MALABAR AFLAME : Lesson 2 – (Karoor Soman)


2. Race horses

Snow fell forming a new map on the banks of the river
Thames. It had no borders. Without time schedules and
historic relics it lay sprawled in white. Its melting delighted
Antony. The morning after the end of the war, the chiming
of the Cathedral bells had an unusual rhythm.
Wilted minds braced. Trees brought forth leaves. Flowerbuds emerged where grass did not sprout. Hidden among
thorns, buds had bloomed. River is in spate. The faithful
thronged the churches for prayers. Candles blazed in front
of icons. In every nook and corner of the country there are
reveling assemblies. With thrill Nature smiled. The funeralinfested pavements witnessed revelries instead of elegies.
Church bells tolled instead of the warning blare of the siren.
Germans felt that their country’s attack on Russia was the
cause of the defeat. At least some people believed it was
Antony winked at the sight of two giant race horses
galloping through the main roads like the gush of a waterfall
splitting the chest of the earth. The horses run 30-40 miles
an hour. Unless they are fed on time they won’t be able to run.
Thrice a week vets examine the horses and give necessary
instructions. They also prescribe nutritious feeds.

With a little surprise Antony would often stand there, fondling the horses. It is interesting to run fingers through
their manes. Horses stand for all the 24 hours and sleep,
Antony saw Ali coming from a distance, well-dressed.
“Where are you heading for?” Antony asked.
“Horse Carter Harrison told me this morning that that
someone is arriving at the port today. I am asked to be there.” “Isn’t it Bank who has to go for such things?”
`”Ah, I don’t know. There’s dinner party in the evening
at Muthhalali’s bungalow. He has directed that Antony also
should be there,”Ali said.
Muthalali is the land lord of the place. He is their
employer, the God almighty.
“A stallion might have won a jackpot somewhere. Do they
have them in Scotland too?” Antony asked himself.
“Anyway, you may go. I shall be coming in the evening,”
he told Ali.
Ali walked away. A bubble of joy swelled in Antony’s
mind. Of late, he was feeling the loneliness.. He wanted to be
united with Mary and his children. This is a chance to plead
with the boss to help him. If needed he is ready to kneel
before his boss and beg him for his indulgence.. Though he
is a lowly servant, the boss could be kind and considerate.

At the Southampton harbour Ali stood with the middleaged Bank waiting for the guests to disembark from a huge
ship that had been berthed on the wharf. A convoy of horsecarts arrived one after another. Just like a meteorite in the skya young luscious women alighted from of the the carts. She
was so vivacious and inviting, Ali could not look away from
While landing into the country on a cold morning in
January, it was such luscious women that captured his heart
and mind. The fulsome breats, covered only to be shown
around, was a far cry from what he was accustomed back
in his native land of India. Visions of sensuous harlots with
fulsome breasts haunted him always. When soldiers arrive
after long and arduous battles abroad, he has seen such
harlots arrive at the ports to show off their attributes and
find easy customers.
At the harbour the flesh trade is like the auctioning of
cattle in the market. Ali realized that the highest bidder can
nab the youngest lass. Army men are not reluctant to spend
a major chunk of their earnings for it. These brothels are
home for them. Cash and carry.
Ttaps of horses’ hoofs are heard. More such ‘virgin’
goddesses’ were arriving. “Darling, you are beautiful”, Ali
told a newly arrived girl who passed by him to be closer to the
arrival area.
She stopped. Beaming a hearty smile she turned towards
him. “How much you charge?” he asked without any
hesitation.It was very open in such circumstances.
“Aren’t you an Indian?,” she shot back.
“Yes I am. I have money”.
“Five hundred for a night!’’

Ali was stunned. To be with her for a night, he will have
shell out an entire year’s salary.
But he was not be dismissed. “Shall I give you fifty?” he
Cursing him, she unbuttoned her melon breasts and
shouted, “You can just suck my nipple you bloody bastard,”
and walked away.
Soldiers started coming down the iron ladder placed
against the ship. Most of them wore uniforms and carried
heavy trunks. As soon as they stepped on the English soil,
they were accosted by the waiting girls. They haggled their
prices and those who were eager for their company soon
departed in the horse carts waiting. Ali stood there his wyes
burning with desire and envy. And hatred too towards the
girl who insulted him as Indian bastard. “A day will come, I
will show you what a real bastard I am,: he mused.
Summer is on its throes. Sea bids flew crackling over
the quay. On certain days, there would be more than two or
three ships arriving for anchor. Bank came to join him from
a distance. He went to the arrival area along with him. Some
soldiers had their kith and kin waiting to welcome them.
Some had their young wives running to them and hugging
and kissing them. Some jumped to their shoulders and hung
there for long as they were meeting their dear ones after an
year. May be more.

Ali and Bank waited with bated breath for those who were
expected to disembark. But alas they were among the last
batch to trickle down. Antony arrived at his boss’s bungalow much ahead
of time. But as usual there was nobody to welcome him
and invite him in. No familiar face anywhere. Muthalali’s
car was on the porch. Servants were pacing up and down.
Preparations were apace for a grand party. Some special guest
must have arrived. Some prince or some jackpot winner. Ali,
who had promised to come before dusk, was not to be seen.
Disappointed, Antony was about to turn back, he was
surprised to find some long lost but familiar faces coming
his way. He could not believe his eyes. There stood Mary and
tucked to her two small children, a boy and a girl-his own
kids. He ran to them and hugged Mary and held his kids to
his bosom.
“Oh dear, I did not know you have come. I came here
to plead with my boss to bring you people. I was ready to
plead with him. But k\how kind of him to do what I wanted
without telling me. Obviously he wanted to keep it a secret
and surprise me” Antony told Mary. He took the girl to his
bosom and kissed her. Thereafter it was the boy’s turn.
“Appa (daddy)… the ship took 21 days to bring us here.
Sara had womtted but I had no problem”, Danny blurted
out. Mary told him a short account of how they made it
to the ship right from Kochi and arrived at Southampton.
There was no problem. They were on the deck but had ample
space to rest and sleep. There was a choice for food, bread,
butter chicken or rice and curry. “We ate both in turns,” Mary
told him.

“Just look ’ere, brother.” It was Ali who had brought his
wife Aiysha to them. “She also arrived in the same ship. ButMuthalali did not tell us.” Ali shared his joy with Antony.
“This is my son Abu. Abubaker” he brought him to the front.
“How nice. How old are you son?” Antony gave a pat on
his shoulder.””Ezhayi” (Seven)” came the reply immediately.
All had a hearty laugh.
Ali hamukke (Ali you damned one), you did n’t you tell me
they were coming?” Antony turned to Ali.
“How could I know? I thought you had known it early as
you are closer to the white man” replied Ali.
Antony was surprised.” When you went to the harbor, I
thought you knew whom to expect. You should have told
But Ali stood to his ground that he too didn’t know who
were arriving. “In the name of Allah I had no inkling. I was
stunned when I saw them!” Ali said..
“Yeah, the younger one Maj.William in India and the
elder one here might have hatched a plan to import men
and women from India immediately after the war was over.
When they are in power they could do whatever they wanted.
I suspect this is kind of slave running from India,” felt Ali.
“ But in our case I believe it was the goodwill of our boss
that brought our family here,” Antony said.
“You stay with your belief. I hold on to my views, I
strongly feel that the whites are bent on bringing slaves to
this country for their own service.” Ali replied..

Ali was not happy that his wife and kid arrived all of a
sudden, felt Antony. He was happy as a fre bird, but withwife and kid around, it is time for him to behave. It was only a
feeling. Just that. But Antony left things at that.
Ali has the sole charge of two race stallions. Antony used
to join him whenever he was free of any domestic work.
There were two English men to train the horses for races.
One more year is required to complete the training. It is the
cat-eyed beauty Caroline who tames the horses. Ali is helping
her in tandem. Ali has to look after the horses grazing. But
his eyes are always on Caroline who was unmindful of his
pricking stares. Whenever she felt she lied down on the green
for a sun bath and Ali had feast of her lying in the open
almost naked.
Weather in England was always unpredictable. One day,
it started drizzling all of a sudden. She got up but Ali ran to
her with an open umbrella. And brought her to the cottage.
The umbrella was a small one and she held her arm around
him and held him close to her. Ali was tickled. He felt the
warmth of her breath on his body. She also rose to respond
to the warmth of his body. S soon as they reached the cottage
meant for trainers to rest, they fell into each other’s arms and
made love. It was the first time for Ali to have sex with a while
woman. He felt his wife Aiysha, though beautiful, came
nowhere near a vivacious woman like Caroline who had the
stamina of a stallion she tamed.

Antony and Ali stopped their talk on hearing the sound
of hoofs. It was their boss Peter Scot returning after one of
his latest errands. As soon as the boss alighted, a young black
African youth ran to his side and took the reins and led the
horse to its stable behind the bungalow.

It was everybody’s knowledge that Peter Scot was a noble
man. Apart from rearing race horses in the company of his
younger brother who was away in India, Peter was a man of
many virtues. He was a great patriot involved in rebuilding
housed destroyed during the war. He was immensely rich but
was willing to share his wealth with the poor and deserving.
He treated his workers with respect and concern. He often
joined cooking in his own kitchen and shared the food with
them. His wife Norin had gone to Scotland where her siblings
lived. Their two sons are in charge of the horses there. Major
William has a share in these horses.
Perhaps horse racing was Peter’s only weakness. Peter has
friends who are gamblers, but very rarely Peter is seen with
them. He rears horses and his horses are sought after by the
royal household. He sends his stallions for races around the
world and reap rich rewards but takes care to share the boon
with the needy not only in England but in poor nations in
Asia and Africa. He sends plenty of money to missionary
houses and charity organizations.
Antony was shaken out of his reverie when horse carter
Bank told him that the boss wanted to meet him. They were
led to the spacious drawling room of the bungalow. Sitting
on a large specially carved chair, Peter was smoking his pipe
when they reached him.

He smiled at Antony and his wife and kids. A wide
expansive smile. He rose from his chair and fondled the kids
and said, “Antony you should pardon me for a mistake I
made” the boss told him at the very outset.
“Pardon you boss? What wrong you have done to us?”

Antony asked him incredulously.
“Yes I did. Without your permission, I brought your
family to England”
“Ayyo, don’t say so. I came here tonight to plead with you
that they should be brought here. You have done it without
my appeal. We are extremely thankful to you, boss. Look at
the faces of my wife and kids. They feel that they have been
brought to heaven,” Antony slowly and steadily expressed his
gratitude. “It’s the gift I had kept for you,” he said, looking
into Antony’s face.
“In the horse race in France our horse won the golden
crown. But for your great care in rearing the stallion, we
would not have won it I am sure. Your are the best among
my workers. I thought of a reward for your services, Bringing
your family was that reward,: Petrer told him in single breath.
He then shook hands with Antony.
“ I told my brother William about it and it was his help
that facilitated it so soon. Tonight you will all dine with me. I
have found new homes for you to settle with family. Tonight
you will have dinner with me. After that Bank will take you to
your quarters,” Peter told him and nmoved away.
The lavish dinner itself was great experience for Antony
and family. So it was for Ali and Aiysha. After the dinner they
were taken to their new homes. Mary and Aiysha felt they
were the new Cinderellas joining their princesses.


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