Sunday, September 13, 2009

Making of a Ballad

It was a time when lots of burglaries were happening in the neighbourhood. The thieves usually came in the dead of the night, looted the house or establishment as case may be, and even killed any witnesses, if need be. People were terrorized. The fear created bizarre conditions of living. For instance, all the people in a house slept in a single room and dared not switch on the fan because, the thief may hear it and come into the room to steal ornaments which women in Kerala must wear com what may. The sleeping condition also had a rule- When the person at far end sleeps on left, everyone else follows and none can turn to right until the person at the far end turns.

There were all kinds of stories about the burglars’ ingenuity. They said that the burglars had a magic powder, sprinkling which, the iron bars and grills just melts away like butter. So, the people did not dare to leave the windows open. But whatever precautions the people took proved useless. The burglars won every round.

That night, the burglars planned to loot a house of the noveau rich from the Gulf. The Gulf Malayali as you might know is more into gold and ornaments that the normal native Malayali. The burglars prepared themselves for a rich haul. They smeared themselves with oil, armed themselves with ropes, daggers, iron rods, and of course the ‘magic powder’. Reaching the house, they found that the magic powder was of no help as the windows were all closed and secure. They prowled around and discovered that the rear part of the house had tiled roof. Two of the gang were soon on the roof and removing the tiles. Meanwhile, two other were making hindrances at the entry points just to make it difficult for any rescuers. All ready!

When enough tiles were removed, one of the burglars alighted himself into the house. He found himself in the kitchen. Hungry, he first helped himself to some bananas. Then he groped his way in the dark and reached one of the bedrooms and felt the bed. He tried to liberate a neck from a heavy gold necklace and failed miserably. The lady sat up and had a programmed chain reaction. First, the thief was scared, then he made out that all were women and went on tugging at the necklace. The woman held it and threatened that there were men sleeping in the adjoining room.

One of the elder yelled, “ Appunni Naire. Appunni Naire.”

Let me enlighten about this character. He was a wiry old man with fast receding hairline. Usually his forehead was smeared with multiple lines of ‘bhasma’ or holy ash with a Kumkum plus vermilion dot in the middle.
A loud clamour in his room announced that he was awake and moving(he tumbled over an old trunk and fell flat on his face).The sound had an awesome effect on the burglars waiting outside. One or two just slipped away into the night while others waited for their leader and the loot.

Meanwhile, inside, our knight in shining armour(clad only in a dhoti) arrived hearing the cries of the distressed ladies. The dhoti was almost loose with the fall and was least interested in continuing the nocturnal adventure. It left him.

Thieves, burglars or any of the creed are always afraid, especially of men who are abnormal and our dear thief was not an exception. One look at a wiry fellow with smeared ash on forehead and only a flimsy loincloth on standing in a ferocious manner sapped the poor thief of all his courage. He retreated and started to run out of the house. He forgot about the hindrances his teammates had created at the entry points. He tripped over a rope and fell, picked himself up and started to run again with Appunni Nair in HOT PUSUIT.

He chased him out of the house, the compound and the neighbour before retuning gallantly to the home. His wife gave him his dhoti, to which he said, “No . It is OK. My dhoti is quite alright”. He proceed to tie the dhoti right and tight when he realized that he hadn’t one.

Anyhow, Appunni Nair became a local hero and it might not be a mystery if future generations come across ballads in his honour.


  1. Haha! Appuni Nair is sure a hero...the knight with no dhothi on! :D

  2. hahaaa!! Wonderful story! Vayichu kore chirichu!! Appunni Nair aalu kollaam:-)))

  3. thats a super anecdote to share, you certainly have a way of creating vivid images, really loved this page. am blogrolling you

  4. He He this is a good one:) Thanks for the wonderful story and for making my day!

  5. Destiny's child
    Yeah! Alas, he is no more.

    Novice writer
    It is sad that we see less of these peculiar characters nowadays.

    Thank You. Good to know that you are working once again.

    A New Beginning
    Sana, Feels good to be of use. Keep coming.