ஆலப்பாக்கமும் அக்கம்பக்கமும் 12
12 10 2014
Exchanging anecdotes is one way of keeping up a conversation. More important,true anecdotes/ experiences of people, the mighty and the frail, the scholastic and the ignorant, the outgoing and the ingrown, signpost us to the history of those times, truly mirroring the ‘Life as lived’. Lessons could be manifest or hidden. The ‘ஆலப்பாக்கமும் அக்கம்பக்கமும்’ Community,which I address, a microcosm of India, is the repository of knowledge, wisdom, practical life, ethical values, deprivations, sacrifices - an amalgam of the (+ )&( - ) of whatever it is, that is given to us individually and collectively. Thus, sharing is possible, without forsaking the privacy one wishes to cherish, in our twilight years.
I share an anecdote. That particular year was a devastating one for our family. We had lost a brother, I was on the verge of death and poverty loomed large. When the family was recovering and picking of the threads slowly and painfully, my younger sister woke up my father one midnight and told him that she could not see. She had fainted by the time he could gather his wits, to regain her conciousness forty days later. We had moved her to a Protestant Mission Hospital some 30/40 miles way. The billing was modest and could be variable. The inviolable rule there was that the bills had to be settled every Saturday. One Saturday, a lad of sixteen, I stood before the German administrator, whom we called Noorani Athai. The bill was for Rs.249/- in one week.
Athai: Raju! Why do you look sad? Your sister is recovering.
Raju (faltering) Athai! I do not have this much money.
Athai (with a stern face) You know very well that the Saturday settlement is a must.
Athai (smiling) had snatched the bill and gave it back saying that Raju must pay forthwith. The figures 2 and 4 were struck off and the bill was for Rs.9/-
Raju ( literally on the verge of tears): Athai! I shall not forget this noble gesture of yours till my dying day and shall go on telling this to whomever I encounter. I shall, of course, do likewise in my small way.
Needless to add, the conversation was in Tamil.
As today is my turn to tell this story to you, I do so.
Regards to all,