Here is one story from Meera, a fellow blogger from WP. I am sure those who enjoy my stories will enjoy Meera’s writing too…
I do not remember the exact date but it was the first week of October, 2010, a week that would portent two things the loss of a job and almost dear life itself.
As, I got the breaking news at work about my job, I never thought it would be this back breaking. The next day, woke up to a slight muscular spasm in my lower back, and thought, would attend to it, as soon as I got fit enough to ride my scooter to the doctor.
I reached him, and as usual, like other earlier visits that had a frequency of a couple of months, I waited for him to prescribe his injection of paracetamol to relieve the pain, as I was allergic to other pain killers.
I had the injection from the nurse, and reached home in a matter of minutes by around 12 noon. No one was at home, as the kids and my wife were at school. But within a few moments, feeling uneasy, and as I could gauge certain symptoms, I knew something had gone wrong with the drug that was injected. My throat went dry, the tongue was getting stuck, and I had difficulty breathing, which was increasing by the minute. The eyelids started swelling, and I knew, by the way it was developing it would be a close call. I looked at the mirror and open my mouth to see the epiglottis having swollen twice its size.
I immediately called the clinic and told the nurse of my symptoms, they asked me to come right away. I gulped down 3 glasses of water, as that was the only thing I could do at that point of time to dilute the effects of the allergy. Now I had to call Soni, the rickshaw driver, whom I used to call whenever such medical or other errands came. Now Soni operates from the Cochin Special Economic Zone, Auto station, which is at a distance of 3 minutes running time from my home for an auto rickshaw. But rarely he is seen at the stand, as his log book is always full with his committed customers, who book him for days in advance. 90 percent of the time when someone calls him, he is already transporting somebody else.
I had only his number at that time and I called him, and as usual, he picked my phone. In those days and even now he doesn’t know me by name, but would recognize me by my voice and location. I told him who i was, and the urgency in my call, prodded him to rush to my place wherever he was at that time.
Within a minute or more, he was at my doorstep, and the sight of his rickshaw was like a chariot sent by the gods. We did not talk much, as every minute was precious. A look at my face, and he knew it was serious and there was no time for pleasantries to be exchanged.
We reached the clinic in another 5 minutes, and I could barely see the door what with my swollen eyes that were almost shut and enter inside without bumping into the wall. My back was paining now because of my acute wheezing, the regular back pain having gone long back. Soni asked me, if he should wait for me, when I parted with him, but I asked him to move on, since I was now in safe hands, and it could take some time before they would allow me to go this time.
The nurse, who had injected me earlier, though for no fault of hers, guided me to the patient bed, where the doctor was issuing instructions to another nurse as to what antidotes had to be injected into me this time, with him to do it personally. Normally, I used to remind my doctor of my allergic condition, and on that day, both of us forgot, but within moments, we both were reminded, how important it was to remember such things.
After 2 vials of antidotes, I was tied down for another 3 hours, before I called my wife, and she was able to pick me up. If not for Soni and his presence of mind that day, I would not have been writing to you today…
P.S : Soni is still seen ferrying passengers and sometimes us as the year 2018 comes to a close. I wish all my dear readers the very best in the New Year.
As per Wisdom Library: Kadalī (कदली) is a Sanskrit word referring to “Banana”, a hybrid-species of trees from the Musaceae family, native to the tropics of Africa and Asia, and is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Caraka-saṃhitā. The equivalent name in the Prakrit language is kelī, and is Hindi it is known as kelā.
Hope you enjoy this Kadali Tale laced with karma…
Reghu chanced upon a small cottage while on the run away from the nearby Chartusra city and in his travails, hungry and famished and with a bag laden with stolen valuables, the robber makes his arrival known to the inmates by coughing and gasping at their door. Vedha, the small time jeweller traded in his jewellery which was made at the cottage with Bhanu, his helping hand welcomed the tired robber not knowing his exact credentials. On inquiring as to why he looked so tired and out of breath, he said he was a trader from Chartusra and had been followed by robbers while coming this way to Patali, the port city, the same place where Vedha used to sell his home made jewellery.
Reghu was welcomed as a guest and was told, he could stay for a few days before he could gain enough strength to go to Patali. One day Reghu’s eyes fell upon the golden bunch of 4 Kadali kept in front of the Lord and worshiped by Sree, Vedha’s wife, Reghu was thinking of adding it to his collection. The old caretaker and help, Bhanu to whom Sree was just like a daughter took good care of them all. Bhanu was not happy about Reghu but Vedha dismissed his fears and allowed Reghu to stay. With stolen silver and gold coins he impressed upon the jeweller to make a replica of the Kadali saying it would fetch him a good price at Patali. The jeweller obliged and took a week before finishing one, an exact replica of the one which he had made earlier on Sree’s request.
Once the work was completed and Reghu getting impatient and tired of the stay with the lovely couple, one day kills them and flees but not before taking the work in progress jewels and the two Kadali bunch. After walking for two days and night he came across a plain land with not much human habitation near a placid river. As dusk was approaching he thought of burying the 2 golden priceless Kadali. He chose one huge old jack-fruit tree to bury one near it. As he was in the process, a fearful spirit came down the tree and asked him what he was doing. Reghu told her that he was hiding this Kadali which he had in his hand and said he would return in a week to claim it. She agreed and asked him about the other banana jewel he had in his bag. Reghu on second thought thought of burying the other one too there, but she told him to hide the second one, a hundred yards away as she could not stand the sight of the divine jewel. Do claim this one in a week otherwise you will forfeit it and I will not allow anyone who comes in possession of it, any peace, was her parting words.
Reghu walked a hundred yards and came upon a mango tree near the river bank and as instructed started burying the Lord’s Kadali there. A benevolent spirit came down the tree and asked what he was doing…. He said that he was burying the Jewel in his possession and showed it to her. So be it, she said with a smile, I will guard this till it reaches the rightful owner and help him in any test that he is put to, she murmured to herself..and went back to the tree.
The river was in full flow and had submerged most of the land when he came back after selling the stolen jewels and the coins with a few workers to set up a home. To his surprise he found the landscape had changed thanks to the flood. The marked trees had got uprooted and he knew not where his twin treasure lay buried. He was seen digging most of the time but never told his servants as to what he was looking for. They deserted him soon after his money got over. He was now a man gone mad…
Years had passed by with the jewels remaining hidden where they lay for a few generations. The land had changed much and it was a small village now. Jinu was a landless worker who got a tract of land on lease from the greedy village officer to plant banana plantains. Half of the produce he would need to give to the officer as per the deal struck between them. As expected and to Jinu’s happiness, the first crop turned out well. One day while digging a canal to water the plants in the land, he came upon one of the golden plantains. He took it to Jayaram the local jeweler who had a good look at it and gave a small token to Jinu assuring him the rest of the money, but as a law abiding citizen, he had to talk to the village officer first about its antiquity before he could sell it as the laws had changed. He showed it to the village officer the same day who kept it with himself though he told Jayaram and Jinu that he would be handing it to the higher officials in the government and had no plans to keep anything to himself. The next day he told Jinu he had other plans and asked him to stop using the land for his planned second crop.
Jinu was out of work and was finding it difficult to sustain himself after whatever money he had on him ran out. He could see that the tract of land was fully dug up by the village officer in the hope that he would get some more of such golden Kadali, but his search for more treasure turned futile. Meanwhile Jinu again approached the village officer after a couple of weeks to use the tract of land for plantation, but he was driven out.
The village officer’s wife was fascinated by the golden fruit so much that she took it daily out of the strong box to marvel at it. The fascination increased so much that the officer had to hide it in another room and lock it. Meanwhile Jinu thought of planting a few banana plantains around his small home near the river bank where he was forced to retire. At least it will keep him from hunger once his efforts bore fruit. He prayed to Krishna at his home that the first fruit from his land will be gifted to him. As he dug another canal he came upon another golden plantain which was the exact replica of the first one he had got, but this time he made good his promise and bestowed the golden marvel to Krishna. Whenever he prayed, the golden jewel would change to real bananas and he would take one as prasadam(offering from the Lord).
One day he chanced upon Tulsi standing nearby who happened to watch him at his plantation work. He inquired of her and came to know that she was jeweler Jayaram’s daughter. One day she asked if she could assist him at his work in the plantation. He replied on one condition that she should accept her fair share of the produce once it materialized to which she gladly agreed.
The officer came to know that Jinu had a small plantation around his house. Somehow be didn’t like it but also couldn’t do much about it. Jayaram paid a visit to Jinu and saw the bunch of 4 bananas with a golden hue kept near Krishna’s idol. Oh! how marvelous a sight and so golden, said he after tasting the one from the bunch offered to him by Jinu. Can I have one more..Why not sir…take two, one for Tulsi too, smiling at her, who was standing at the door. The much pleased Jayaram had never had such a tasty fruit and he expressed the same while having it. Sir, my Krishna’s prasadam is always like his love. The more you love Him, more sweet will be your offering to Him and so, his prasadam in return. Being a devotee himself, Jayaram was no doubt thrilled by Jinu’s company. He and his daughter became frequent visitors. One day Jinu revealed to Jayaram, his wish to marry Tulsi. But Jayaram first decided to put Jinu to the test before he could approve his request.
Jayaram asked Jinu. This bunch of mini kadali that you offer to Krishna daily…can you show me the plantain which yields such sweet bananas to you. Jayaram was sure no plantain could yield a bunch daily, in fact not more than one in its lifetime and with Jinu having not more than a dozen odd plantains, there seemed to be a mystery about them which he wanted to unravel.
Jinu was in a fix as to what he should say when an old woman came that way and asked for some ripe banana as food to be given. Jinu said I can give you some rice and vegetable but I doubt I can give you a banana at this time as it was well last noon and his kadali prasadam could yield real banana only before noon based on his experience.
The old woman laughed a bit loudly, much to Jinu’s and Jayaram’s consternation. You call yourself a planter? There, yonder. I can see a bunch of fine kadali. Jinu rushed to his garden and much to his surprise there was one ripe kadali bunch awaiting them. He took it down and gave to the woman. No, I don’t want all of this, maybe you can give the better share of this to your guest here, smilingly pointing at Jayaram. Saying so, the woman took leave.
Jayaram was a bit disturbed and left with a perplexed mind. The next day he sent Tulsi to bring a bunch of fresh Kadali. Tulsi came in the morning as was her wont, to Jinu’s house, prayed to Krishna, took two of the prasadam kadali and there were only two left for the day. Father has sent me for a bunch if you could provide it. Jinu at a loss went to the same tree and there, lo another bunch of ripe bananas was waiting to be taken down.
This went on for a few days. Jayaram came on the fourth day himself and examined the tree. There was none. He was going to win he thought when another woman appeared asking for something to eat. Jinu asked what he could give her. Don’t bother I will go inside and take what I need. She went inside and was not to be seen for sometime. Both went in to see her feasting on a bunch of freshly plucked kadali. Jayaram was at a loss of words and failed to understand what was going on. He asked Jinu from where this bunch came when Tulsi appeared in the doorway saying I plucked it in the morning before you two had even got up and kept it here.
The woman had her fill and after blessing Jinu and Tulsi and laughing at Jayaram went her way. It was a matter of a few weeks time before Tulsi and Jinu got married on an auspicious day.
The village officer couldn’t sleep on many a night as he could hear someone pounding on the closed door. The noise from the room where he kept the golden Kadali, the disturbance from the roof as if someone heavy was trampling upon the tiles…the fearful shadow behind the curtains, the poor sight of his wife already at her wits end when she could not see the golden fruit anymore, now out of sight behind the closed door of the cursed room. It was just a matter of time before the officer too went mad after he saw the room ransacked, one day, by some robber and the golden Kadali missing…
You get off the car, tired of having driven long enough; a break would be welcome, now that the fiery orange sun was retiring fast. You get down onto the road and into the bushes and survey the scene that has now unfolded before you. All this time, as you drove; you never thought that this nature escapade existed at such close quarters.
There, as you focus your eyes, a few hundred feet away, a lake is flowing and on the other side, are foot hills of a long forgotten mountain with shrubs that give it a plantation look which it is not. You come down towards the lake and look for a shallow place where you could cross or wade across.
Now that the summer has set in, here and there, luckily for you, has appeared sand dunes, on which you could put your feet upon and cross over the crystal clear water where dwell colorful fish of all sorts, scurrying now and coming back again to survey you, a stranger who rarely came this way…
There was a girl who sent him a mail
he, who was sitting all the day pale
in a house that was put up for sale.
He set out to find the sender of the mail
the trail was long in a train on a rail
that brought him to a ship that set sail.
On a long journey that would surely fail
for the ship met face to face with a gale
that hit them for days on end with hail.
The food and the water turned out stale
when washed ashore, they put him in jail.
for papers he had none on him to set sail.
Our fellow took the pain to write her a mail
she received with pleasure to free him on bail
and thereby set a happy ending to our tale…
Have you come across a banana leaf shop, a wholesale one served by a Green Prince?
Here I am reblogging one clicked by Iyer Sir who serves daily pics of good old Madras now Chennai. They serve as daily reflections of life lived simply…India in pics.