Magix 'n' Curses
..the argument continues

Sunday, February 25, 2007

From riches to rags - III

[Naan mokkai la thaan mudipen nu mudive panneetengala? :( You're in for a rude shock then.]

Kovalam opened his eyes a few hours later. "You're awake!", squealed Deepthi, as she lunged forward to hug him. Kovalam pushed her away and removed the sheets to expose his injured leg. It was still there. Injured, but intact. His breathing slowly returned to normal and glanced up to see his father looking disturbed and his mother in tears.

"How did you know?", Siddharth enquired quietly.
"I heard Rajiv chithappa telling you about it.", Kovalam replied.
No one spoke for a while.

Rajiv entered just then. The uncomfortable silence prevailing in the room was enough to know that Kovalam found out. He went up to him and ruffled his hair. "Don't worry, da. I'm trying my best to convince the doctor not to do it." Siddharth cricked his neck as he turned sharply in surprise. "Are you crazy, Rajiv?", he hissed, rubbing his neck. "Let's try to dilute the blood clot by some other means", Rajiv implored, "Let's not go for amputation. Please?" Deepthi looked at him as if he was out of his senses. "Why are you talking like an irrational child? Didn't you hear what the doctor said? It's not just the clot. His limb has undergone severe trauma. He's got no choice." Suddenly, they fell silent again. They realised they'd been speaking in front of Kovalam. The silence became a little more uncomfortable. Finally Kovalam ended it, as he croaked "Let them go ahead with it."

His leg was amputated the very next day, and a week later, Kovalam returned home. He was discharged from his duties in the Air Force for a month before they decided what to do with him. A prominent change had come over Kovalam after the amputation. The innocent twinkle in his eyes was gone. It was replaced by a cold steely look. His patience had started to wear thin, and he lashed out at the slightest affliction. The Air Force had decided to give him a desk job, and asked him to return after six months. Siddharth's company, all of a sudden, started to dip in business. Dip was an understatement. It did a double somersault from a diving board and went straight to the bottom of the pool. Deepthi had given up her job to take care of Kovalam. Their finances had taken a major hit. They were going from riches to rags. (I've seen a lot of authors use the title in just one sentence hidden somewhere in the book. There you go, folks, I've successfully managed to squeeze the title in!)

But the most shocking change was in Kovalam's character. He managed to escape from home many a times, and was seen ogling at girls in the bus stand. He was even caught twice trying to make a pass at a few of them. He leered openly, and passed disgusting comments. He started to smoke again. And as if it wasn't bad enough, the cigarettes he smoked were usually stolen from some potti kadai! Deepthi was distraught. Why was he behaving like this all of a sudden? Usually, victims of major injuries were known to go into a shell. He was doing the exact opposite, and behaved in a way that was never thought possible of him.

Rajiv had resigned from his Ranji team and was working extra hard to help his brother out of the hole. He had taken up a three month long assignment abroad, and as soon as he touched down in Chennai, went straight to Siddharth's house. A couple of policeman were talking very rudely to Siddharth. "This is the last time I'm letting him off", one of them said, "If we catch him again in front of the ladies hostel in the next block, we'll have him arrested." Siddharth nodded, knowing not what to say. Rajiv hung on outside till the policemen left, and entered the living room.

Siddharth looked at him worriedly, racking his brain for some excuse. Rajiv cut in before he could say anything, "Ssshh. Don't bother. I heard it all." Siddharth broke down. "Why? Why is all this happening to us? Losses in business, I can bear. It's Kovalam's behaviour that's disturbing me greatly. What has happened to him? Enna aachu avanukku?"

Rajiv looked at him sombrely. He shook his head as he said, "Naan idha edhir paarthen da. Indha maathiri edhavadhu aagum nu appove nenachaen."

Siddharth looked at him with a mixture of anxiety and curiosity. "I do remember you trying to dissuade us from getting his leg amputated.", he said as he began to take in a deep breath, knowing he'd finally find out the reason for Kovalam's change. "But why?"

Rajiv screwed up his eyes and bit his lower lip. Siddharth recognised the expression. This was the look he gave just before he quoted some ancient Tamil saying. The words rang out sharp and clear. "Kovalam ku kaal edutha avan kevalam thaane aavaan."

[This is to inform you that I've gone into hiding. Do not search for me. It's an exercise in futility. Oh, and in case you didn't get it, I'm sure someone'll help you out in the comment box. As for what I said in the beginning, it was just an attempt to lower your expectations a bit! Varta? :) ]