A Contribution by Joy J. Kaimaparamban, author of The Ayurvedic Healer. For more information see also his website at http://www.kaimaparamban.com/.
Kaumaari sat beside her fire hearth in her kitchen with an aluminum vessel full of yellow substance in it. She had placed a plantain leaf and some wild colocasia leaves on one of her sides.
She had been in the preparation of making ‘Chembilayappam’, an eatable for which she had received order from a neighbour lady. Before two days she collected some wild colocasia leaves by wandering many places.
Years ago wild colocasia plants were seen everywhere as there were a lot of brooks and ponds. Those plants grew on the banks of such watercourses.
Then people began filling brooks and ponds with mud and sand for making new lands. Even paddy fields were disappearing in the greed of people. Almost all people seem to have forgotten about all kinds of watercourses. They want to make money by selling new lands.
Due to the vanishing of wild plants Kaumaari’s life had become miserable. She pulled on days by selling ‘Chembilayappams’.
She tried to remove such things from her heart.
She washed both kinds of leaves in fresh water and dried them using an old bathing towel.
When her mother was alive Kaumaari used to help her by collecting wild colocasia leaves from the nearest brooks and ponds. Her mother could supply ‘Chembilayappams’ to everybody who had ordered at least two days before.
Childhood days left Kaumaari following the coming of youth, which had made her mother sad. Frequently she used to warn Kaumaari about the dangers of that age.
Due to the negligence of her parents, Kaumaari’s mother could not get a married life. But a lover made her a mother.
She said to Kaumaari, “Gents are equal to dogs. Don’t believe any of them.”
Her words were glittering ones. She had given Kaumaari a sharp sickle.
The mother had wished to make Kaumaari a learned person. So she had sent Kaumaari to a nearest school.
One evening while Kaumaari had been returning from school she saw her mother lying on the naked floor of the kitchen. The bird of her life had left the rough cage of the body.
Kaumaari’s heart had been roasting in the flames of memory. Her right hand was moving so far. The memory made it stationary. She sat like a granite idol for some minutes.
Her mother had taught her how to become a brave lady by learning several things from a school. But the death of mother had made her inferior. She could not continue her studies.
Her mother had acquired some cents of land and had built a hut in it. Kaumaari could never see her mother lazy. Everyday she brought wild colocasia leaves in plenty from the nearest places.
After washing her legs and hands the mother would sit in the kitchen for making ‘Chembilayappams’.
In those days many people from here and there came to order for that eatable. Due to the plentiness of wild colocasia leaves, she could have given Chembilayappams to everyone. Mother sold a ‘Raathal’ for five Rupees. Kaumaari had been selling a kilogram for seventy five Rupees. A ‘Raathal’ of the old times could be compared to half a kilogram. By selling ‘Chembilayappams, the mother bought the land and made the hut there. In those days money was a golden star. Even five Rupees had had a big value.
Kaumaari tried to come out of the flames of her memory. When her mother died, Karumaari had had lamented a lot. Even a drop of tear was not remaining in the vessel of her heart.
She took the plantain leaf and made some fire in the oven. The leaf was caught over the flames until it became moderately singed.
Then she placed the aluminum made baking vessel on the fire hearth, some dried spodix of coconut was put into the fire for making more flames. For making ‘Chembilayappams’, her mother had been using clay vessels. Kaumaari could have purchased aluminum vessels instead.
Kaumaari made a fluid using the mixture of Sarcolapuli (a kind of fruit with sourness), drenched white rice, scrapped coconut, powders of red chilly, turmeric and asafoetida.
Taking a wild colocasia leaf, she smeared a layer of fluid on it. Then it was placed on the plantain leaf. Likewise several wild colocasia leaves were prepared and put over one by one.
Kaumaari could calculate it totally as a kilogram. She folded the plantain leaf covering the wild colocasia leaves and tied it with fresh coconut leaves in three places around. The water in the baking vessel had begun to boil. She put the bundle into the vessel and closed it with its lid.
She had to prepare several such bundles. By evening the persons who had ordered them would come. She had taken the price of each bundle in advance. Due to her roughness, nobody would dare standing before her with any negative mood.
While sitting near the hearth, she heard the boiling sound of water from the baking vessel.
A thought winged inside her in an unexpected moment. “I’m alone. How many days can I pull on like this?”
The sickle with a sharpened edge was beside her. It seemed as laughing ogling at her.
The Ayurvedic Healer
by Joy J. Kaimaparamban
Set in the intriguing atmosphere of India in the early 20th century, full of mysticism, love, compassion, and political drama, The Ayurvedic Healer tells the story of Madhavan Namboodiri, a physician practicing an ancient medical science, and his enduring love for Rosilie. By healing the underprivileged, regardless of their civilian and religious status, touching the untouchables, he follows his beliefs and disobeys the rules of his society. His life story is set in the background of India’s struggle for freedom, the communist revolt in the Southern State of Kerala, social advancement, and the emergence of new societies. The Ayurvedic Healer sweeps the reader into an exotic place and time, rendering an intimate experience through sharing Madhavan Namboodiri’s life and love.
Joy J. Kaimaparamban is not only a passionate story teller. He envisions people and events, past or present, in his native India as material for unwritten works. These visions and the ability to transform them into fascinating stories about his country is a trademark of his novels. [More information...]
The Ayurvedic Healer ia available through Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Barnes & Noble, and any other good bookstore.