Rain made Parappanangadi a green magical world Its incessant drumbeat , constant gushing of water, surreal croaking of frogs ,humming of insects and fluttering of moths marked it
arrows of sharp rain from the dark skies would hit the bluish green water of the brimming pond
lightening flashes would give momentary glimpses of a watery world which would l...ater meld into the darkness It during one of those rainy days did the story unfold in my ancestral house Thekkepat kovillakkam
There were two female cooking assistants to Nambiar our big cook ,one was Ammini the plumpier one and the other Unnuli
none of Amminis fleshier moments distracted Nambiar from his personal passion which was to cook delicious food for the house
My grandmother Karthiyayani amma was a no nonsense person and all were mortally afraid of her except Nambiar ,who was too old to be afraid of anyone , both conferred and conspired to create exotic menus to feed the hungry inmates
Non vegetarian food was rarely cooked there
flesh was only to be cooked only in the outer shed and brought to the northern dining hall to be eaten it was difficult
this needed running with hot dishes by Ammini with an umbrella more for protecting the dishes from being diluted rather than creating a wet Ammini
a seductive wet Ammini for us adolescents was more appetizing than the dishes
,wet firewood was another problem in rain
Ammini had to fetch dry ones from the loft a little away from the house with be a piece of cloth over her head as even Ammini could not carry firewood as well as an umbrella .
One day in the loft , some slithering thing had bitten her
" Pampu Pampu ( snake,snake ) she shouted and ran into the house
Flushed and breathless she swooned .
Nambiar yelled "get her to kumaran vaidyan quickly,
Ammini was laid into a makeshift stretcher of a wooden bench and carried to Kumaran vaidyan the local snake bite expert .
we all tropped along
was it the end of our dear Ammini ? we were sad !
The procession grew in size as it meandered along
news spread like wild fire and rumours of Ammini dead was on
a wet and anxious village reached the Vaidyans house
Ammini was popular amongst all for various reasons
Vaidyan spat his betel leaf
"ivide kedathu " ( make her lie here )
He opened her eyes with a finger and checked her pulse .
cleaned her right wrist
" onnum parayan pattila 24 manikur kaziyadhe "( nothing can be told till it is 24 hours ) he declared
suddenly the crowd parted as Kunjan the local idiot had come with a snake in his hand
He had gone to the firewood shed and found the wriggling specimen which with the dare of the innocent had caught it with his bare hands
He was now showing it off like a trophy .
The vaidyan quickly took it from him looked at it and then started laughing .
" ithu neerkoliya " this is a watersnake and threw it into the nearby pond ,
someone threw some water on Amminis face and she woke up with a start
thus was born the legend of Neerkoli Ammini or watersnake Ammini