again at my friend who was still watching TV completely oblivious of his responsibility.
“I will go in a minute” he replied - which turned out to be the wrong thing to say to her at that time. She stormed into the room, pulled out a sugar cane stick from the stack and swung a nice square drive that landed neatly near his biceps. He let out a weird cry, and shot up like a spring. “GO RIGHT NOW” she ordered, drawing back for another drive. Poor guy, he turned off the TV, picked up the stack, loaded in his bicycle and disappeared in no time, only leaving a cloud of frightened dust behind him.

I was scared stiff. I feared that she would take aim at me next. But instead she looked at me affectionately and said “kutti kandoloo” (“son, you can watch”). When Samad came back home he had a nice pink welt on his arm from the batting, which looked like the co-operative saanthi’s trademark vibhoothi that he always smeared in his arms.
“Umma” he called his mother “Look at my hand, you made me a saanthi (priest)” .
“Yes” she shouted between the clatter in her kitchen. ”Don’t think you are too smart. If you ignore me ever again, I will promote you to a mel-saathi(senior priest)

She meant that, too.


Blogger Injikadan Mathai said...

that was an interesting read...sweet memories (hmm should i really say sweet????)...hehehehe

9:14 PM  
Anonymous S.Thiruvenkadam said...

Thanks for rekindling my Samad/Wadakkanchery memory.He was a character. I lost touch with him since we left college.

You must write about our Josettan experiences
- Josettan
- Josettan's wife (nurse Sofi)
- Krishna Ladies Lodge
- Diwali @ Krishna Lodge
- The Pentacostal chef who took us for a ride
- Roshen
- The guy who cheated us (Thattu Kada)

There are around 30 daily readers of your blog from our class mailing list :) The Samad story generated a huge thread :)

- Thiru

3:52 PM  
Blogger Injikadan Mathai said...

wow..byju chetta..i think u should start a log... memoirs and reminicences..it would be so much fun to read..

5:17 PM  
Blogger Bhagya said...

Did you move a millimeter after the twister? How did you dare to sit for another minute.. must have been the shock LOL

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your site is on top of my favourites - Great work I like it.

12:32 PM  

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