标记档案: 马拉雅拉姆语

Another Pen Story of Tough Love

Once a favorite uncle of mine gave me a pen. This uncle was a soldier in the Indian Army at that time. Soldiers used to come home for a couple of months every year or so, and give gifts to everybody in the extended family. There was a sense of entitlement about the whole thing, and it never occurred to the gift takers that they could perhaps give something back as well. During the past couple of decades, things changed. The gift takers would flock around the rich “Gulf Malayalees” (Keralite migrant workers in the Middle-East) thereby severely diminishing the social standing of the poor soldiers.

无论如何, this pen that I got from my uncle was a handsome matte-gold specimen of a brand called Crest, possibly smuggled over the Chinese border at the foothills of the Himalayas and procured by my uncle. I was pretty proud of this prized possession of mine, as I guess I have been of all my possessions in later years. But the pen didn’t last that long — it got stolen by an older boy with whom I had to share a desk during a test in the summer of 1977.

I was devastated by the loss. More than that, I was terrified of letting my mother know for I knew that she wasn’t going to take kindly to it. I guess I should have been more careful and kept the pen on my person at all times. 果然, my mom was livid with anger at the loss of this gift from her brother. A proponent of tough love, she told me to go find the pen, and not to return without it. 现在, that was a dangerous move. What my mom didn’t appreciate was that I took most directives literally. I still do. It was already late in the evening when I set out on my hopeless errant, and it was unlikely that I would have returned at all since I wasn’t supposed to, not without the pen.

My dad got home a couple of hours later, and was shocked at the turn of events. He certainly didn’t believe in tough love, far from it. Or perhaps he had a sense of my literal disposition, having been a victim of it earlier. 无论如何, he came looking for me and found me wandering aimlessly around my locked up school some ten kilometer from home.

Parenting is a balancing act. You have to exercise tough love, lest your child should not be prepared for the harsh world later on in life. You have to show love and affection as well so that your child may feel emotionally secure. You have to provide for your your child without being overindulgent, or you would end up spoiling them. You have to give them freedom and space to grow, but you shouldn’t become detached and uncaring. Tuning your behavior to the right pitch on so many dimensions is what makes parenting a difficult art to master. What makes it really scary is the fact that you get only one shot at it. If you get it wrong, the ripples of your errors may last a lot longer than you can imagine. Once when I got upset with him, my son (far wiser than his six years then) told me that I had to be careful, for he would be treating his children the way I treated him. 但随后, we already know this, don’t we?

My mother did prepare me for an unforgiving real world, and my father nurtured enough kindness in me. The combination is perhaps not too bad. But we all would like to do better than our parents. 在我的情况, I use a simple trick to modulate my behavior to and treatment of my children. I try to picture myself at the receiving end of the said treatment. If I should feel uncared for or unfairly treated, the behavior needs fine-tuning.

This trick does not work all the time because it usually comes after the fact. We first act in response to a situation, before we have time to do a rational cost benefit analysis. There must be another way of doing it right. May be it is just a question of developing a lot of patience and kindness. You know, there are times when I wish I could ask my father.


很久以前, my teenage gang saw a pretty girl whom we called the Eye Catcher. One of my friends in the gang insists that he came up with the name, although I distinctly remember that it was I who first used it. I remember because it was from the last page of India Today of the time, which had a column titled “Eye Catchers.” But my friend has always been more articulate than me, and it is quite possible that he coined the catchy name without any help from India Today.

Time has flown, and today has become yesterday. During the years spanning that age of innocence and now, whenever our gang met up (once a year or so in the beginning, once a decade of late), the Eye Catcher was a topic that always came up. And once, one of us wondered if we would talk about her if we met at the age of fifty, which was incomprehensibly far away then. (同样, I think I was the one who came up with it; may be I like to take credit for every witty thing that happened around me.)

Now with the distant fifty just around the corner, I wonder. Was it the prism of adolescence that amplified beauty, or was she really that eye-catching? 现在, 当然, the ravages of time would have surely dulled any beauty she may have possessed, and made cynics of the beholders prompting them to consider prisms of adolescence and ravages of time. I think I prefer not to know the answer. Often the blurry pictures with fading colors are more beautiful than the garish reality in high definition.

It is similar to the scratchy Malayalam songs I listen to in my car. My English-speaking family laughs at me whenever I do. 对他们来说,, the lyrics don’t make sense, the beat is silly, and the sweet melody of Yesudas is almost gross, like cold pancakes swimming in stale syrup. I don’t blame them. Even to me, it is not just the words and the sounds that bind my heart to the songs; it is the fading colors of the past. It is the faces and scenes that the songs bring to mind, like the smell of June rain, the orange hue of the muddy potholes, and the tall coconut trees against blue skies and white cumulus, gently swaying their heads in assent to whatever adventures the day had in store. And the faces of the simple souls who played out their part on that stage of life and bowed out. Memories of a paradise lost.

But those players played their part well enough to imprint themselves on the songs for good. And with the twilights peeping over the horizon now, I often wonder — what am I going to leave behind? What are you?

A Parker Pen from Singapore

During the early part of the last century, there was significant migration of Chinese and Indians to Singapore. Most of the migrants of Indian origin were ethnic Tamils, which is why Tamil is an official language here. But some came from my 马拉雅拉姆语-speaking native land of Kerala. Among them was Natarajan who, fifty years later, would share with me his impressions of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and the Indian National Army of the forties. Natarajan would, by then, be called the Singapore Grandpa (Singapore Appuppa), and teach me yoga, explaining the mystical aspects of it a bit, saying things like, “A practitioner of yoga, even when he is in a crowd, is not quite a part of it.” I remembered this statement when a friend of mine at work commented that I walked untouched (kind of like Tim Robbins in the Shawshank Redemption) by the corporate hustle and bustle, 哪, 当然, may have been a polite way of calling me lazy.

无论如何, the Singapore Grandpa (a cousin to my paternal grandfather) was quite fond of my father, who was among the first University graduates from that part of Kerala. He got him a Parker pen from Singapore as a graduation gift. Some fifteen years later, this pen would teach me a lesson that is still not fully learned four decades on.

My father was very proud of his pen, its quality and sturdiness, and was bragging to his friends once. “I wouldn’t be able to break it, even if I wanted to!” 他说:, without noticing his son (yours faithfully), all of four years then with only a limited understanding of hypothetical conditionals of this kind. Next evening, when he came back from work, I was waiting for him at the door, beaming with pride, holding his precious pen thoroughly crushed. “Dad, dad, I did it! I managed to break your pen for you!”

Heart-broken as my father must have been, he didn’t even raise his voice. He asked, “What did you do that for, son?” using the overly affectionate Malayalam word for “son”. I was only too eager to explain. “You said yesterday that you had been trying to break it, but couldn’t. I did it for you!” Rather short on language skills, I was already a bit too long on physics. I had placed the pen near the hinges of a door and used the lever action by closing it to accomplish my mission of crushing it. 事实上, I remembered this incident when I was trying to explain to my wife (short on physics) why the door stopper placed close to the hinges was breaking the floor tiles rather than stopping the door.

My father tried to fix his Parker pen with scotch tape (which was called cellophane tape at that time) and rubber bands. 后来, he managed to replace the body of the pen although he could never quite fix the leaking ink. I still have the pen, and this enduring lesson in infinite patience.

Two and half years ago, my father passed away. During the ensuing soul-searching, this close friend of mine asked me, “好, now that you know what it takes, how well do you think you are doing?” I don’t think I am doing that well, for some lessons, even when fully learned, are just too hard to put in practice.

照片由 dailylifeofmojo cc


It is one of the many conspiracy theories — that the moon landing never really took place. How could the flag flutter? The pictures — were they really taken on the moon, or in a studio in Navada?

Here is a different theory. A little known fact. The photo wasn’t totally fake. It is just that NASA showed only half the picture. Check this out:
Look at the shadows below .
Have you ever noticed them before ?

Click here (or on the image) to see the whole picture!

The Worldly Malayalees

If an average Singaporean hears of the World Malayalee Conference, the first thing they would say is, “World what now??” Malayalees are people from the tiny Indian state of Kerala. They are not to be confused with Malays, although some of the things we associate with Malay (such as pratas and biriyani) can be traced back to Kerala.

Such cross cultural exchanges point to an important trait of Malayalees. They tend to fan out and, in their own small ways, conquer the world. They also welcome external influences whole-heartedly. They are perhaps the only people (other than the Chinese, 当然) who regularly use a Chinese wok for cooking or a Chinese net for catching their fish. They even practise their own version of Kung-fu, and at times insist that the Chinese actually learned it from them.

International and cosmopolitan in their unique ways for thousands of years, Malayalees are a mixture of opposites, and Kerala a minor economic and sociological enigma. Malayalees enthusiastically embraced Christianity and Muslim religions when their initial missionaries and emissaries ventured outside their places of origin. 但, they also welcomed Marxism and atheism with equal fervour.

On an average, Kerala has a per-capita income among the world’s poorest, but all other economic indicators are on a par with the world’s richest. In health indicators such as life expectancy, per-capita number of doctors, and infant mortality, Kerala manages to mirror the US at about a tenth of its per capita wealth. Kerala is the first (and perhaps the only) third world province to boast of better than 90% literacy, and is just about the only place in India and China with more women than men.

Singapore has a special place in the Malayalee heart. Among their initial ventures outside Kerala during the colonial era, Malayalees targeted Singapore as a popular destination. Perhaps due to this historical fondness, Malayalees found it natural to host their World Malayalee Conference here.

Singapore also has soft spot for Malayalees and their contributions. The conference itself will be graced by the presence of the President of Singapore, 先生. Š. Ř. Nathan and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, 先生. George Yeo. President Nathan will launch the Malayalee Heritage and Culture Exhibition, and Minister Yeo will give a key note speech at the Business Forum.

The heritage and culture, dating back to well over two thousand years, is something every Malayalee is rightfully proud of. The Exhibition will showcase everything from cave engravings to ancient ship building technology.

Going beyond the historical and cultural affinities, Kerala also has been a business ally to Singapore, especially in raw seafood. 新加坡, in their own right, has provided a steady stream of investments and tourists to Kerala.

Eco-tourism is indeed one of the top attractions Malayalees will showcase during the conference. Nature has been overly kind to Kerala, with the undulating hills of the Western Ghat generously usurping the Monsoons and jealously guarding the Malayalees against any possible plunder of their green riches. Blessed with a temperate climate uncommon to the tropical enclave that it is, and with the hypnotic beauty of the misty green hillsides and tea plantations, Kerala is indeed a paradise waiting, perhaps unwillingly, to be discovered.

This World Malayalalee Conference, with its cultural shows and heritage exhibitions, will display what Kerala has to offer to the world, from tourism and culture to business opportunities and talent pool. It will also showcase Singapore to the Malayalee diaspora and teach them a thing or two about administrative efficiency, cleanliness and business connectivity.

Are You a Malayali?

If you can fit four passengers in the front seat of an Ambassador taxi, while in the back there are eight passengers and two children with their heads sticking out the window, chances are, you are a Mallu going to attend your cousin’s wedding.

If you can run, ride a 100 cc motorbike without wearing a helmet and play football all while wearing a lungi tied halfmast, Malayali status!

If your late father left you a part of an old house as your inheritance, and you turned it into “chaya kada,” yes, you’re a Malayali.

If you have more than 5 relatives working in Gulf, Big Time Malayali…

If you have the words “Chinchu Mol + Jinchu Mol” written on the rear window of your Omni car, yes, you are a Malaayli.

If you refer to your husband as “Kettiyon, ithiyan, pillerude appan,” guess what — you’re a central Travancore Syrian Christian Malayali.

If you have a Tamilian parked in front of your house every Sunday, ironing your clothes, chances are a you are a Middle Class Malayali.

If you have more than three employee trade unions at your place of work, then ask no more, you are indeed a Malayali.

If you have voted into power a Chief Minister who has not passed the 4th grade then ask no further, YOU ARE A MALAYALI.

If you have at least two relatives working in the US in the health industry , yes! Malayali!

If you religiously buy a lottery ticket every week, then you’re in the Malayali Zone!

If you describe a woman as “charrakku,” yep, Malayali!

If you constantly refer to banana as “benana” or pizza as “pissa,” you’re a Malayali..

If you use coconut oil instead of refined vegetable oil and can’t figure out why people in your family have congenital heart problems, you might be a Malayali.

If you are going out to see a movie at the local theater with your wifey wearing all the gold jewellry gifted to her by her parents, you are a newly married Malayali.

If you and your wife and three children dress up in your Sunday best and go out to have biriyani at Kayikka’s on a 100 cc Bajaj mobike, you an upwardly mobile Malayali from Cochin.

If your idea of haute cuisine is kappa and meen curry, 然后, yes, you are a Malayali.

If you have beef puttu for breakfast, beef olathu for lunch, and beef curry with ‘borotta’ for dinner, yeah, definitely Malalyali.

If your name is Wislon, and your wife’s name is Baby, and you name your daughter Wilby, have no doubts at all, you are a standard Malayali.

If most of the houses on your block are painted puke yellow, fluorescent green, and bright pink, definitely Malappuram Malayali.

If you tie a towel around your head and burst into a raucous rendition of the song “Kuttanadan Punjayile” after having three glasses of toddy, then you are a hardcore Malayali.

If you call appetizers served with alcoholic beverages as “touchings,” then you are one helluva Malayali.

If the local toddy shop owner knows you by your pet name and you call him “Porinju Chetta” (kekekekekek), then you are true Malayali.

If you’re sick and your wifey rubs “Bicks” into your nostrils and gives you “kurumulaku rasam” with chakkara, (grandma’s recipe) to help relieve your symptoms, damn!! You’re Malayali.



[This post is my translation of an excellent short story by one of the most gifted storytellers of our time, O.V.Vijayan. The translation from Malayalam is a feeble effort, because such distant translations are not merely between languages, but cultures. The untranslatable expressions are marked with asterisks. Enjoy!]

Reached Kanjikad from Palghat by Coimbatore street. From there on, it was unpaved dirt road to the mountains. Even the rough taxi Jeep found that hard to take. This was Theyunni’s second trip here in the last ten years and he had no complaints about the roughness now.

“Ditch ahead”, Driver said, glancing at the dirt road in front.

“If you want to stop here, it’s okay”, Theyunni offered, “I can walk.”

It’s about two miles from here. 他习惯于在机场和星级酒店之间乘坐豪华轿车,,en,艰难加息的前景并没有阻止他们,,en,我们会慢下来,,en,稳坐。,,en,好的。,,en,吉普车仔细地谈了蜿蜒的山路,,en,他们一如既往地瞥了一眼野山谷,,en,阳光在山坡上降温,,en,东风穿过山口,向Palghat咆哮,,en,树木都消失了,,en,不是他们,,en,司机,,en,他们观察到了,,en,全部被击落,,en,这里的森林大约在五年前,,en,大象过去常常下来。,,en,上次他在这儿的时候,,en,两边都有巨大的树木,,en,他不知道树木的名字,,en,周围有蟋蟀继续他们刺耳的管弦乐队,,en,他们回忆起那段旅程,,en, the prospect of the hard hike did not discourage Theyunni.

“罗. We’ll go slow, sit tight.”


The Jeep carefully negotiated the winding mountain road. Theyunni glanced at the wild valley as if for the first time. The sunshine cooled by the hillside, the east winds tunnelled through the mountain passes and roaring towards Palghat…

“The trees are all gone, aren’t they, Driver?”, Theyunni observed.

“All downed. Was forests here till about five years ago. Elephants used to come down.”

是的, last time when he was here, there were huge trees on either side. Trees he didn’t know the names of. There were crickets all around carrying on with their shrill orchestra. Theyunni recalled that journey. 欧洲之行后,他回到孟买,他的妻子在机场,,en,家里有一封信,,en,看起来像*兄弟的笔迹。,,en,不知道发生了什么,,en,你没有打开它吗?,,en,菲比,,en,你知道我不打开你的信件。,,en,当汽车驶向Juhu时,,en,他们偷看了Phoebe在车轮后面的脸,,en,就像一个完美的大理石雕塑,金色的头发在风中翩翩起舞,,en,打开丈夫的信件是违背她的文化的,,en,她的文化中有很多东西吸引了他,,en,几年前她在那个花园亲吻他的自信勇气,,en,宣讲,,en,我爱你,,en,如果这种关系在未来几年变坏了,,en,诚实和正直会让她说出来,,en,我不爱你了,,en. 她说,, “There is a letter from home, looks like *Brother’s handwriting.”

“Wonder what is happening. Didn’t you open it, Phoebe?”

“You know I don’t open your letters.”

When the car was moving towards Juhu, Theyunni stole a glance at Phoebe’s face behind the wheel. Like a flawless marble sculpture with golden hair dancing in the wind. It was against her culture to open her husband’s letters. There were many things in her culture that attracted him — her confident courage in kissing him in that garden few years ago, proclaiming, “I love you”. If the relationship were to turn sour in the years to come, the honesty and integrity that would make her say, “I do not love you any more, 我们必须离婚,,en,这些挑战激发了他的灵感,,en,他想起了回家的路,,en,父亲,,en,他爱上了菲比,,en,他在斯坦福大学的同学,,en,父亲没有反对它,,en,只是笑了笑他的甜蜜,,en,周到的微笑,,en,母亲,,en,我们看过Devaki的星座运势,,en,德瓦基是一位远房亲戚,,en,一些内陆农民的女儿,,en,躲着他对星座运势的蔑视,,en,他们安慰母亲,,en,那不是很多,,en,我们没有说出自己的意思。,,en,一段时间没有人说什么,,en,然后妈妈说,,en,是不是像单词一样理解,,en,这就像Devaki在她心中嫁给了你。,,en,这是男孩的决定,,en,玛达维,,ta,父亲说,,en,你为什么要这样说呢?,,en,母亲退缩了,,en,我没有说什么,,en,不要担心母亲的抱怨,,en,库塔,,en”. These were the challenges that inspired him. He remembered the journey home to tell *Father that he was in love with Phoebe, his fellow-student at Stanford. Father did not say anything against it, just smiled his sweet, thoughtful smile. It was *Mother — “We had Devaki’s horoscope looked at…”

Devaki was a distant relative. The daughter of some in-land farmer. Hiding his contempt for horoscopes, Theyunni comforted Mother, “That is not much, Mother. We didn’t give our word.”

Nobody said anything for a while. Then Mother said, “Isn’t understanding as big as word? It’s like Devaki has married you in her heart.”

“It’s the boy’s decision, Madhavi,” Father said, “Why do you want to say this and that?”

Mother withdrew herself, “I didn’t say anything…”

“Don’t worry about Mother’s complaints, Kutta. 所以, 你喜欢这个Phoebe吗?,,en,他们有点尴尬,,en,是。,,en,一个美国女孩是否愿意住在我们这个古老的家庭住宅中,,en,妈妈问道,,en,她为什么不,,en,这并不是说他们会来这里生活,,en,所以父亲和儿子也决定了这一点,,en,妈妈说,,en,他们不想住在这里,,en,无论我们住在哪里,,en,我们先来这儿,,en,母亲。,,en,他们看到了母亲的眼睛,,en,祝福菲比,并祝愿Devaki在她的生活中一切顺利,,en,我不会要求你改变主意,,en,你会照顾父亲吗?,,en,当然。,,en,你记得他过去是怎么回事,,en,他的身体变老了,,en,父亲带着微笑再次介入,,en,你为什么这么说并让他不开心呢,,en,不要理会她,,en,库塔。,,en,即使在他的爱的新奇之中,,en?”

Theyunni was a little embarrassed, “Yes.”

“Will an American girl like to live in this old family house of ours, Kutta?”, Mother inquired.

“Why wouldn’t she?”

Father said, “It’s not as though they are going to come live here, 它是?”

“So Father and Son have decided that as well,” Mother said, “that they don’t want to live here?”

“Wherever we live, we’ll come here first, Mother.”

Theyunni saw Mother’s eyes well up. After blessing Phoebe and wishing Devaki well in her life, Mother said, “I won’t ask you to change your mind. 但, will you look after Father, Kutta?”

“Of course.”

“You remember how he used to be? His body is getting old…”

Father intervened again with his smile, “Madhavi, why do you say such things and make him unhappy? Don’t pay any attention to her, Kutta.”

Even during the novelty of his love, 他们可以感受到Devaki的真实含义,,en,乡村,,en,心,,en,农夫新娘谁会扫地,点亮晚灯,,en,我心中只有一件事,,en,你的嫂子身体不健全,,en,如果它是Devaki,,en,希望她在晚年照顾你的父亲,,en,他们当时没有说什么,,en,即使在晚年,,en,他怎么也说不出来,,en,谁从未打开过她丈夫的来信,,en,巧妙地穿过Juhu的街道,,en,当父亲结婚多年后生病,,en,菲比建议,,en,你的小镇实际上是一个村庄,,en,我们为什么不把他带到一个城市的好医院,,en,我们可以轻松承担这一点。,,en,父亲所需要的是靠近和触摸和平地死去,,en *rustic heart — the farmer bride who would sweep the floor and light the evening lamp. Mother said, “There was only one thing on my mind — your sister-in-law is not able-bodied. If it had been Devaki, there was a hope that she would look after your father in his old age…”

Theyunni didn’t say anything then. Even in the later years, he couldn’t say anything about that. Phoebe, who never opened her husband’s letters, drove skillfully through the streets of Juhu. When Father fell sick years after the marriage, Phoebe advised, “Your little town is actually a village. Why don’t we take him to a good hospital in a city? We can easily afford that.”

What Father needed was nearness and touch to die peacefully. 他们独自和那些人一起回家,看到了他,,en,母亲也死在老家里,,en,菲比当时回到了斯坦福,,en,她发来了一份正式的哀悼电报,,en,Devaki,,en,他的意思再次充满了他的思想,,en,在Juhu,,de,他们读过兄弟的信,,en,我做得不太好,,en,只是让你知道,,en,我不会要求你从繁忙的日程中抽出时间来到这些森林,,en,想想我,,en,和看到的效果相同,,en,甚至没有让Sreekumar知道,,en,我担心他可能会焦虑并去旅行,,en,从剑桥来这里不容易,,en,如果只有你的嫂子还活着,,en,一颗旧心的弱点,,en,吉普继续进行艰苦的旅程,谈判偶尔的沟渠和排水沟,,en,对不起有问题,,en,他们试图安慰司机,,en,只是做我的工作。,,en. Mother also died in the old family house. Phoebe was back at Stanford then. She sent a formal condolence telegram. *Devaki‘s meaning again filled his mind.

In Juhu, Theyunni read Brother’s letter. “I’m not doing too well, Kutta. Just to let you know. I won’t ask you to take time off your busy schedule and come by these forests. Just think of me, same effect as seeing. Didn’t even let Sreekumar know. I was worried that he might get anxious and take a trip — not easy to come here from Cambridge, 它是? If only your sister-in-law had been alive… Weaknesses of an old heart…”

The Jeep continued it’s laborious journey negotiating an occasional ditch and gutter.

“Sorry about the trouble, Driver,” Theyunni tried to comfort the driver.

“罗, just doing my job.”

离这儿还有一英里,,en,在他妻子去世后,兄弟决定辞职,搬到高地,,en,他们强烈反对这一决定,,en,你为什么要在豹子和野猪之间移动到Palghat这个被遗弃的神地,,en,你可以为另一个人服务,,en,即使退休后也是如此,,en,你知道核物理学家可以做很多事情,,en,兄弟的回答来了,,en,有欠债的债务,,en,到一个国家,,en,一个人的社区,,en,一个人的家人,,en,我觉得我已尽最大努力偿还了我的会费,,en,还有一些我需要照顾的其他义务,,en,这就是为什么我在这些山谷中寻求庇护的原因。,,en,兄弟从未提及这些义务是什么,,en,他们也没有询问过,,en. It was after his wife’s death that Brother decided to resign from service and move to the high lands. Theyunni vehemently opposed that decision. “Why are you moving to this god-forsaken land in Palghat among leopards and wild boars? 此外, you could be in service for another 10 年. Even after retiring, you know that a nuclear physicist can do so many things…”

Brother’s reply came, “There are debts that one owes — to one’s country, one’s community, one’s family. I feel that I have repaid my dues to the best of my ability. There are some other obligations that I have to take care of. That’s is why I’m seeking refuge in these valleys.”

Brother never mentioned what those obligations were. Theyunni didn’t inquire either.

这位说话温和的兄弟经过多次推理后才做出决定,,en,让他回到他们身上并不容易,,en,哥哥写了关于他营地的文章,,en,离马路大约四英里,,en,树林外面有肥沃的土地,,en,兄弟在那里建了一所房子,,en,椰子树之间,,en,蔬菜,,en,芒果树,,en,污垢的墙壁,,en,木制天花板和粘土砖屋顶,,en,它离任何地方都有一段距离,,en,有一个农民,,en,Ponnuswami,,ta,住在附近的小屋里,,en,如果需要,兄弟可以向Ponnuswami寻求帮助,,en,除此之外,,en,他在那个山谷里独自一人,,en,他们无法弄清楚那个忏悔的含义而忘了它,,en,岁月流逝,,en,但是当菲比交出那封未开封的信时,,en,他突然觉得他应该赶时间去那里,,en,我会去看看发生了什么。,,en; it was not easy to make him go back on them. 后来, Brother wrote about his camp-site: about four miles off the road, there were fertile lands lying just outside the woods. Brother built a house there, among coconut palms, vegetables, mango trees… Dirt walls, wooden ceiling and roofs of clay tiles. It was at some distance from anywhere. 然而, there was a farmer, Ponnuswami, living in a hut nearby. Brother could ask Ponnuswami for help if needed. Apart from that, he was quite alone in that valley. Theyunni could not figure out the meaning of that penance and forgot about it. Years went by. But when Phoebe handed over that unopened letter, he suddenly felt that he should go there in a hurry.

“好, Phoebe, I’ll go and see what’s going on.”

“那个地方叫什么名字,,en,Kanjikad,,ml,哥哥邀请我去看山。,,en,我记得。,,en,一定是度假的理想场所,,en,但在那里生病是危险的,,en,你为什么不把他带到这里来,,en,我们可以让他在Jeslock或其他什么地方接受治疗。,,en,菲比正在重复她对治疗的建议,,en,他们记得最后一次提出这个建议并让他感到不安,,en,我们无法进入他的脑海,,en,我会去那里看看。,,en,这就是赫伦尼第一次来到这里的原因,,en,十年前,,en,他不仅对哥哥的健康和孤独的生活感到焦虑,,en,他还想给弟兄一个关于不合时宜的忏悔的心思,,en,当他从哥印拜陀机场乘出租车去Kanjikad时,,en? Kanjikad, isn’t it?”


“Brother had invited me to go and see the mountains.”

“是的, I remember.”

“Must be a perfect place for get-away vacation. But it’s dangerous to get sick there. Why don’t you bring him here? We could have him treated at Jeslock or something.”

Phoebe was repeating her suggestion on treatments. Theyunni remembered the last time the suggestion was offered and it made him uneasy.

“We can’t get inside his mind, Phoebe. I’ll go there and see.”

That was how Theyunni came here for the first time, ten years ago. Not only was he anxious about Brother’s health and solitary life, he also wanted to give Brother a piece of his mind about the untimely penance. When he took a taxi from Coimbatore airport to go to Kanjikad, 他的心中充满了对弟兄的不耐烦和坚强的感情,,en,看到土路上的沟渠和排水沟,司机感到气馁,,en,激怒他们并不需要太多,,en,如果我以这种方式开车,我可以打破轴心,,en,抱怨泰米尔的司机,,en,你的这辆愚蠢的车多少钱,,en,不是故意的,,en,如果你的车坏了,,en,让它破裂,,en,我会告诉你它的成本,,en,驾驶。,,en,他下车的时候,,en,他们看到哥哥在田野里散步,,en,看起来又明亮又健康,,en,你为什么这么来,,en,兄弟评论了这次旅行的可行性,,en,你可以这么说吧,,en,住在森林里,,en,写关于生病的信件,,en,我怎么能忽略它,,en,进来。,,en,哥哥带他进了屋子,,en,他们看了看周围,发现一切都不尽如人意,,en. The driver got discouraged by the sight of ditches and gutters in the dirt road. It didn’t take too much to provoke Theyunni.

“I could break the axile if I drove up this way,” complained the driver who was Tamil.

“How much does this stupid car of yours cost?”

“Sorry Sir, didn’t mean to…”

“If your car breaks, let it break. I’ll give you what it costs. Drive.”

When he got off the car, Theyunni saw Brother taking a walk in the field — looking bright and healthy.

“Why did you come all this way, Kutta?”, Brother commented on the advisability of the trip.

“You can say that. Living in the forests, writing letters about getting sick, how could I ignore it?”

“Come in.” Brother took him inside the house.

Theyunni looked around and found everything unsatisfactory. “你为什么这样惩罚自己,,en,我看起来好像这是惩罚,,en,然后他们就问道,,en,你生病的时候谁会对你好,,en,乳头,,en,没有人,,en,我该怎么说呢,,en,哥哥笑了笑,,en,你没有得到它,,en,你做什么食物,,en,我已经让Ponnuswami的妻子出现了,,en,为你做点什么,,en,这就是我吃的全部。,,en,他指着篮子里两个年轻椰子的外皮,,en,那是早餐,,en,晚餐还有两个。,,en,那是你的饮食,,en,不只是饮食,,en,医学也是如此,,en,天黑了,,en,他们想知道,,en,哥哥,,en,如果有些小偷出现了怎么办?,,en,弟兄尽情地笑了,,en,四白,,en,世界,,eu,四条棉披肩,,en,两条毛巾和一些陶罐,,en,这就是所有这个房子,,en,小偷本质上很和平,,en,这是我们的贪婪让他做到这一点,,en,晚饭后,,en?”

“Do I look as though this is punishment?”

Nobody said anything for a while. Then Theyunni inquired, “Who treated you while you were ill?”

“Teat?! Nobody!”

“What am I supposed to say about that?”

Brother smiled, “You don’t get it, 你呢, Kutta?”

“What do you do for food?”

“I have asked Ponnuswami’s wife to show up. To cook something for you. Me, this is all I eat.”

He pointed to the husks of two young coconuts in the basket. “That was breakfast. Two more for dinner.”

“That is you diet?!”

“Not just diet, medicine as well!”

When it got dark, Theyunni wanted to know, “Brother, what if some thieves show up?”

Brother laughed heartily, “Four white *mundu, four cotton shawls, two towels and some clay pots. That’s all this house holds. The thief is quite peaceful by nature, it’s our avarice that makes him do this and that!”

After dinner, 他们躺下睡觉,,en,在睡垫上,,en,对于他们来说,,en,这是很长一段时间没有空调的第一次,,en,风在房子外面咆哮,,en,穿过山口,,en,就像在一个高潮中的巨浪,,en,你听到了,,en,风,,en,但是你听到了,,en,你为什么要问,,en,哥哥在黑暗中沉默了一会儿,,en,然后他说,,en,你没有听到他们。,,en,兄弟在旷野的生活也遭到了同样的不满,他们回到了孟买,,en,哥哥说,,en,看见他了,,en,那是一个错误,,en,一个弱点,,en,感觉就像我生病时给你写信一样,,en,我不会再这样打扰你了,,en,没有任何疾病,这些山谷无法治愈,,en,如果有的话,,en,人类是否有药物给他们,,en — on the floor, on sleeping mats. For Theyunni, it was the first time in a long while without the air conditioner. The winds roared outside the house. Through the mountain passes, like the loud waves in an uptide.


“是的, Brother?”

“You hear that?”

“The winds, 右边?”

“是的, but to you hear them?”

“是的, 我做的. Why do you ask?”

Brother was silent for a while in the darkness. Then he said, “别, you don’t hear them.”

It was with the same dissatisfaction at Brother’s life in the wilderness that Theyunni went back to Bombay. Brother said, seeing him off, “It was a mistake, Kutta. A weakness. Felt like writing to you when I was ill; I won’t bother you like this again. There aren’t any illnesses that these valleys can’t cure. And if there are, do humans have medicines for them?”

现在, 在他们回来的那些话之后十年,,en,菲比不再和他在一起了,,en,她表现出了天生的诚实,并告诉他,他们之间的爱已经消失了,,en,他们没有从孟买飞过,,en,他和许多其他人一起乘坐火车前往Palghat,,en,喜欢在他的童年,,en,在第二节课,,en,两天的旅程,,en,当火车驶向Palghat时,小山,树林,河流和村庄在窗口缓缓驶过,,en,旧的家庭住宅不再存在,,en,于是他在一家酒店休息,第二天早上出发前往Kanjikad,,en,他在十年前的最后一次旅行中的脾气暴躁现在消失了,,en,他们觉得他的和平正在传播给乘客甚至是风景,,en,吉普司机也是友善的化身,,en,艰苦的旅行,,en. Phoebe was not with him any more. She showed her natural honesty and told him that the love between them had dried out. Theyunni did not fly from Bombay. He took the train to Palghat along with numerous other people. Like in his childhood, in second class. Two day journey. Hills and woods and rivers and villages slowly went by in the window as the train ambled towards Palghat. The old family house was no longer there. So he rested in a hotel and set out for Kanjikad the next morning. His gruffiness during the last journey ten years ago had disappeared now. Theyunni felt that his peacefulness was spreading to the fellow passengers and even the landscapes.

The Jeep driver also was friendliness personified.

“Hard trip, isn’t it, Driver?”

“罗, 我们已经习惯了这些,,en,有点担心你的麻烦,,en,就这些。,,en,兄弟的围栏和台阶出现在远处,,en,在那边,,en,驱动程序。,,en,孤立的房子,,en,Ponnuswami正在旁边等着,,en,他下台欢迎他们,,en,他们看着对方,,en,Ponnuswami擦了擦眼泪,,en,他让我不要发电报,,en,这就是为什么我写了一封信。,,en,Ponnuswami说,,en,对不起。,,en,一点也不,,en,你尊重兄弟的意愿,,en,我明白。,,en,Ponnuswami走到后院,,en,有一个小情节,其中一个,,en,Thulasi,,ta,植物开始生根,,en,它附近的灰烬残余物,,en,就是这个,,en,骨头掉在了Peroor河里,,en,如果你想做其他一些仪式,,en,他说不需要任何仪式,,en,他把这些仪式连根拔起了,,en,我没有受过教育,,en. A little worried about your trouble, that is all.”

Brother’s fences and steps appeared at a distance.

“Over there, Driver.”

“Isolated house, isn’t it, Sir?”


Ponnuswami was waiting by the house. He stepped down to welcome Theyunni. They looked at each other; Ponnuswami wiped his tears.

“He had asked me not to telegram, that is why I wrote a letter instead.” Ponnuswami said, “I am sorry.”

“Not at all, you were respecting Brother’s wishes. I understand.”

Ponnuswami walked over to the backyard. There was a small plot where a Thulasi plant was beginning to take root. Ash remnants of the pyre around it.

“This is it,” Ponnuswami said. “The bones were dropped in the Peroor river. If there are some other rituals you want to do… 但,…”

“是的, Ponnuswami?”

“He said that no rituals were necessary. That he had uprooted the rituals. I am not educated, 只是以为他在谈论一些神圣的国家。,,en,那一定是他的意思。,,en,Sreekumar即将到来,,en,我从孟买打来电话给他,,en,他不来了,,en,他告诉了我一件事,,en,这片土地和房子适合你。,,en,Ponnuswami已经超越了这些属世的事物,,en,他也告诉过我同样的事情,,en,我不想告诉你,,en,我不需要任何这个,,en,你或Sreekumar可以出售这些,,en,兄弟的愿望,,en,我们必须尊重他们。,,en,如果你坚持。,,en,你有几个孩子,,en,四。,,en,这将是他们成长的好地方。,,en,Ponnuswami再次鞠躬,,en,如果你想回来住在这里,,en,我和我的家人会为你离开这里。,,en,那不是必要的,,en,Ponnuswami。,,ta,我不配住在这里,,en,他们对自己说,,en”

“That must be what he meant.”

“Is Sreekumar coming up?”

“I had telephoned him from Bombay. He is not coming. He had told me one thing — that this land and house are for you.”

Ponnuswami had gone beyond such earthly things. “He also had told me the same thing; I didn’t want to tell you. 但, I don’t need any of this. You or Sreekumar could sell these…”

“Brother’s wishes, Ponnuswami. We must respect them.”

“好, if you insist.”

“How many children do you have?”


“好, this will be a good place for them to grow up in.”

Ponnuswami bowed once again, “If you ever want to come back and live here, my family and I will get out of here for you.”

“That won’t be necessary, Ponnuswami.”

I don’t deserve to live here, Theyunni said to himself. 他们回到了房子里,,en,你休息一下,,en,我会从田里给你一个年轻的椰子。,,en,司机正在外面等待吉普车,,en,让他进去,喝点东西。,,en,当Ponnuswami带来年轻的椰子,,en,他们说,,en,你现在可以回家了,,en,如果你喜欢,,en,我很好。,,en,Ponnuswami离开了,,en,他们对司机说,,en,你认为你可以在这里过夜吗?,,en,司机通过沉默表达了他的不同意见,,en,我们出发时没有那样计划,,en,这是兄弟的家,,en,我来这里是因为他去世了,,en,以前无法到达这里。,,en,司机转过身来,,en,他们继续说道,,en,感觉就像在这里睡了一晚。,,en,司机的分歧在默默地消失了,,en,我可以留下来。,,en,我可以付给你任何你想要的东西。,,en,那不是必要的。,,en.

“You take rest. I will get you a young coconut from the fields.”

“The driver is waiting in the Jeep outside. Ask him to come inside and have something to drink.”

When Ponnuswami brought the young coconuts, Theyunni said, “You can go home now, if you like. I’m fine.”

Ponnuswami left. Theyunni said to the driver. “Do you think you can stay here overnight?”

The driver expressed his disagreement through silence.

“Didn’t plan that way when we set out,” Theyunni said. “This is Brother’s house. I came here because he died, couldn’t get here before.”

The driver turned attentive. Theyunni continued, “Feel like sleeping here for a night.”

The driver’s disagreement melted away silently. “I can stay.”

“I can pay you whatever you want for staying.”

“That won’t be necessary.”

时间变成红色,落在山顶上,,en,他们走了进去,穿过了兄弟的木箱,,en,三个白色mundu的,,en,清洗,,en,三条棉披肩和两条毛巾,,en,他们的悲伤滴落在他们身上,,en,当他上床睡觉,,en,他不再伤心了,,en,一种满足的悲伤,,en,实现爱与传统,,en,他和童话般的童话故事一起睡了,,en,深夜,,en,他醒了,,en,他听着风的音乐,,en,过了这个夜晚,,en,这将是回城的旅程,,en,他们可以在风中感受到兄弟的善意,,en,风吹过未知的声音,,en,Manthras,,ml,这标志着那种仁慈和生命的终结,,en,遥远的婴儿声音,,en,一个充满神圣耳语的夜晚,,en,这是,,en,理由,,en,一生,,en,他们听了耳语,睡了一觉,,en,等待早晨,,en. Theyunni went inside and went through Brother’s wooden box. Three white mundu’s, laundered, three cotton shawls and two towels. Theyunni’s sadness dripped into them. When he went to bed, he was not sad any more, a kind of gratified grief. A fulfillment of love and traditions. He slept with the childhood dreams of fairy tales. Late in the night, he woke up. He listened to the music of the winds. After this night, it would be the trip back to the city. Theyunni could feel Brother’s kindness in the winds. The winds muttered the unknown *Manthras that marked the end of that kindness and life, some *distant baby voices… A night full of sacred whispers, this was the *justification of lifetime.

Theyunni listened to the whispers and slept, awaiting the morning.