MALABAR AFLAME : Lesson 30 – (Karoor Soman)

Amazon Best Selling Novel “Malabar A Flame” in Lima World Library

30. Dilemma

1995. Queen Elizabeth wrote to Prince Charles and Diana
to separate. What else one can do if a daughter-in-law spread
infamy to the royals?
Antony continued reading the novel of Martin Amis’
‘The Information.’ Diabetes, cholesterol, arthritis, pain
in the hips, Parkinson’s (shivering of hand), etc, preyed on
him. On certain days he would too weary to get up from bed.
Time and again, he tells Mary that he dreamed of breathing
his last back in his home in India. Mary agrees with him..But
they would not raise it with their children in the open. Nor
would they agree.
“Son, our grandchildren have come of age. They can
look after themselves. Why should we linger on here as a
deadwood. You are all busy people. We could be a burden for
all,” Once Antony took up the issue with Danny.
Don’t say this appa, You will never be a burden to us.
For most of our lives, we depended on yo. It will continue
like that. We cannot be independent of you at any time. We
want you with us to guide us and stop us from going astray,”
Danny told him. It seemed that he was on the verge of tears.
Sara intervened: “If appan goes to India, who is there to
look after you? Amma? She is also old and has her own health
problems. Better to be here rather than at a far away place.”
She said.
Danny went to Antony’s bed and helped to raise him and
lay him against some pillows. Sra was ready with some hot
kanji (boiled cracked rice, a gruel). “Is there any one back
home to feed you like this?” Sara taunted him.
Sara is particular to visit her parents every other day to
look after them. But Rachel hardly leaves out anything for
them to care about. She is such a devoted daughter-in-law
to who care about them as though she is a real daughter to
them. She is also grateful to them for accepting a orphan like
hers in their midst without any reservations.
Mary is suffering from mild arthritis but the bout appeared
years after her grandchildren grew up to go to regular
schools. The days of their frolicking with their grandma are
over. When Mary is woken up from a nightmare and tries to
sit up mumbling, Rachel is always there to take care. When
Antony calls for a glass of water during the dead of night,
Rachel is there again to serve him.
Rachel takes care of all domestic chores well after going
to her hospital. She rises up in the wee hours, prepares food
for her husband and children, see them off before she goes
for work and is back to her home making as soon as she is
back in the evening. Mary is witness to all her work. She is
aware that she herself did all the household duties whe she
was ayoung kother. But her duties were confined to their own
home. For Rachel; is a double burden. That is why at times to
go back to India and rid themselves as a burden to Rachael.1997. August 31.
Antony is stunned by the news of Diana’s death in a
car accident. He felt the death was hovering over him. He
switched off the television, got himself dressed and stealthily
walked out of his home.
When Danny came home, he went in search of his father
as he wanted to consult him on some matters. But he was
dismayed that he was not in his usual sofa seat watching
tv. They searched the entire home. May had no idea of her
husband. Usually he would not go out without telling her.
Raichel phoned Sara. Not there. Danny gave a call to Abu
and then to his mother Aiysha. No hope. Danny and Abu
took off in their cars looking for Antony on the roads they
usually travelled.
It came to Jimmy, the grandson to spot his grandpa
sitting their farm near their home, sitting in a trance, looking
upwards towards the horizon. Jimmy was playing on his
computer when he looked up and saw Antony barely 200
meters away from their home. He alerted all. Everybody
rushed to the scene.
When they reached the farm, Antony had woken up from
his reverie. He was walking around the vegetable garden
looking up for a snail. There was a spray gun with him filled
by insecticide. He appeared calm and collected and was in his
old elements.. Danny was almost ready to make an issue of
his sudden disappearance from home. But Abu restrained
him. “Don’t try to upset him. He is too old and weak and
may not stand to take anything rough and unsavory”, Abu
cautioned. They returned home in the company of Antony.
Antony looked a little dazed. He asked everybody to sit
and listen to him.
“For the last few days I have been thinking of illness,
misery and death and God’s design in the scheme of things
for mankind. Why is it that the world is tormented by death
and destruction, at the hands of nature and at the hands of
man? These thought have been pricking my conscience for
some time. Can any one of you tell me why?” he asked.
Danny and Abu sat there brooding. No. No one had the
right answer that Antony was seeking.
“All right, I will share with you what I feel. It is man’s
greed that is the reason for all the ills of the world. Man does
not love his neighbor as his brother. It is greed and envy that
guide him. Man kills because of his greed. He eats too much
and becomes a glutton. He kills because he wants more.
Don’t you see? Death and destruction is showered on the
good earth because nobody is satisfied and wants to usurp
the rights of others”.
Both Danny and Abu could not argue better.
Antony said Holy Bible has all the answers. Most of the
parables tell the story of brother rising against brother and
son rising against his father. Greed for power and position
work against conscience, ethics and morality.”
The Antony kept silent for a while and confessed, “I was
watching tv when I came to know the shocking death of
a British royal. Diana has been killed in a road accident in
dubious circumstances. I could not bear it any more and thatis why I got away from all that. That is why I went to the farm
and sat there in the midst of what I liked and loved. You will
all excuse me,” Antony said.
Nobody could utter a word in disagreement. Nobody
could extend him any solace too.
Mary, Sara and Rachel sat around the room in bewildered
silence. After a moment Antony tuned towards Abu.
“Abu my dear child. I have always considered you as my
own son. Now that the days of our generation are nearing
their end, I have a request to make. Make amends for the
past ills of the past. Forget what others did in their arrogance
and stupidity. Think it was guided by their greed for power
and influence. Forgive your father fro all the ills he did to
your mother and to yourself. Do it for me. Do it for all of us,
Won’t you?”
Abu sat in shock for a while. Finally he was moved. He
rose up and walked up to Antony. Took his palms in his own.
Held them for some time, raised them and kissed them. A
tear drop fell on Antony’s palm’ He knew it.
“Yes uncle. I will make amends for my past. I will go to my
father and be united with him, “ he promised.
Most in the room felt crying. Mary could not hold her

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