Monday, November 10, 2008

A GREETING FOR APPU – Part 2

Appukuttan or Appu, as he was more popularly known, was 10 years older than me but behaved as if he were a 6-7 year old. Since my primary school days he was my soulmate during the summer vacations, remaining with me like a shadow for these 2 months every year. It took me some maturity to learn the fact that Appu was not normal, that he was mentally retarded. But that did not deter me at all. Our bond grew stronger and stronger and stronger with every passing year. I had become used to that familiar stammered call of “Sssss…anndu” ( as Sandu was what he lovingly called me). Tucking up his lungi every now and then was his hallmark. His description is incomplete without the mention of the heavy Gandhian glass he wore. A constant source of worry for his father, a new pair of glasses would not survive more than a week. His father’s novel idea of tying a string around his neck attached to the glasses to prevent them from falling down wasn’t much of a help either. Yes, it did bring some improvement in the survival time of the glasses. Appu was a staunch believer of cleanliness. Just a speck of dust on his glasses, and he would give them a nice wipe with his lungi. In this way he ended cleaning up his glasses nearly 35-40 times a day. So thorough was the wipe he gave them that many a time while cleaning the glasses, the glasses would succeed in finding their way out of the frame that seemed to imprison them.

The next moment I realized that I was laughing my heart out and Vasu, the cart owner was giving me an amusing look. “Saar! Bet you just saw a very nice dream, didn’t you?”. “ No Vasu” , I replied, “Just remembered my good old Krishnapuram days. Those 2 month summer vacations every year when this place was my heavenly abode. By the way, anything new in Krishnapuram? What about the Bhagawathi temple?”. Vasu answered in a sad tone, “That temple’s now in ruins saar. After Unni Namboothiri’s untimely demise 5 years back, the temple has had no caretaker. Even the suspension bridge to the temple is in a very bad state. Every year the politicians pledge to repair the whole thing but do a disappearing act after the elections. Even the public is not interested saar. The world is definitely going to end soon, with the people having no time to spare for their creator. Oh God!! Please forgive. Shiva, Shiva.”

The cart was speeding its way through the jungle. I felt sorry for the state of the temple. The good old Bhagawathi temple on the other side of the swaying suspension bridge, poised on top of a pinnacle like hillock that seemed to soar out of the swirling waters. We would sit there for hours over viewing the beauties of nature. I used to luxuriate there in the gentle pace of unhurried activity engulfed in an enlightening divine feeling. Here, overlooking the land which celebrates the bounty of nature with a riot of vegetation, I relaxed and contemplated the seconds as they ticked by. Sailing with Appu across the Bharatapuzha river which kissed Krishnapuram was like drifting into a mysterious world untouched by time. Our days used to start with a bath in the river, often accompanied by my father. Ever heard of someone taking a tumbler along to the river for a bath? That was me, as I didn’t know to swim and neither did Appu. But that did not deter us from going to the river for a bath. We would set about with a professional swimmer like stature. Villagers would enquire where the Siamese twins (villagers gave us this name) were heading for and Appu would give them a prompt reply, “To the river to have a bath. Ssss…andu is too scared to go all alone you see. Moreover he doesn’t know swimming as well.” As if he himself was a born swimmer. The villagers would giggle at his reply and I too couldn’t help giving a faint smile. Once near the river bank we would just go knee deep into the waters as we knew our limitations and then use to exchange turns to use the tumbler, with the river serving as a bucket for us. Appu would often treat me with a soda at Renjith’s store where his father had opened him an account in his name. Appu was a complete movie buff. Sometimes even I would doubt on his mental status when I would hear him delivering dialogues from each and every movie he had seen till date. Appu was my soulmate and I would confide in him everything. He would be really concerned to hear my problems. No one could break our friendship; no one could take us apart.

To be continued...

18 comments:

Priyanka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandeep Balan said...

@priyanka

yey!! Yey!! Yey!! Congos.....congos on getting here first....appu is also happy to see u here....see....he is saying hiiii...this is twin appu...thanx for the encouragement yaar...its like....come what may, u r always there....egging me on....
N yaaa....kerala is way too beautiful....thts why its called gods own country....mountains, beaches, backwaters, hill stations....it has everything....come down someday

Usha Pisharody said...

Woah! Beautiful again!! And Hi Appu! Enthokke undu vishesham? Oops, sherikkum parijayapettitilla, alle? Samayamaavatte tto..? Sandeep is taking a bit of time to get you here; I wonder if he'z just a bit envious, lol!!

Sandeep! If only I could write like this:) The fluent expression, yet not compromising on detail, and yet again having us all captured by the vivid description and the ambiance, again! Great job, so far.. :)

I know the best is yet to come, so will wait for it :)

vrinda said...

its like this lovely walk down old days...where u associate all gud things with wat u refer to as "naadu"....
waiting to see how appu n sandu make a story togethr....u've caught my attention completly...pls dont keep me waiting too much....

Sandeep Balan said...

@usha

woah!! Thanx again!! Appu is blushing...say hiiii daa...yup..he is waving....sugam thanne ushe...njaan ketutundu ushe ne pattitu...parijayapedende avishyam illa...inikkyu ariyaam nanaayittu...n yaa...u got it right...sandeep is perhaps envious of my instant camaraderie with the female crowd on his blog...i have become the limelight naa..he he...what to do...i have such charismatic personality...sandeep can never match up to that...alle?

Oh Usha....coming from you it means a lot. Everytime i read your rants, i wish i could express myself in such few words. We are forming a mutual admiration society here..he he...if you say i have captured the minute details, i am sure i have done so. You should know better. I have never edited this story since i wrote it long long ago....around 10 years back. Its way too close to my heart. Hope i dont disappoint you in the continuation of this story daa...cheers!

Wont keep you waiting for long ;)

Sandeep Balan said...

@vrinda

hey..hey...hey...welcome to my world vrinda....great to have someone as talented as you drop in to comment...thanx a ton...i wont keep you waiting...you have my word for it ;-)

Harshita said...

that was such a beautiful piece of writing to read...

You rock!!

Ani said...

awwww appu is sooo cute..

i should agree with usha.. hehe sandy is just jealous of u appu.. saram illa.. inni thotta kannam namak..

i loved the pics man.. felt as if i was back home.. awwww now am missing home even badly.. sob sob.. :(

cant wait for the next part.. plz add more pics if u can okk.. :)

Sandeep Balan said...

@harshita

ohhh...thanx a ton...rock on!! he he...keep coming back...

Sandeep Balan said...

@ani

awwwwwwww...*blushes*...appu here...snatched the keyboard from sandu...wow! no girl has ever called me cute...feels so good....my friends here in krishnapuram would all be jealous of my female fans...yipppeee...even sandeep is jealous...am on top of this world...

aniiiii...great to know that you liked the post n the pics...see i transported you to kerala without you having to shell out the air fare...he he....will try my level best to add more pics to the next part....cheers!!

Ani said...

hehe weelll u r a cutttiieee piee.. hehe so sandy is jealous.. lol.. didnt know he would be oh well.. thts how ppl are..lol :P


yup please do try to include more pics if u can.. it will be lovelyy.. thank u :)

Sandeep Balan said...

@ani

Aniiiiiiiiii....appu here...thaaaaaaaank u....thaaaaaaaaaank u....inikkyu parayaan vaakukal illa....sandhoshamaayi....daa mone sandeepe....poooo mone dineshaa....savari giri giri....yey!!

sure daa...more pics...hmmmm...ur wish, my command! I hv to do these things to impress u see....nt a cutie pie like appu naa....he he...

Kartz said...

I must say... Your descriptions are so vivid. Bravo...

mona said...

hey appu's so damn cute... i would love to have a friend like him... and yes... i clean my glasses 40 times a day too..lolzzzz....

d childhood friendship has been so amazingly an innocently described... truly these memories can last a man his entire lifetime... childhood mates are the sweetest of all...

n d description is so endearing.. i shud blame u for making me helplessly want to visit kerala now...

once again... a rich read... loved it...cheers!!!

Tara said...

Beautiful again! Very well described, the story goes on at a good pace, along with a beautiful and graphical description! Hello Appu! Sukhamano?

Really Sandeep, very well written, as endearing and heart warming as ever! Wish I had such magic in my fingers...! There's something about your writing, I can't quite pinpoint, which makes it a delight for the readers! Truly!

Enikku Appu venum! Looking forward to meet Appu, vegamakatte Vasu!

Priyanka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Another Blogger said...

i love your style.
i love the way you take your reader to places they have never been

you have a new follower!

RINZU SUSAN RAJAN said...

u know i love reading ur posts coz of two main reasons...

one is the imagery of kerala and the second reason is the way u infuse humor into ur writes...

appus character was described really well...

:D

keep writing