The cart shook a little and came to an abrupt stop. “Saar! Krishnapuram Ethi (Krishnapuram has come)”. I alighted and after paying off Vasu headed for our ancestral home. I was overwhelmed by the pompous reception I received from my cousins and other relatives. Delicious lunch was lined up for me. Relatives squared up to have a glimpse of me, to hear about everyone back home.
By evening my arrival phenomenon seemed to fade out and I slipped out of the house under the pretext of taking a bath. I walked along the mud road, had a view of the overflowing river and the temple ruins, and took a shortcut along the fields to Appu’s house. I walked straight into the backyard of Appu’s house, my eyes searching for him. There he was…..my dearest friend Appu, but not in his usual bubbly self overflowing with enthusiasm.
He was eerily silent, lying still inside a large mound of mud with a few flowers by where his head was supposed to be. My dearest friend Appu, buried there. My feet suddenly gave away and I embraced the mound, letting out a loud wail, tears swelling in my eyes. The news of his death last year, when I was in my final year of engineering, had come as a big shock and hit me hard.
Our very own Bharatapuzha river had swept him along on one of his bathing sprees, taking Appu with her on the embarkment of an eternal journey.
I could not stop crying for the months to follow at the thought of loosing my dearest friend. But gradually, I began to feel that an angel form heaven was always by my side, ushering me to go and get everything under the sky with that usual stammered call of his, “Ssss…..andu, Go, Get it !!”. I placed the new year card by his side, looked up towards the sky, as I knew that Appu was up there, and whispered to the winds, “HAPPY NEW YEAR,APPU. I REALLY MISS U DA!!”
The setting sun was painting the sky with a flourish of gold and red. I had a strong feeling that Appu was welcoming me back to Krishnapuram. I listened to the symphony of the water lapping against the hull of the boat. Like a miser, I clung desperately to the moment. It was late into the night when I got back home, blew out the hurricane lantern and surrendered to the bed.