Sunday, April 26, 2009

The nomad's prediction

Ramalingam was a worried man these days. The condition of his wife who was ailing with a serious heart complaint for some years had deteriorated suddenly. She had difficulty in breathing and was unable to exert even a little. The doctors had said that nothing could be done to arrest her progressively worsening condition and that she should just manage with medicines and rest as long as possible.Ramalingam and his wife were aware though they never spoke about it that the end was not very far, may be a year or two or even less. They were living alone in their flat with their sons living abroad. Ramalingam spent long hours daily praying to God to give her long life. They were a loving couple and were averse to living with their sons in foreign countries.
It was one early morning around 5am they heard a kudukudupandi (a gypsy like tribe) at some distance on the road making a loud noise with his rattle (udukkai). These gypsies are generally attired in black coat like a sherwani often tattered and stitched at several places with dozens of small bits of clothes in different colours on their shoulder. They have a big red dot above a black line drawn with a khajal between the eyes. They generally sport a long mustache. They follow the rattling with predictions of the events likely to befall to some of the residents of the small street. He invoked frequently the names of Demi goddesses “Oh Jakkamma, Oh Makkali, Oh Bhagwati.”.The couple who were fully awake trembled with fear as they heard the approaching kudukudupandi.They pretended however to be asleep with their eyes closed each wanting the other not to hear the forecast. Although afraid of any adverse tidings, they still could not resist the temptation to listen. They waited for him to approach near their apartment. They sharpened their ears to listen to the predictions with rapt attention. As he came near, there was a brief silence followed by a long rattling of the udukkai before making general statements of good times to come (Nalla kalam pirakkudhu) for the residents before turning to specifics. He said one prince will be born to a girl within a week, one man will turn a sanyasin and runaway from the house and one death of a female will occur within three days in the vicinity. Usually superstitious people were afraid of this tribe as what they said usually occurred. Their life style was shrouded in mystery and what they did during the day was unknown. It was believed they spent the nights in burial grounds doing occult practices to gain the skill to predict correctly. They usually come again after the day break and collect alms from the households. Most people out of fear that he would curse never refuse and even turn generous giving away old clothes beside rice and money.
Ramalingam and his wife unknown to each other listened to the prediction of the imminent death of a female. Both never spoke about it to the other though anxiety and fear was writ large on their faces.Ramalingam did puja that day for longer period and went to a Ganesh temple nearby. The old lady knew that her end was near but was unwilling to leave her husband alone. She knew his adamant nature and aversion to stay with sons. That night she heard dogs bark incessantly, not a good sign, as dogs have the powers to see Yamadhuthas and ghosts. This accentuated her fear. Ramalingam made discreet enquiries about an old woman in the adjacent complex who was unwell with typhoid. To his dismay he heard that she had recovered well.The second night the lady had a dream of ugly and grotesque faces that were scary. She remembered her grandma telling that such faces appear prior to death signifying the awaiting hell. She also spent the day in silence and prayer very much like her husband. In the evening she gently told him that if anything were to happen to her, he must not stand on false prestige and live alone. He chided her asking her not to talk rubbish and that she would live longer than him. She fell silent thereafter.
It was the third night. Both could not sleep. He put his arm around her as they were sleeping. She snuggled close to him. There was an amalgam of apprehension love, concern, warmth, and gratitude in those moments. The night passed away smoothly with nothing untoward happening.
It was 6 am. A greatly relieved Ramalingam hurried to get milk from the milkman in the adjacent compound to make hot coffee for his dear wife. When he neared the shed, he heard a loud wail of the milkman’s wife and milkman. It transpired that one of the cows had died the previous night while giving delivery to a calf. The nomad’s prediction has after all come true.


  1. A sigh of relief!!! am happy for the old couple.. hats off to your narration!! the story was a very good one! leaves a smile in the end.. those couples are so lucky to share such a sweet relation!.. truly hard to find these days.

    loved it!! loved the narration and love that suspense too!.. :)

  2. Aaaah, as I expected anti-climax...was wondering how you're planning to finish! Thats a nice one. Keep roking!!

  3. a nice story and as malar gandhi said, i was to know how u finish it, but speaking frankly, it ended well but lost that emotional thing that was in the beginnging at the end, the end leaves a smile, though, somewhere something,....

  4. ohhh now you really leaving wondering how you draw inspiration to come all these imagination come alive ...

    if it is an occasinal happening i could understand, but you are at it every other day.. wow sir!!

    those two many not able to sleep, but this should give you a sound sleep! :-)

    there is one dream as well .. ehem!!

  5. A very nice narration, your latest stories with a twist at the end are very nice to read, and they always lighten the mood and brings a smile :)

  6. Nice twist with a happy ending!!!

  7. I was hoping the end would not be the one I feared. Though I feel sorry for the cow I am happy it was not the lady. This story seemed very close to my heart and I am relieved it had a happy ending. Nicely written.

  8. thats right sir ...

    i m just wondering if you were able to recieve the update on your blog ..
    it looks like there is some technical problem that makes my blog not to update on ohers'

    i need help to fix it, i have been trying differnt methods .. looks like i am still far away from the point!! any idea?

  9. Ah! Great...truly great. The narration was really gripping. The 'supposed' last night made me emotional.

    You really have a way to end the stories on a positive note sir... I like it :)