Manickam in his early sixties had a small grocery shop in a place that was little bigger than a village and smaller than a town.Leading a contented life with wife, children and grand children, his life was smooth till one day the side of a passing vehicle hit him and left him unconscious on the road.The passersby took him to a public health centre.It was a small clinic and boasted of a nurse and a junior doctor but not equipped to deal with emergencies..Luckily both were there.There was no external injury.He did not respond to doctor's several attempts.The injury could have been an internal one with an haemorrhage possibly.The doctor after careful examination of blood pressure, the heart beats and his pupils using torchlight, pronounced him dead.The nearest big hospital was 20 miles away.The family saw no benefit in taking him that far after the doctor’s findings and took him home for preparing his final departure.
The arrangements for his funeral were underway.The priest was awaited.Some close relatives from nearby villages and towns had informed of their coming and had asked them to wait.The body was laid in the front hall and covered by a white bedsheet.The wife was shattered at the unexpected tragedy and was inconsolable.So were his son and daughters.A burning lamp was kept near his head and the fan switched off.It was a gloomy atmosphere heightened by the wails of the bereaved relatives and muted murmurs of those assembled.One grandson about ten years old who was very much attached to his grand father sat close to him and was sobbing .
There was suddenly a shout from him” I see thatha’s hand shaking.I saw it happening twice”
Someone said “The boy is imagining.How can a man dead for nearly 8 hours be alive”
But everybody’s eyes were rivetted on the Manickam’s body.Someone from the other side said “I also noticed a faint movement of the bedsheet on his left hand side”
This set the whole crowd alert and all eyes were on the dead man’s body.When there was a distinct movement of the bedsheet on right side, someone pointed out”Even the fan is not on.It cannot be movement by breeze.This needs to be checked.” Some one in the crowd let a cry of terror at the unnatural movement of dead man’s limbs.
Luckily at that time the doctor of the clinic who was a neighbour arrived for the funeral.His arrival appeared god sent.When this new development was hurriedly mentioned, he sent someone to fetch his bag.Meanwhile he went close to body and checked the old man’s eyes that were half open.He wished to make doubly sure and wanted to check the pulse and heart beats.He asked the son to remove the bedsheet that covered the body.
When this was done a small mouse that had got entrapped in the bundle ran out for its freedom.There was a loud laughter from all totally out of joint with the grim situation in the house.Having come the doctor carefully checked again with his instruments.He felt by straining his ears that he heard a faint trace of heart beat.Someone’s’ car was readily there.Not wanting to miss a chance to save his life the man was rushed along with doctor to the hospital in the next town.
It is a matter still talked about with relish in the village that the ‘dead’ man came alive after emergency treatment at the hospital and after a couple of days sent back home.There was a total agreement amongst the village folks that since neither the funeral rites had commenced nor was he taken to the burial ground, he was not technically dead and that it was in order for the old man to enter the house and live there.
The grandson gloated that but for him his grandpa would have been cremated.But grandmother firmly believed that the little mouse was evidently sent by Lord Ganesh in answer to her prayers to draw everyone’s attention and save her husband’s life...