Monday, July 11, 2005

Arulappa Chettiyaar - Chapter 3

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

When Meenakshi and her husband moved to Chennai, Chettiyaar became more lonely. He would have died before admitting it, but it was true that except for the tirades and advices he forced on people he met, there was no one he could talk to. His wife was there, but they never talked like companions. His world narrowed; Meenakshi had always kept him updated on the town happenings, and now he no longer knew what was happening with Kothandam on the next street or Chandran and his wife at the other end of the town.

He became even more crabby, found more faults with everyone and had a perpetually disgruntled look on his face. It was during this time that tragedy struck. Chettiyaar amma was rammed by an angry bull when she was out gathering flowers for her daily prayer. She was knocked unconscious and rushed to the hospital. Her hipbone was broken and she became bedridden. She was laid on the cot near the central atrium and her days were spent watching the world from that spot. A local woman came to help her with daily activities and Chettiyaar, inspite of his sister's offer to help, took upon himself the duty of cooking. He enjoyed the activity actually.

After staying away for a few days, the neighborhood kids came to see ammaiyar. Chettiyaar would have none of it. He shooed them away saying that his wife needed her rest. Little did he know. For Malarvizhi ammaiyar, the kids filled the void left by her barren state. She came alive when she was with them. Being denied that pleasure affected her health adversely. Her appetite, already poor because of her bedridden state, got even worse. Chettiyaar scolded her, wanting her to get better. Although he was spouting invectives, eventually he realized what was bothering her. He told her that she could have them over, but he wouldn't have anything to do with it.

At first, none of the kids showed up, their fear of Chettiyaar was greater than their love for ammaiyaar. But she repeatedly sent her maid to invite them over and they finally relented. They came in meekly, like cats, watching the Chettiyaar out of the corner of their eyes. Chettiyaar grumbled a lot, but didn't budge out of his chair. The kids crowded around ammaiyar, taking care not to face Chettiyaar. They were subdued, not making any noise and listened as ammaiyar talked to them.

Encouraged, the kids starting turning up every afternoon. Chettiyaar, initially, ignored them completely. After a few days, his curiosity won over and he started to listen to their conversations. No mean task, since the kids barely whispered when he was around. One day, ammaiyar was telling the kids a mythological story from Shiva purana. Chettiyaar was listening, without seeming to, At one point, ammaiyar said something that irked Chettiyaar terribly. Before he realized it, he started giving his input, telling her she was doing it all wrong. Then, in his usual style, he proceeded to tell them his version of the puranas. The argument between the husband and wife brought an end to the day's story session.

The next day, before ammaiyar could start her story, Chettiyaar declared that he would do the honors, since ammaiyar had no clue about what she was talking and the kids needed to know the truth, and not half-baked ideas from a pseudo literate woman. The kids slowly got fascinated with the story, forgot their fears and crowded around Chettiyaar to hear the story better. The news spread through the town like wild fire. People refused to believe this. And then it happened. The kids were talking to ammaiyar after their story session with Chettiyaar, when an argument broke out between 2 boys. One of them called the other a coward and dared him to show otherwise. The challenge was to bestow a smacking kiss on the sleeping Chettiyaar's cheek.

A hushed silence fell as the kid took up the dare. He tiptoed to the Chettiyaar, smacked his cheek loudly and ran out of the house, as fast as he could, without waiting to see Chettiyaar's reaction. The neighbors heard the rumble and came running to see the cause. What they saw gave them the shock of their lives. The noise came from Chettiyaar's house. As his wife looked at him completely befuddled, Chettiyaar's face took an a new expression that no one had seen before. His lips widened, a twinkle in his eye, a rumble in his chest and then he threw his head back and started laughing uproariously.

(THE END)

12 comments:

Arvind said...

:-) Surprsing ending...imho - even though the build-up to the loosening chettiar's stiffness was subtle, i felt, it was may be a bit too sudden.

But having said that, a televised version, can make one connect with the characters accentuating the effect of loosening up :-)

Good work ! keep it up !

Munimma said...

A televised version, would take over 2 years to do this story ;-), optimally speaking

Kaps said...

Munimma,

Thanx 4 blogrolling me.

ioiio said...

Munimmaa..
This chettiar endha Golu'la vekka poareengo!!!

Arvind said...

Thanks for blogrolling me.

and 'A televised version, would take over 2 years to do this story ;-), optimally speaking '

adhu dhaan, you said, this is for people who miss metti oli :-))

Balaji said...

nice sweet story. movie buff that i am, the ending reminded me of the scene in 'nayagan' where the kid smears holi colors on Kamal :)

Munimma said...

ioiio, enga veetu golu la thaan, ithu enna kelvi? BTW, who is the guy next to you in your pic? ;-P

Thanks Balaji and Arvind.

Arvind said...

rotfl-ioiio :-))

Uppili said...

Chettiyaar suddenly became hyper and ran through the story in the 3rd chapter. I was expecting some Rajni style fighting (or THAT STUPID Maddy...;)) in the third chapter to save Meenakshi. But the story exquisitely described the Chettiyaar character.

Now everyone can wonder why the Chettiyaar really laughed in the end - sort of Mona Lisa Smile.

P.S. Are we going to see the same Chettiyaar now appearing in a new serial "Velusamy Goundar?"

Konjum seekiramaa sollipOdunga.. AppalE namakku velai vandhu pOdumungala...nerum kedaikaadhunga.

Munimma said...

uppili chettiyar, watch out, there are more Rajini fans than Maddy fans here. ;-)

ingaati vandhu ipdi kozhappareega, chettiyaaru chettiyaaru thaeen, Goundaru goundaru thaeen.

ioiio said...

Onnu Murattu kaalai..
Innonnu Manmadhan :))

Adhu ennoda MPD :)

Munimma said...

Anniyan, vanthathu thaan vanthathu aalaalukku MPDnu sollikkunu alaiyaraanga ;-) So the other one is TR Jr?