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BALL BLOODY


“What’s wrong?” wondered Hari, sitting on a bench in his verandah, as he saw the boys come running like mad from the temple. They seemed to be shit scared and fleeing from something.

Akil, breathless, reached first.

“He is unconscious …is Raju! He said in frenzied excitement.

“The ball…blood…ball” he said incoherently, in shock and out of breath.
***
Just about an hour earlier, some village elders had chided some of the young mothers for allowing their children to play cricket in the temple backyard.

As the women wrung their hands to express helplessness, one of the elders shook his head in strong disapproval, “You ought to know that it is not advisable to be in the backyard after 6pm…spirits might be roaming…you know.”

“We do tell them, but they simply ignore us, saying that the place is quite spacious and ideal for cricket,’ said one.

“Do you still believe this trash?” asked another.

The villager just gave her a contemptuous look and told the ladies, “There have been some disturbing incidents before, don’t wanna scare you with old stories. Just take care.”
***
When Raju finally opened his eyes, he was still sobbing and shivering.

His mom was sobbing, but the villagers were kind, patiently waiting for him to recover.

“I…I…hit the ball, it fell into the old woman’s basket…”

His voice trailed off into sobs again.

“Woman? Who? What woman?”

As the villagers’ anxiety mounted, another lad took over.

“Raju was batting- when he hit the ball, it flew high and right into a basket… a vegetable basket or something carried on the head by a strange woman.”

“Never seen the woman before in this village,” he murmured.

While the elders exchanged meaningful glances, Akil added, “She bent down, reached for the ball and threw it right back. Raju who happened to go for a run, was near to her and hence couldn’t see the thrown ball.”

He shuddered, “The ball was smeared with blood!”

“Okay, but why did  Raju fall unconscious if he didn’t see the ball?” asked his mom, after all the gasping subsided.

As the boys shrugged their ignorance, Raju, now a bit composed, said, “I saw this head in her basket… this bloodied head of a familiar person, can’t say who…when she bent down.”

Before this horror could sink into the consciousness of the terrified villagers, the village postmaster came running.

“A terrible thing has happened. Our postman has been run over by a train…his head is severed.”


 






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LINGUA-WOES

A Tamil gentleman nearly got clobbered when he appreciated the food served for lunch at his Telugu friend’s place.

The poor guy innocently said ‘Pramadham’ which means ‘Excellent’ in Tamil, but unfortunately means ‘Danger’ in Telugu!

‘Tamasha’ means ‘light stuff’, ‘Comedy’ etc in Malayalam, but beware if you use it flippantly with the Hindi speaking people.

Indiscreet use of this word- which means a street dance or something in Hindi- is not received kindly by them.

The simple word ‘Avasar’- which also is a Sanskrit root word- means ‘Occasion’ in Hindi; ‘Avasaram’ means ‘Requirement’ in Telugu; ‘Opportunity’ in Malayalam and ‘Hurry’ in Tamil!

There must of course be several such examples in the various languages ‘spooken’ in our delightful India.




RIGHT WRONG

Seeing her eyes glow in excitement,
Obviously though she has it all wrong,
I rush to grab the correction opportunity,

Till I have another look at the gleam in her eyes.

Hell, I think, let me be wrong a hundred times over,
If only to preserve that glorious joy,

Rather than prove her wrong
And watch her enthusiasm wither.

THULABARAM

There is, in the Lord's Abode in Guruvayoor,
A common balance for weighment of offerings.

It's called Thulabaram.

Only, it is anything but common.

A priest there is entrusted the task
Of weighing the offerings you committed
To Lord Krishna.

It may be a few kilos of some vegetable
Or fruit, grains or sugar or what you will.


But it got to be necessarily what you committed!

For,

Have seen with my own eyes
The priest struggling to weigh
A couple of kilos or maybe three
Of a certain vegetable, think it was yam.

But it simply wouldn't balance, though he
Kept on heaping the yam on it!

Then, on the priest's asking,
The devotee said he had thought
Of a different vegetable, maybe raw banana,

But had settled for yam since he couldn't
Get the banana.

The priest quickly removed the yam
Asked the devotee to be back
With the vegetable committed!

Only then, the priest said with conviction,

The weighment would happen.