About 20 odd kms away from Karthik and Priya, in a small hut at the far end of a barely finished construction site, a little girl of about 12 yrs crouched in a corner with her hands, feet and mouth tied up. Famished and tired, she whined her heart out silently, “Oh God… please take me home. It’s so hot and stuffy here. No AC, and these rowdies are not giving me proper food also. I want my playstation and I want to complain about these rowdies to Mum and Dad.” She was hungry, but it was the thirst that was unbearable. She eyed the refridgerator that stood near the frail wooden door of the hut. Before she could make a move, she listened cautiously. Right outside the hut, she could hear a bunch of men.
The drunken revelry of the men was the only sign of life in the otherwise deserted construction site. The unfinished pillars and the wooden slabs lying around made the perfect setting for all the debauchery they indulged in. The stench of alcohol and cigarettes shrouded the air along with cement dust. But this was heaven for the men. The only place where they found solace away from their wives or mistresses. The men were 5 in number to be precise, hefty, paunchy and moderately high, gulping down their drinks while ‘Aasaiya kaathula thoodhuvutu‘ blared from a cell phone. One of the men slammed his bottle on a worn out slab on which opened packets of biryani and cigarette butts lay. The loud thud shook the rest out of their drunken states for a bit. Guru was the one who had slammed the bottle. He was now up adjusting his lungi. With rum-laced spit spraying out, he ordered Daya, one of the other men, to fetch some water. Daya’s defiance pounced out through his mildly inebriated eyes.
“Ennada lookku, thalaivar nu neneapo paata kedadhum. Po… Sonnadha sei.”, and this time Guru’s tone gave Daya no choice but to do as he was told. Daya got up and walked towards the hut. He unlocked the door and kicked it open. To his bewilderment he saw the girl trying to open the refridgerator with her tied feet. Hearing the door open, she froze and when Daya walked in, her eyes widened in surprise. Daya shouted out to the rest, “Annen, Annen, inga vaanganen” Hearing him the rest of men rushed to the hut, Daya continues, “Muzhichikitaa polannen. Elli maadhiri panra vellaiya paaru.” Guru paced in towards her and Ponni, that was her name, pushed herself back. The desperation in her eyes made Guru pause. He ordered his men to remove the cloth around her mouth. What a relief, without even hesitating for a second, Ponni reeled off in full English, “Don’t you guys have any sense? You can’t even give me some water? Nobody taught you manners? Wait and see what happens when my dad hears about this. I want some cold water now!” Daya, the only one to have passed 2nd grade in the group and the youngest, voiced out, “Machi ennada solra? Peter kudumbam pola!”. Before Ponni could retort, Guru shoved the cloth into her mouth and added, “Sangaruthuduven. Summa ukkaru.” Ponni could taste salt, grease and cement all at once and almost choked. Guru motioned Daya to fetch some water.
Just then Guru’s phone rang. he picked up the call and his side of the conversation went… “Sollungaiyya……Aaama…innum illa….sarakku badharamaadhan iruku…..andha mutaapaiyya vazhikuvaralenna sollunga, potudlaam indha ponna!”. By now Daya was helping Ponni drink water. Once Guru was done with his call, he looked at Ponni, the water had freshened up the little girl, “Please don’t tie up my mouth. I won’t shout. Mother promise.”, she said giving a sweet smile. She mimed to make him understand and put her hands together and pleaded. Guru facepalmed himself and walked out. His men followed him out, locking the door.
Ponni adjusted herself into a more comfortable posture. She was extremely restless. This was her tennis time, after which mum was supposed to take her to her friend’s birthday party. Her stomach wandered to the Belgian chocolate cake she could possibly be eating right now. She was made to speak to her mum yesterday, her mum sobbed and wailed. But doesn’t she know that Ponni is a smart girl? Who else could have managed to sneak a message in the bottle into the sea, while the men shipped her to this place! “Think, Ponni, Think!” she said to herself and just then an idea loomed in her head, “Ada! Why didn’t I think of this before!”
….to be continued!
Read Part 1 of That Panayur Incident at https://notsocopyheavy.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/that-panayur-incident-1/
Lungi: Piece of clothing used by men. Usually with checks or some design, tied around the hip.
Ennada lookku, thalaivar nu neneapo paata kedadhum. Po… Sonnadha sei.: What are looking at, you think you are thalaivar (Rajnikanth) after listening to the song? Go do as I say.”
Annen, Annen, inga vaanganen: Brother, come here Muzhichikitaa polannen. Elli maadhiri panra vellaiya paaru.: Looks like she has gained consciousness. Look at what she’s upto, like a rat!
Machi ennada solra? Peter kudumbam pola!: Bro, what is she saying? Seems to be from an english-speaking family!
Sangaruthuduven. Summa ukkaru.: I’ll slit your throat, shut up!
“Sollungaiyya……Aaama…innum illa….sarakku badharamaadhan iruku…..andha mutaapaiyya vazhikuvaralenna sollunga, potudlaam indha ponna!: Yes Sir..the stuff is safe. If that idiot doesn’t listen let me know, I’ll kill this kid!
And listen to Aasaiya Kaadhula Thoodhuvittu here 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NV7fwCbKrPg