Spy Story – Generations

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Dileep
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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 23 Jan 2010 08:41

The meeting of the royal court did not clear the matters much. The possibilities of the various interested parties, like the neighbouring kingdoms and the european powers were analyzed. The involvement of Nediyirippu was straightaway ruled out by the king. Ramunny Menon had been working with his counterparts at Nediyirippu to exert influence on their king to get an amicable settlement to the disputes. The signals from there had been encouraging, so they would not wish any harm on Ramunny.

However, it opens up one possibility. Nediyirippu politics is controlled by a number of feudal lords. IT is a known fact that Thinayancheri Elayathu, the head strong general of the kingdom, is against any settlement with Vettom. The ageing man is still fuming on the memories of his defeat at the last war, where Koma Kurup had razed down his troops, and sent him home in disgrace. There could be more of the lords who think like Elayathu, who wanted harm to Ramunny.

Perumpadappu was the ally, but any settlement that Vettom does with Nediyirippu would upset that alliance. What Ramunny was trying to achieve was to get all three kingdoms into a settlement. Paliyathu Achan, the minister who was more powerful than the king of Perumpadappu, was tooth and nails against this setup. In fact he had been systematically sidestepping every effort that Ramunny made in this regard.

The British were the ones who originally proposed the settlement. When they sent messengers to Kerala Varma with that suggestion, the king had, in no uncertain terms, declared that he will not go for any kind of settlement. But as times, and kings change, the same initiative came from Vettom itself, they wholeheartedly backed it up. They admired Ramunny Menon.

Parappanad, the kingdom to the northeast, had been reduced to a crony of Nediyirippu, so they had no independent stance in politics. So, as the royal court looked at the options, they couldn't find any motive by any of the political powers to mess with Ramunny Menon.

Then, was the motive personal?

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 23 Jan 2010 08:47

Folks, posting entirely in Malayalam here at BRF is out of question. (can I ever disappoint Guru Ramana and the Bongal Breaper? :lol: ) I had considered running a parallel stream in a blog. But that would be too taxing to manage, given that the slack at work that causes SS-2 is no longer there.

So, English it is for time being. Maybe a snippet or two of malayalam conversations like once did.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Krita » 23 Jan 2010 12:22

The fic was quite interesting so far. Great work, Dileep.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby arjun_vs » 23 Jan 2010 20:38

Dileep wrote:Folks, posting entirely in Malayalam here at BRF is out of question. (can I ever disappoint Guru Ramana and the Bongal Breaper? :lol: ) I had considered running a parallel stream in a blog. But that would be too taxing to manage, given that the slack at work that causes SS-2 is no longer there.

So, English it is for time being. Maybe a snippet or two of malayalam conversations like once did.

Thank u sir. Hope u would start your blog soon.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 24 Jan 2010 10:13

The litter was so only in the name. It was almost like a palaquin. The chamber was made exclusively of the choicest rose wood, and embellished with ivory inlays and silver trims. Since the use of palaquin was a privilege conferred by the sovereign, the magnificent chamber was suspended by straps from the bearing poles, instead of mounted by brackets as in a palaquin. Arackal Kunjunni Menon got it built when his nephew-in-law became the crown prince. He did lobby hard to get the privilege of palaquin conferred upon him, but Kerala Varma did not deign to grant it. Poor Parukutty, the prince's consort, was the one who got stuck in between. Copious amounts of The most powerful feminine weapon, the tears, were deployed at the prince's palace. One should not blame the prince, for he did try his level best to lobby with his uncle, the king, but all efforts were in vain.

Kunjunni Menon had started the construction in anticipation of the grant, so he had to change the design a bit to make it into a litter rather than a palaquin. To whomsoever came handy, he justified it by saying that the straps gave a less bumpy ride. However, what really pissed off Kunjunni was that he was not permitted to use gold to embellish the contraption. That was a royal privilege by long standing tradition. Even he wouldn't consider breaking the tradition. So, the British Sovereigns, freshly delivered under escort from Nediyirippu, went into the coffers, and silver was used for the trimming work. A carpenter, trained at the British fort at Thalassery, brought cans of choice lacquer and the result of the coating on the hand polished rose wood was phenomenal. Even the prince was impressed, and considered getting his own palaquin re-coated in lacquer. Somehow, this never happened.

The poles, made out of choice 'poovam' wood were stored away in a barn near the palace. Kunjunni Menon expected to use it in a couple of years.

The litter was born by eight men, instead of the customary four. All those rosewood made the litter a bit heavy, and the huge frame of Kunjunni Menon didn't help in the gross weight either. Four men couldn't have reliably born it, but that might not have been a concern for the lord. Eight bearers were, once again an implicit privilege that came along with the palaquin, but Kunjunni Menon took the weight as a loophole to get a foot in into the privilege. Only Azhvancherry Thambrakkal, the spiritual head of namboothiris, had the palaquin privilege, and the ascetic man would be the last one to worry about Kunjunni Menon sneaking into the domain.

The loud 'Hum-Ho' call of the bearers reverberated in the air, as the litter approached the Arackal house. It was originally a 'nalu kettu', a small building of four sections. A few years ago it was expanded into a big complex, with sixteen sections. Work was going on to build a new, much bigger, gate house, suitable to the home of the royal consort. It had started well before the actual ascension to the title by the heiress of the house. All one would say was, the purpose came true soon enough.

Kunjunni Menon was coming back from Vettom, after the royal coronation of Ravi Varma, his nephew-in-law. He felt like a king, returning to his castle after a successful military campaign. The bearers let the litter down in front of the gate-house, and the huge frame of Kunjunni Menon got out of it. He stood there, like the temple elephant carrying the deity in procession. The servants and officers of his estate had assembled around to receive the lord. Raman Nair, the chief of staff, walked briskly towards the lord and bowed.

“Everything went auspicious alltogether?” He asked with a bow.

“Yes, Rama. Everything went as it should be.” Kunjunni Menon replied and started his regal stroll into the house.

“Isn't the royal consort, and the majesty doing well?”

“They are doing well”. Raman knew it was the end of conversation.

Kunjunni Menon turned to the bath-house to cleanse him off the taint of the journey.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Klaus » 24 Jan 2010 18:12

Dileep sir, I do not know if you follow Tamil cinema at all but Kamal Hassan is attempting to make "Marmayogi", a movie based in the 8th century AD Tamil Nadu/Kerala and "Maruthanayagam", a period movie based on the life of Maruthanayagam Pillai or Mhd Yusuf Khan also in Tamil Nadu. Also he is filming "19th Step", a Malayalam martial arts movie dealing with Kalaripayattu.

My humble request is to incorporate tidbits of maaya, magic, tantric powers, black magic, depiction of Aghoris, patriotism, foresight of the heroes (which would involve their vision of unifying Jambudveepa/Bhaaratanadu), various martial arts (Varmakalai, Kalaripayattu and their export to foreign lands such as Thailand, Burma, China, Japan) as well as interaction with Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, the French, Dutch, Portugese and of course the supervillian Brits!

Please feel free to include the whole of South India and Deccan plateau in your analysis, for additional spice you could throw in Krishnadevaraya, Tenali Raman and Maratha Sivaji as well as the villianous Bahamanis.

All in all, waiting for a sumptuos Kerala style "virindhu" with Adai, Avial, Porial, Kootu etc. :D

Thanks and keep up the stupendous work!

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 25 Jan 2010 10:56

Raman Nair looked critically at the man standing, respectfully stooped, in front of him. He was muscular and well built. A bit taller than the average, the longish head seemed to accentuate the stature. The thick neck ended in broad muscular shoulders, from which long and heavy hands were slung limply. The broad chest and flat abdomen without any trace of fat showed that he is used to a lot of physical activity.

If he was not in the ragged clothes and lousy hair, he could have been thought to be a soldier.

“Is he really deaf?” Raman Nair asked the aide standing nearby.

“Yes. He can't hear anything, and we can't understand what he says”. Explained the aide.

“Is it true? Are you short of hearing?” Raman Nair turned to the man.

“Eh? Eh” The man asked dumbly.

“Are you short of hearing” Raman repeated loudly. The man looked intently to the moving lips.

“Ah, Ai amuh heeya nuffn” The man said loudly, almost to a yell.

“Then why did you understand what I asked?” Raman asked, more as a joke.

“Eh? Eh” the mas asked again. Raman repeated the question, loud and slow.

“Ai hknow by hlips hmoving”. Said the man, ernestly.

“What is his name?” Raman Nair asked the aide.

“Govindan”. The aide answered. The man was looking from man to man.

“Ah, hgondhan.” He confirmed.

“What caste?”

“He is a nair.” The aide said.

“Well, Govindan, how did you loose your hearing?”

“While hyoung, had hfever”.

“Poor thing. Then, Krishna, let him stay around. Looks strong in body. Let him do the outside work. If nothing else, he can get his food without begging.” Raman gave his decision. Govindan looked from man to man to understand what was being said.

“Did you understand? You can stay.” Raman told the man again, loud and slow.

Poor Govindan's eyes started running with happiness. He promptly prostrated in front of the lord, and his mumbling became totally undecipherable.

“Hey, Govindan, get up! Get up.” Krishnan pulled him up. Govindan saluted Raman Nair again and again and stood there, bowed.

“Ok, you can go. Raman Nair said with a clear gesture for him to leave. Govindan turned to leave.

As the poor man started walking, Raman Nair took the big brass chest that is used to carry pan in his hand. With his eyes fixed on the receding frame of Govindan, he dropped it on the floor.

There was a loud clang. The only person who didn't get startled was the stark deaf Govindan.

Raman Nair turned to Krishnan and smiled.

“The lord's cleverness is exemplary” Krishnan said appreciatively to his boss.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Kersi D » 25 Jan 2010 11:33

Dileep wrote:Folks,

I am starting the next novel. This time, I am not too sure about the acceptance or suitability to BRF. Following the advice of Rahul M, the staunchest supporter of my literary adventures, I am posting it here on GDF.

I recently read an old novel that is set to the period three centuries ago. There was a brief mention of spy work in that, which kindled my interest. A John Mathew have computers, cell phones and all other gizmoes. What did his counterpart do in the eighteenth century? At some point of time, I figured that it is worth to explore.

But the concern if it belongs to BRF remained. Would it interest the typical Jingo? What about the gizmo crazy ones? In fact I started off writing into a novel format instead of a forum format.

Then, the question arose, WHY do I write? Do I expect to publish it into a book? Would I get the same kind of excitement and satisfaction that I got from writing SS-1 and SS-2?

The answer was NO. I don't expect to publish a book, and writing something to be saved into an OpenOffice file ain't exciting at all.

So, I decided to ask. Now that I got a go ahead, here it goes. Feedbacks are most welcome. Post here, or e-mail to dileepks on gmail service.

Enjoy!



GO AHEAD

ALL THE BEST

K

Dileep
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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 25 Jan 2010 12:21

Link to the BLOG: http://thealternatelanguage.blogspot.com/

I will try to post the Malayalam version of some of the segments on this blog.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 25 Jan 2010 12:24

The title of this thread on the BR site main page has some special characters for the 'dash'

Spy Story – Generations

Can it be fixed?

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 26 Jan 2010 06:32

It was rather late in the night. Most parts of the Arackal house had plunged into darkness, as the inhabitants retired for the night. One window on the upstairs of the side building had light. Kunjunni Menon often sleeps late, as he had to deal with a lot of issues, both in administration of his lands and also in the politics of the country.

To the back of the main building, there was another small one. One side of it was a semi open shed to hold the dry coconuts and other sundry produce. The other side is enclosed into a room where the servants slept. The sole lamp burning lamp oil gave a flickering glare, as the servants, after a days hard work, spent a bit of personal time in chit chat. There was something special that day. Someone who just returned from the farmlands in the remote hills had brought a special gift. A bottle of country arrack. It is cold at the hills, and the only way to cope there is to consume some alcohol. They brew it there. The lords do not approve of it, but they often turn a blind eye. A bottle of the good stuff was often a good gift, along with other delicacies like wild honey.

The servants had to patiently wait for everyone to go to sleep before they take the bottle out. They were a bit concerned about Kunjunni Menon being awake, but they couldn't wait all night. They have to wake up early in the morning to start another day of grueling work. So, they decided to take the risk. The bottle passed around, with each person taking a swig. When it came to Govindan, he emphatically declined it, with a lot of inscrutable mumblings.

“Take it Deaf! It is only Arrack. Good stuff from the hills!” Coaxed Ayyappan Nair. He was the one who brought the bottle.

“Oh, leave The Deaf alone, Ayyappan! He is a breed apart”. Said Chaathu, as he grabbed the bottle.

“Where did the lord get this Deaf?” Asked Ayyappan Nair. He was surprised to see Govindan as a new member when he returned.

“Oh, he came around, and the lord took pity upon him.” Someone clarified.

“Where is he originally from?” Ayyappan asked.

“He said Vanneri.”

“He is nair, isn't it?” Ayyappan asked a bit apprehensively.

“Of course! Otherwise, would the lord allow him to be here? Anyway, even a blind could see that he is a nair.”. Said Gopalan, who had developed a bit of friendship with Govindan.

“How is that Gopalan? How can a blind see?” Ayyappan Nair asked with a laugh.

“What I meant is that he looks like a nair, not like certain people here.” Gopalan said sarcastically.

“What do you mean? Do you imply that I don't look like a nair?” Ayyappan asked indignantly.

“I didn't say that. There are four hundred sects of nairs anyway” Gopalan felt that his sarcasm took him too much.

“Yes, and I am a kiriyathu sect, the highest in the order” Ayyappan claimed.

“Of course, and is serving the edachery menons” Said Chathu, who had slyly took bigger swigs than the rest. He was referring to the slightly less stature of the Arackal family.

“Who says Arackal family is still edachery? Didn't the king take his consort from here?” Ayyappan nair vehemently defended the honour of his lord.

“That is the good fortune of Parukutty Amma” Gopalan said.

“Or the good tactics of the lord?” Chathu asked.

“Both. Is there anything less with Parukutty Amma? Isn't she worthy for a king?” Gopalan asked.

“That is true. What a regal woman that our lady had grown into. I can still see her in my mind, as a little girl, running around playing in the yard.” Said Naanu Nair, who emptied the bottle.

“But he wouldn't have become royal consort if the expired king and the prince were still around”. Chathu mused.

“Well, one decays and fertilizes another” Gopalan said.

“It is also true that branches are cut down to fertilize the soil” Chathu said.

“Chaathu, take care of your head!” Warned Ayyappan Nair. That is an expression, since the punishment from treason was chopping the head off.

“And what did I say for that? I didn't say nothing?” Chathu said innocently.

“Chaathu, already there is rumours and conspiracy theories about the king's assassination. Who knows there aren't spies listening to us now? So, be careful on what you say”. Ayyappan Nair said soberly, despite the arrack he consumed. He is used to the stuff now, so it took some good amount for him to get intoxicated.

“Well, the rumour mill always runs. People are jealous that our lady became the royal consort pretty quickly. That is all.”Naanu Nair said.

“Don't be so inocent, Naanu. People are seeing the messengers coming and going, and overhear conversations here.” Chaathu said.

“What messengers? And what conversations” Asked Ayyappan Nair.

“Messengers from across the borders. People aren't blind you know? They aren't deaf like Govindan either.” Chaathu explained.

“That is enough Chaathu. You are intoxicated.” Ayyappan tried to calm Chaathu.

“No. I will say what I saw! Nadamel Ramunny Menon goes north and comes back often. He stays here with the lord. Is that for nothing? And do you know how much gold he brings in?” Chaathu's voice was rising.

“I am not taking part in this treason, Chaathu. You say what you want, and I take no part in it.” Ayyappan Nair straightened his mat and lied down.

For some more time, Chaathu went on in a monologue on what he saw, heard and speculated. The other men kept quiet, trying to sleep.

All the time, Govindan, the Deaf, was lying like a log, apparently asleep. Surprisingly, he was not snoring, like he used to.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby SwamyG » 27 Jan 2010 05:31

“Well, one decays and fertilizes another” Gopalan said.

That is a pearl.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 27 Jan 2010 07:08

The rhythmic clatter of the horse hooves drew the attention of the servants who were resting after their forenoon meal. Even in the well to do families, there were only two meals. One before noon and the other after sunset. Children sometimes take an afternoon meal as well. For the servants, the forenoon meal is the main food intake of the day. They are allowed rest till the sun turns down a bit. At the Arackal house, they normally occupied the verandah of the shed where they slept. Some even went in to sneak a nap, but most sat outside, protected by the ample shade of the trees in the yard.

The roads, or rather trails, of those days were devoid of any kind of pavement. They were pathways where the soil is compacted by the countless feet that pass them. Horses were a rare commodity, and almost exclusively owned by the royal establishment. They were used only when some urgent need arises. Seeing a horse at the Arackal area was not that uncommon, since the place lay at a strategic position between Vettom and Nediyirippu. People still got distracted when they hear or see the horse though, as it was still a novel site.

The hooves made a muted thmp on the hardened soil, rather than the sharp crack usual for paved surfaces. It was trotting up from the road going to Nediyirippu. The servants turned their heads to the road, visible beyond the gate house and looked to try identify the rider. No one noticed that the deaf Govindan also turned his head and looked. Maybe he saw the others looking.

“It is Ramunny Menon”. Observed Chaathu.

“Where is he coming from now?” Gopalan wondered.

“Is it to ask? From Nediyirippu” Chaathu's voice was a bit sharp.
“How do you know?”

“I guessed. He is coming from that direction”. Chaathu said in a retreating tone.

“Ramunny Menon is the Majesty's servant. He will go anywhere as needed” Gopalan said.

“Why? Going to Nediyirippu could also be for the Majesty”. Naanu Nair intervened.

“Nediyirippu is no longer our enemy. You must understand that.” Gopalan said in a patronizing tone.

“Nediyirippu is always an enemy of Vettom. The Majesty not being able to understand that doesn't make it not so!”. Chaathu said with gusto.

“Chaathu, you take care of your head, son” Gopalan said, as the horse approached the gate house.

“Hwho sthaat?” Deaf Govindan asked, not to anyone in particular.

“Don't you know? Nadamel Ramunny Menon. Close associate of the Majesty.” Gopalan explained.

“What?” The deaf asked again.

“Oh.. I forgot that one should burst a firecracker for him to hear.” Gopalan cursed, and turned to the deaf. “Nadamel Ramunny Menon”, he said loud and slow.

“Hwamunny hMenmon”, the deaf nodded.

Ramunny Menon got down from the horse. The well built six feet muscular figure was a sight to behold, close to the equally muscular arabian thoroughbred. His ample, jet black hair was brought up, and bundled into a knot o the side, as per the custom of nairs of those days. The broad forehead shone in the sun, adorned with the beads of sweat. The sandalwood paste mark on the forehead is almost washed away by the sweat, but the red vermillion spot in the middle is still seen clearly. The thick eyebrows are joined in the middle, forming a continuous shade over the piercing eyes. One who ever met the man will not forget the eyes. As one could not distinguish between the black iris and the pupil in the centre, one gets the impression of a big pupil, driving an element of primordial fear.

He stretched his hands imperceptibly. Even such a warrior and horseman would get affected by the prolonged ride across the rough terrain. The ample muscles on the long arms twitched. The off white mundu, as the technique for bleaching and dyeing were not easily available, formed the simple attire. The shawl was tied around the waist while riding. He removed the shawl and put it on his shoulder.

One of the servants on orderly duty at the gate took the reigns.

“Did the lord finish his meals” Ramunny asked the question apt for the time of day.

“The lord is not here right now. Jaathavedan 'thirumeni' of Akathedam mana is sick. The lord has gone to visit him.” The servant said. “Where may be the young lord coming from?” He asked as a matter of courtesy with a smile.

“It is the majesty's work, Sanku. One have to go places.” Ramunny Menon smiled at the servant, and started his walk to the side building of Kunjunni Menon. The servants had lost interest in him, and had gone back to what they were doing.

Except the deaf Govindan. He was intensely staring at the visitor all the time. When Ramunny Menon almost reached the side building, as if by instinct, he stopped and took a look around the yard. His gaze rested at the servants for a moment before proceeding further around.

Within a fraction of a second, his gaze came back to the servants and stayed there for a moment. Then he shook his head as if to cancel some thought, and took the step to the verandah of the side house.

No one heard the mild sigh the deaf let out.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 28 Jan 2010 06:27

The deaf Govindan seemed restless after the evening meal. In those parts of the world in those days, people relieved themselves in the open yards. This was never considered a problem, because the yards were a-plenty, and people were less. The servents noticed that Govindan vanished into the yards beyond a few times.

“What Govinda? Stomach upset?” Gopalan asked.

“No. hshtomak hpain onlee”. Govindan said with a shy smile.

“Go tell Samu Pattar at the kitchen. Get some boiled buttermilk. That should cure you”. The ever paternal Gopalan advised.

“Eh, Eh?” Poor deaf Govindan didn't get it.

“Kitchen.. Samu Pattar... Buttermilk..” Gopalan went through the motion of drinking, trying to get his idea across to the deaf man.

“Buttermilk no work. Hginger. Hginger work.” The deaf said.

“Go get the ginger then.” Gopalan left the ungrateful deaf to mind his own business.

Night fell. After lying down and turning around for some time, Govindan got up once again. Giving an apologetic smile to everyone, he walked out of the hall, into the dark yard.

“Hey, take a lamp” Chaathu called after him. The deaf didn't hear that.

“Deaf people have better eyesight, you know?” Naanu Nair observed.

Govindan walked straight for a few minutes and stopped. He closed his eyes and stood there for a few minutes. He then opened them, and by rotating his head, methodically scanned the surroundings many times. Satisfied that he is alone and no one is observing him, he turned off from the trail, and very slowly walked to the side. His gaze intently fixed right in front of his foot. The walk was like a tightrope walk, because he avoided stepping on the dead leaves. This exercise brought hm close to the side house of the complex, where the lord, Arackal Kunjunni Menon, lived. He went close to the building, and sat down at a clearing, around twenty feet away from the building.

From the folds of his mundu, he took out a small contraption. It was conical, around six inches in length, and an inch and a half in diameter at the wide end. It was made of copper, and the wide end flared like a flower. He carefully removed the rags that were stuffed inside to prevent the thin and delicate metal from deforming. He then lifted it up and inserted the tiny tube at the small end into his right ear. He turned the face away, pointing the device directly at the side house.

He then went into a meditation mode.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 28 Jan 2010 06:29

I made a view count as usual. 244 views in the past day. Not bad at all. What I miss is feedback.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby ramana » 28 Jan 2010 07:59

Ah listening device!

Good job so far. Holds the interest. You are slowly raising the curtain. Every time, I see the index page with your name I hopefully click expecting a new episode.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby BajKhedawal » 28 Jan 2010 09:05

Fantastic read, your stories have taken the form of nasha, daily dose required. Over dose fine, under dose not fine.

:) Other than that, would love to find a reference to the scholarly Khedawal’s who have been known to travel back and forth from Gujarat. :)


P.S. Where's the blood and gore?

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby merlin » 28 Jan 2010 11:57

You don't need feedback. Excellent work so far, invokes the flavours of those times. Slow build up is also good. This is turning out into one heck of a story.

Sanku
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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Sanku » 28 Jan 2010 21:23

So far I have liked it better than SS-1 and SS-2 (and that is not due to choice of names)

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby ramana » 28 Jan 2010 21:37

Dileep wrote:
ramana wrote:Dileep would Ravi Varma's paintings suffice as the period is ~19th century as Tippu Sultan and the British fought in the early part of it?


The time period is around 1730-40. Mysore is under Nanjarajaiah/Devarajaiah brothers, with Wodeyar king as titular head. Hyder Ali is a teenager. British is based at Tellicherry, and are influencing the Zamorin king (Nediyirippu) of Calicut. The Dutch are based at Fort Cochin, and influencing the Cochin kingdom (Perumpadappu). Kingdom of Vettom is sandwiched between them. To the south, Marthanda Varma of Thripapur branch of Kulashekhara dynasty has just ascended to the throne of his small kingdom of Venad. He has just started his conquest of consolidation that would result in the creation of the great kingdom of Travancore.



So the future colonists are still traders.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 29 Jan 2010 06:13

The room was scarcely decorated. It was not a custom to do decorations at that time. The wooden cot, which was the size of a full bed of today, stood in the middle. It was equipped with a thin mattress, filled with wood cotton. There was a thin pillow of the same material. Thick and rough cotton sheets covered both. There was a big wooden trunk on one side. The large brass box that held the raw materials for pan was kept on a stand to the side of the bed. A low chair was placed in front of a 'writing box'. The box contained the stylus and the palm leaf strips used for writing. There was also a wad of paper, a quill and a bottle of ink. This was a gift from the British garrison, which was never used by the owner.

Arackal Kunjunni Menon entered his bedroom, followed by his personal servant Achutha Warrier. He had just finished his dinner. He was late to return from Akathedam mana, as the patient had turned for the worse when he was there. He had to wait to see if he passed away right then, but was disappointed because the old man pulled through for time being. Kunjunni Menon knew that he will have to make another trip soon, as old Jathavedan Namboothiri is not likely to go beyond the next day. He didn't like the man at all, but one need to discharge his societal obligations. Akathedathu mana was a rich one, and the owners of several temples in Kunjunni Menon's domain. In any case, he has the obligation to visit when the head of a brahmin family passed away.

He was more unhappy that he had to rush through the bath and prayers. But the mood improved when he knew that Ramunny Menon had arrived.

Kunjunni Menon was fond of Ramunny right from when the latter was a boy. When he married Nadamel Lakshmi Amma, Ramunny, the son of her elder sister Chirutheyi Amma, was seven. He was the oldest male of that family then, as both his uncles were killed in the war with Nediyirippu. Kunjunni Menon ended up playing the role of 'karanavar' of the family, and took up the responsibility of raising Ramunny. The sacrifice of his uncles didn't go unnoticed by the king. So, when it was time to pick friends for the young princes, Ramunny Menon was accepted into the circle. Kunjunni Menons pulling the strings hadn't got noticed by anyone either. From that point, Ramunny Menon steadily climbed the ladder of power at Vettom, with Kunjunni Menon's full blessings. If things go as they do right now, he might end up as the youngest prime minister of the kingdom.

That is, if the kingdom did exist long enough.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 30 Jan 2010 06:28

Achutha Warrier prepared to make the pan for his lord. It was no ordinary pan that the wealthy lord consumed. It was no less than the royal fare at the palace. In fact a sizeable chunk of the Kashmir saffron sent to the palace was diverted to Arackal House recently.

“Achuthan, prepare one for Ramunny as well.” Kunjunni Menon directed as he extended his hand for the bundle.

“Would the young lord take ganja in it?”. Kunjunni Menon had taken a liking to the weed after his visit to the kingdom of Kavalappara. Kavalappara was a minor kingdom to the east, ruled by a king who was Nair in caste. Kunjunni Menon, like many others in his caste, looked up to that king as inspiration to their aspirations. The choicest of the produce grew in his domains, so Kavalappara Mooppil, that was the title of the king, often gave away copious amounts to his friends.

“No. Boys shouldn't take it.” Menon laughed out loud, and Achutha Warrier respectfully smiled, as he went about assembling the vice.

Footsteps heard on the ladder leading to the upstairs. The door moved, and the handsome face of Ramunny Menon respectfully shown itself.

“Who's it? Rammunny? Come Come”. Kunjunni Menon invited the young man with a wide grin. “I was away at Akathedam Mana. Jathavedan Thirumeni is sick, you know?”

“I came to know. How is the sickness?” Ramunny asked, as he came in.

“Sit down, sit down! You can have a pan” Kunjunni Menon said as he beckoned Ramunny to a mat spread on a box. Ramunny obeyed, and Achutha Warrier gave him the rolled up pan. Ramunny took it, but didn't eat it right away.

“Sickness is critical only.” Continues Kunjunni Menon. “Krishna Warrier told me it will not pass tomorrow. Don't you know Krishna Warrier, the phycisian? Cherupulli Krishna Warrier! Disciple of Alathiyoor Nambi”

“I know him. Expert in treating 'vidradhi'*, isn't it you who got him to the palace to treat the princess?”

“Yes, that is him. The senior namboothiri have an 'anthar vidradhi' according to him. It will blow shortly and..” He made a gesture upward.

Ramunny didn't say anything. He looked first at Achutha Warrier, who was standing there like a dummy, and then at Kunjunni Menon's face.

“Achuthan can go, and no need to wait outside the room”. Kunjunni Menon ordered. Achutha Warrier bowed and went out.

“These days, Achuthan has a bit o inquisitiveness” He told Ramunny. Ramunny Menon nodded. He listened to the footsteps of Warrier die down on the stairs. Then he stood up, and walked to the window opening to the yard. He stood there for a minute, intensely looking into the darkness.

“What is is Ramunny? Anyone there?” Kunjunni Menon asked a bit anxiously.

“I am checking if any. These are unreliable times.” Ramunny Menon said, without taking his eyes off the yard.

“After becoming spy chief. You doubt everyone, Ramunny.” Kunjunni Menon flashed the special patronizing smile he reserved for Ramunny.

“Careful, and don't be sorry.” Ramunny said, turning back from the window.

“I felt there is a new face among the servants here.”

“New face? Maybe. Raman takes care of those things” Kunjunni Menon said nonchalantly.

Out in the yard, a figure sitting in padmasana on the floor, twitched.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Klaus » 31 Jan 2010 04:46

Dileep wrote:
“Sit down, sit down! You can have a pan” Kunjunni Menon said as he beckoned Ramunny to a mat spread on a box. Ramunny obeyed, and Achutha Warrier gave him the rolled up pan. Ramunny took it, but didn't eat it right away.

Out in the yard, a figure sitting in padmasana on the floor, twitched.


Dileep sir, minor nitpick. Just feel that calling it vethulai instead of pan will give the piece a slightly more authentic feel, this is one place i feel that we BRF's had a common language other than angrezi to discuss, it just does not do the narration any justice!

Oh, I hope the deaf Govindan doesnt think he's been spotted and make a mistake! Because the Ramunny Menon character surely appears very cunning, could he have orchestrated his own disappearance? Or are there other forces at play here? Of course, we need to wait for Dileep's next instalment to know!

Dileep sir, just a humble suggestion: Would it be possible to show how the Syrian Orthodox church plays its role?, I for one would really be interested as to how they managed to spread their roots in Northern Kerala, you could throw in some Muslim players from Lakshadweep and Maldives if possible as well.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Sachin » 01 Feb 2010 10:19

Klaus wrote:Dileep sir, just a humble suggestion: Would it be possible to show how the Syrian Orthodox church plays its role?, I for one would really be interested as to how they managed to spread their roots in Northern Kerala, you could throw in some Muslim players from Lakshadweep and Maldives if possible as well.

Not to derail the story. By "Northern Kerala" if you mean areas like Wayanad, remote parts of Kannur and Calicut Districts (primarily forest/uninhabitaed areas) the story is totally different. During the early 1900s there was a systematic attempt by Travancore Diwans (IIRC Sir C.P Ramaswamy Iyer) to persecute Christians. There were many laws which was unfavourable to them. This forced many of them to move to the uninhabited wild lands in Northen Kerala (which was part of British Malabar). Generally known as "കുടിയേറ്റ കൃസ്ത്യാനികൾ " (settler Christians) these hard working people withstood the onslaught of diseases,wild animals and the harsh forest terrain, made the area cultivatable and settled there. Today they may old some good amount of land, but most of them was was garnered through hardship and toil.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 01 Feb 2010 10:39

The tiny footsteps and the rattle of the leaves went unnoticed, so did the short huffs of the breath. The mutt, who made its living by sticking around and feeding on the ample food wasted, was taking its stroll. Like any high class family of the times, Arackal House didn't keep dogs. But it is quite usual to see a bunch of strays to hang around the sources of foods. Often some are befriended by the servants and get some element of affection, but mostly they stay well away from the humans. One reason why the humans didn't consider the dogs in good spirits is that the dogs had a tendency to savor human excreta. Of course in those days when sanitation was unheard of, the service of the stray dogs did keep the places a bit clean.

Stray dogs are very smart in general. This one sensed a human in sitting position, and for the animal, it meant only one thing. He decided to claim his prize before the other canines around does. In typical canine fashion, he started trotting in a roundabout track towards the human form seen squatting in the dark. Mutts always trotted or galloped. A healthy mutt never walks. If he does, that means it is considerably sick. The trotting feet created a good amount of noise on top of his puffing.

The man, sitting in padmasana and all his consciousness focussed into his right ear, and anything other than human voice is being filtered out by a trained brain, did not perceive the approaching mutt. It came closer and stood tentatively. It was a bit confused, because its keen sense of smell did not reveal any source of the matter it was expecting to find. Seeing the human unmoved, it inched forward very cautiously and sniffed the posterior of the figure.

The slightest touch of the mutts nose sent a startle up the spine of the man. He woke from the meditation in an instant, and reflexively did a parrying sweep with his right hand. The stroke landed on the cheek of the unsuspecting mutt. It let out a loud whine and fled.

The man cursed himself, and the darned dog. He had removed the listening device from his ear. Presently, without the aid of that, he heard footsteps from the room he was monitoring. He broke a cold sweat, and watched the figure of Ramunny Menon appear at the window. He froze.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 01 Feb 2010 10:43

Klaus, the story you see now is a 'reflection' on a 'mirror to the past'. The mirror can only distort a view. It can't create one. So, I am constrained from taking your valuable suggestions.

You will know why I stress this point when the story unfolds further.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby niran » 01 Feb 2010 14:01

whoa! never have read a better description of Dogs eating fecal matter.
magnificent!

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 01 Feb 2010 14:36


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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 02 Feb 2010 06:18

“If Nediyirippu collects toll at Poorappuzha, then would it matter if British carry the goods from Ponnani?” Kunjunni Menon asked.

“If we pay the toll from our account, then it doesn't.” Ramunny Menon smiled.

“Shouldn't we?” Kunjunni Menon didn't get the problem.

“Well, we had been delivering the goods at Ponnani, without any toll. Unless we can show that the barges of Nediyirippu is carrying the load from Ponnani, we can't justify the toll.” Ramunni tried to explain.

“But justify to whom?” asked an impatient Kunjunni Menon. The ganja flakes added to his pan by Achutha Warrier has started taking its effect.

“We need to mind the people, uncle” Ramuny tried to reason with the man.

“Who are the people? We have the king in our hand. What else we need”. Kunjunni Meon asked a bit impatiently.

“The toll collection is a very visible affair. We will need a good argument to convince the public.” Ramunny held on to his argument.

“Listen. The only person who should worry is Chaathara Menon, the minister of commerce. He is a crony to the British. He wouldn't mind if the British wouldn't mind. Now, the British won't object, will they?” Ramunny knew he was not making any headway with the man, so he decided to drop the issue for time being.

He was just back from a secret meeting with Vaarakkal Paara Nambi, the hereditary minister to Nediyirippu. One of the major irritants to Nediyirippu was the free trade that Vettom used to do over the port of Ponnani. Pepper and other valuable goods were transported via the Poorappuzha river down to Ponnani, and loaded into the ships. The southern shore of Ponnani was the territory under Nediyirippu. Of course, they claimed ownership of the whole port all the time. After the last war, trade on the north bank was unhindered for Vettom. This is what Nediyirippu wanted to change, with the help of Kunjunni Menon. They want to erect a toll gate at the mouth of the poorappuzha and collect toll from the vessels pass onto the Ponnani port. The British didn't mind it, if their total cot remained the same. Vettom will be the loser in this proposal, but that is the exact reason why Kunjunni Menon and Ramunny are involved.

“Nambi has promised seven percent of the proceeds to you, uncle.” Ramunny Menon tactfully changed the subject to something the man would like.

“My sonnie, you know that isn't enough. Didn't you talk about the seventeen hundred measures of fields? That is the first priority to me.”

After the war settlement, Kunjunni Menon had to forego a lot of paddy fields, precisely seventeen hundred measure, almost one hundred and seventy acres, of fields which were in Nediyirippu domain. Kerala Varma, the deceased king, ordered him to either be a loyal subject of Vettom, or migrate to Nediyirippu. Considering the value of the properties, Kunjunni had decided to stay at Vettom, but he never forgot the loss. Nediyirippu then gifted that parcel of land to Dharmothu Panicker, one of his ministers.

This brought some dilemma into the relationships. One of the main reasons for Kunjunni Menon to take part in the conspiracies was to recover his lost fortune. But the king of Nediyirippu had no reasonable way of taking the gift back. At some point of time, the king mentioned a grant of three times area of lowland fields.

Ramunny Menon still shudder remembering the violent reaction he got from Kunjunni Menon when he passed the message. The explosive 'bhhaaa' had sprayed him with pan residue. That too, full of ganja. Thereafter, he was very careful when dealing with the old man. The position of the spy chief and confidante of the king means nothing to Kunjunni Menon. He sees only Ramunny, the young boy he took under wings.

Both men got startled by the commotion from outside their window. There was a loud whine by a stray dog and rattle of leaves as the dog ran away. In an instant, Ramunny was on is feet. He dove to the window and opened the panes. Planting his face between the bars, he stared intently into the darkness outside.

“What is it Ramunny? It is only a dog.” Kunjunni Menon asked.

“Yes, a dog, but it whined and ran away” There was a gravity in Ramunny's voice that he never used in front of the old man.

“It ran away. So what?” Kunjunni Menon didn't get it.

“It ran away scared.” Ramunny was getting a bit irritated now. He need focus and concentration now.

“Maybe a snake or something.” Kunjunn Menon said dismissively. Ramunny wanted to yell “shut up” to the old man. He kept quiet and tried to focus his eyes and ears into the darkness outside.

“Then you take a lamp and look” Kunjunni Menon suggested. Ramunny didn't reply.

“Hey sonnie. Didn't you hear! Take the lamp!” In those days, the youngers were expected to reply to whatever the elders told them. Ramunny's silence irritated Kunjunni Menon to no extent.

Ramunny Menon took his face away from the window and faced the old man.

“Uncle, a lamp is useless to see farther. We spys can see and hear things ordinary people can't. I beg you to please keep quiet for a minute. Let me make sure that there is no evesdropper around.

Kunjunni Menon was a bit taken aback, and ashamed of himself by the direct and firm, but humble approach by the man. He nodded in agreement and went silent. Ramunny Menon went back to the window.

During this short duration of time, there was some more rattle from outside, and everything went silent before Ramunny went back to the window. He silently cursed the stupid old man who intervened. He spend almost five minutes in vain, and then came back.

“Did you see anything?” Kunjunni Menon, who was almost holding his breath, asked.

“No. I think it is nothing” Ramunny didn't want to explain things and waste his time with the old man.

“I am feeling a bit sleepy. Ramunny can go an sleep. When are you leaving for Vettom?” Kunjunni Menon asked.

“Tomorrow itself” Ramunny said, and took his leave from the old man's chamber.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dilbu » 02 Feb 2010 14:00

Saare was keeping quiet to avoid interruptions to the flow of the thread. The attention to details is awesome onlee. I can picture the whole thing like a movie. I am yet to read your blog. Expect more comments there.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 02 Feb 2010 16:28

Malayalam version of the above post: http://thealternatelanguage.blogspot.com/2010/02/blog-post_02.html
I am not native 'tirurish' speaker. Anyone good at that dialect, please comment on the blog.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dilbu » 02 Feb 2010 17:47

I am not native 'tirurish' speaker.

I am. Would be glad to help. :)

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 05 Feb 2010 06:42

Gopalan Nair was surprised to see Govindan, the Deaf at the bath house in the morning. Bath houses are built on the banks of ponds. They are built over the steps leading to the water, with the roof extending further. It is designed in such a way that the bathers will not be seen by anyone standing on the banks. If the shape or structure of the pond was in such a way to allow a view, poisonous or thorny plants and trees will be grown at that location. People used the bath houses attached to the temples or the palace. The Arackal house had three bath houses. One for the women folk, one for the men folk and another for outsiders. In the mornings there will be some rush at the bath house.

Govindan was sitting at the outside verandah of the bath house. It was still dark and Gopalan didn't recognize him first. His queries for the identity of the person went unanswered, so he went closer to see who it was.

“Hey Govindan! Is it you?” Gopalan asked loudly. “When did you come back yesterday?”

“Ah, Hgopalan hBrother? Hbathhouse hBusy! Hnamboothiri Inside” Govindan said.

“How is your stomach, Govindan?” Gopalan asked. Govindan didn't reply, as he couldn't lip read in the darkness. Gopalan tapped his shoulder to draw his attention and made gestures pointing to his stomach.

“hShtomack hBetter. Hpain gone.” Govindan said.

Gopalan had waited for some time after Govindan went to the yard the previous night. He was concerned about the poor Deaf. The place is full of snakes. He himself had seen one a few weeks ago. The Deaf had not returned till he went asleep. When he woke up, he looked for Govindan but didn't find him. Fearing the worst, he was planning to make a search after taking the bath. He was relieved to see Govindan safe and sound.

By the time, three or four Namboothiris finished their bath, and came out, whispering their chants. Seeing the bathhouse available, both of them went in to take their plunge.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 06 Feb 2010 06:25

The melodious chime of the small silver bells of the anklets was repeating rhythmically. The tmuted clang of heavy gold ornaments and the murmur of well starched clothes made a nice accompaniment to the melody. The perfume of freshly picked jasmine, and other assorted flowers preceded. The temple yard itself appeared to sway in a ripple on the grand arrival.

Puthankara Lakshmi Amma entered the yard. At the titillating age of early twenties, she was the cause of much heartburn and sleepless nights for the young men in the Arackal area. Every pair of eyes, from the septuagenarian Ittunni Warrier, who made flower garlands for the temple, to the young Namboothiri boys sitting and reciting the vedas at the gate house, all turned to see the epitome of feminine charm as they knew.

The dark hair, tied in the traditional side knot, was glistening with the oil treatment and giving ample contrast to the roundish face. A string of jasmine flowers adorned the knot, with an end hanging down and swinging lightly to the step near the earlobes. The long and playful eyes, and the thin brows that guard them, were accentuated with kajal. The sandalwood paste applied to the forehead was still damp with the perspiration. A pair of thick 'thoda's encrusted with white stones hung from the earlobes, reflecting the sun to the delicate rosy cheeks. The cherry red lips, without the assistance of pan, were spread a little, which some admirers considered to be a sign of general sarcasm in their directions. There was a single thick golden chain adorning the neck. The pendant of the same was a thick round cylindrical piece, with vines and flowers sculpted on them. The pendant kept hitting the ample bosom, as if trying break them free of the bindings with the rough clothes. According to the tradition, Lakshmi Amma wore a simple mundu around the bosom, which did not give much support. In those days, clothes were made of rough cotton, and almost always starched. This let the layers of clothing to stick apart, giving much of the anatomy inside to the imagination. The ankles, laced with the silver anklet was the only visible part of the lower body. Barefeet, her walk might have been termed unattractive by the modern day observers, but in those ages, when the norm of lion like posterior and elephant like gait was considered feminine, Lakshmi Amma was an ideal specimen for the same.

“Chaathu, are you seeing Lakshmi Amma for the first time? Mind your hand.” Gopalan Said. They were scraping coconuts for the temple offering. Chaathu was intently looking at the spectacle in front of him, while his hands were busy turning the coconut half over the scraper blade.

“Not the first time, and not the last time either. What is there with you, Gopalan Brother?” Chaathu took his gaze back and smiled at Gopalan.

“If you hurt your hand and bleed into the coconut, all those will go tainted and waste. That's all.” Gopalan said.

“This Chaathu can scrape coconuts blindfolded.” Boasted Chaathu. No one took that up.

“Today she got a special radiance” Commented Sanku.

“How it won't be there? Ramunny Menon came yesterday, right?” Chaathu asked.

“Is Ramunny Menon settled there?” Sanku asked with fake innocence

The Deaf Govindan, who was scraping the coconuts without looking up, pushed the accumulated scrapes on the blade into the plantain leaf and looked up at the woman. She had already reached the base of the flagpole by then. She saluted the figure of the holy bull at the base of the flagpole, and prepared to go in.

“He isn't settled or anything, but he sleeps at her place whenever he is at Arackal”. Chaathtu said.

“Oh, palace secret is town gossip. We all know that. I was asking if Ramunny Menon formally married her or something”. Sanku explained.

“Why marry? After her husband ran away, it was open season for him” Chaathu said.

“But doesn't he have a wife at Vettom?” Gopalan asked.

“Yes, but that is at Vettom, not here.” Chaathu said and grinned with sarcasm.

“Well, why do we bother? Is there anything amiss about Ramunny? There is wealth. There is position” Gopalan said.

“Still, chasing off her husband and..” Chaathu begun.

“Shh.. Chaaththu. You will loose your head one day. Gopalan stopped the young man in mid sentence.

The Deaf Govindan was still staring at the temple entrance, where the lady had vanished.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 08 Feb 2010 05:59

It was a small 'naalukettu', ie house with four wings, built according to the traditional architecture. Nalukettus are built square in shape, with four buildings on four sides and an empty courtyard in the middle. They can be built to various sizes. Wealthy families often made ettukettu by building one around another. The walls were made of wood panels, and the roof was made with paddy straw.

Puthankara house was rather new. The original family name, when they wee living at Alathiyoor, was something else. Two generations ago, a lord at Arackal family married into their house. As the elder menfolk of the family died, he brought his wife and a few surviving of the family over, and built the new house for them. At the time of this story, there are only two women, Parvati Amma and her daughter Lakshmi Amma, living there. Lakshmi is yet to provide either a heir, or a lord to the family. She was married to Parangod Rama Kurup at an early age, but he went missing almost an year ago. There were suitors a plenty after that, but despite pressure from Parvati Amma, Lakshmi had been averting every one of them. She seemed happy living with her mother and a few loyal servants. Thelakkatt Narayani Amma was her maid, friend and confidante. She was from a poor family nearby, which lived off the kindness of Puthenkara family.

Soon after Rama Kurup went missing, gossip mongers around Arackal went into overdrive. Nadamel Ramunny Menon, the favourite of Arackal Kunjunni Menon and a raising courtier at Vettom court was allegedly seen making visits to Puthenkara house. It was not unusual for the times, but gossip was not much different even in those days. News spread from bathing ghat to dining hall to temple. Some loafers even watched the area, and claimed to see the visits. Some even dared to ask Narayani, the maid about it, but never cared to tell about the results of the adventure. Threats to hit with broomsticks are not a particularly pleasant experience to recount. After some time, it became old news, and gossip looses value faster than anything else.

Ramunny Menon didn't care. It was unknown if Kunjunni Menon knew. It is unlikely that he didn't. Definitely they didn't talk about it.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 09 Feb 2010 06:27

It was a full moon night. The cloudless sky had a rare brilliance, and only the brightest of the stars peeked through the silky grey canopy. The yard was well lit, except under the trees. The only dark place was the bunch of trees off to the eastern side. The river to the north shone silvery in the bright moonlight. A few lamps from the houses on the other shore shone through the light haze over the river. It was approaching summer, so the water in the river was rather low.

Lakshmi Amma went to her room on the eastern side, carrying a lamp. She placed the lamp down, and sat besides a thick wooden trunk. It was one of the type that is used to keep clothes. She sat there, thinking for a moment. Then she opened the trunk and looked in. The sweet smell of screw pine (kaitha) flower rose from the trunk. Keeping this flower in the trunk not only gave it a fragrance, but also kept insects away. She took one fresh 'onnara' mundu and a regular mundu, and went about changing her clothes.

In those days, when knitwear and hosiery were unknown, women wore a plain cloth as underwear. It was called 'onnara'. It was wrapped around the pelvis and the ends tucked in, essentially serving the function of a pantyhose. Women used it even as late as the seventies, and some old 'mother-in-law' types even tried to force that onto the younger generation. In the considered opinion of those elders, the teeny flimsy cloth will not cover what need to be covered.

Narayani came in, carrying an earthen bowl with embers. She added a fragrant resin into that and the sweet smelling smoke started filling the room. As Lakshmi finished wearing the clothes, she went about drying her hair in the warm fragrant smoke. She looked at Narayani with an unmistakable twinkle in her eye and Narayani smiled.

“It has been a month” Lakshmi said. Narayani nodded.

Dileep
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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 09 Feb 2010 06:29

A dark shape moved beyond the fence of the Puthenkara house. It stood there for some time, and then ducked and crawled through a gap in the fence. It rose up underneath a tree and stayed there for some more time. Taking a roundabout path, going from shade to shade, it slowly, and silently approached the building. It reached the southeast corner of the inner yard and stood there, watching the window of the room on the eastern side. The light of a lamp was visible through the gaps in the window.

The area close to the window was devoid of shade. It was well lit by the ample moonlight. If someone were to open the window, it was possible to discern the man standing there, even under the shade of the tree. He waited some more time, undecided. Finally, letting a silent sigh escape his lips, he walked, upright, but silent as a cat, towards the window. When he walked into the moonshine, he was clearly visible.

The man was well built, with broad shoulders and long arms. He wore a black mundu, and another black mundu covered his torso. His face was covered in lamp soot mixed with oil. A cloth bundle was held over his shoulder, and he carried a stick, four feet long. Even the mundu didn't make a murmur as he walked, which was surprising.

He reached close to the window. He was a bit uncomfortable with the moonlight, which came from the eastern side, and fully illuminating him. Still he moved close to the window and took a peek inside. The mixed smell of the fragrant smoke and the screw pine flower entered into his nostrils, carrying an unexplainable sense of pleasure into him. The sight he saw inside did the same to his eyes. He stood there, frozen, for a moment.

Suddenly, he shuddered visibly, as if to shake some thought from his mind. Carefully, he took out something from the side of the cloth bundle. It looked like the double sided drum often drawn in the pictures of Lord Shiva. It was of hourglass shape, and covered on either side with skin diaphragms. IT was mounted on a stand with a heavy base. He placed it carefully on the sill of the window, with one side facing into it.

Then, as he came in, he walked back. This time, he held a spool of fine silk thread in his hand. As he walked, he let loose the thread very carefully. Instead of walking to the nearby shade, he walked to the darkness under the bunch of trees.

Once he reached there, he took out another device from the bundle. It looked like a plumb weight. Almost egg shaped, with one end extended and ending at a small tube bent at right angles. A thin metal wire protruded from the wider end, which ended in a loop. He passed the silk thread through the loop.

He then sat down, facing the window. The bundle was still over his shoulder. He went into padmasana. The stick was placed across his lap. He held the body of the small plumb like device in his right hand, and inserted the tube into his right ear. He held the slack of the silk thread in his left hand, and expertly tugged on it to bring the right amount of tension to the thread.

And the tinkling laughter of Lakshmi Amma flowed into his ear, as if she was siting right next to him. He suppressed his rising heartbeats with some effort, and went into a meditation mode.

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby armenon » 09 Feb 2010 11:29

Dileepetta,

You have outdone yourself with this new story. The narration I feel is close to "Dharmaraja" which we have studied in our 9th or 10th standard as our text book which was a real treat.

You are setting some high standards in the story telling. I cant wait to see how SS-4 is going to be :D

keep going man..

Cheers

Dileep
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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby Dileep » 10 Feb 2010 07:14

It was not pain, it was not pressure, but it was a kind of tickle that was felt. The cold of the well forged steel was then felt. Only after what seemed like an eternity that the pain of penetrated skin reached the brain. The hushed up, but firm command completely awoke the man in meditation.

“Don't make a move. Stand up!”

In an instant, all the senses that were put to sleep in favour of the auditory sense woke up. The piercing pain where the tip of the sword drew blade cascaded up the neck. The well trained brain bridled the rush of adrenaline, and the reflexes in the muscles held themselves in check.

The only apparent response was the dropping of a contraption held in his right hand. The hand itself held position. The device made a hollow metallic thud when it hit the floor.

“Didn't you hear! I said stand up!” The man holding the sword barked, but in a whisper. The sword still pressed lightly into the wound it made. He saw the trace of the blood on the body, and pulled the sword back a little, just to disconnect.

The figure that was sitting in padmasana slowly unwound the legs from the pose. He waited a moment for the blood to flow normally. Then, with both hands still raised at shoulder height, he slowly rose and stood up straight. The stick, which was on is lap, had rolled down over his feet. He stood there, with his back still to the opponent, and the hands raised limply.

“Who are you? What are you doing here?” The swordsman asked. The man wearing black didn't answer.

“I am Nadamel Ramunny. Who are you”. The swordsman repeated. The kalari tradition of disclosing your identity was not forgotten, and it was meant to impart the seriousness of the situation.

The man didn't answer.

“Talk, or your head will eat dirt”. The wrath in Ramunny's voice was palpable.”

The man slowly started turning to face Ramunny Menon

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Re: Spy Story – Generations

Postby RamaY » 10 Feb 2010 08:40

Simply superb Dileep ji!


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