The caste system which infuriated Swami Vivekananda to call Kerala (GOC) a cluster of lunatic asylums a hundred years back does not exist today, but he will be glad to know that his definition still holds good. "It continues to be a sociological madhouse of unparalleled dimensions. For example, perhaps this is the only society in India where ideology has got so intertwined with culture that people have ceased to understand the difference" according to Paul Zacharia (http://www.tehelka.com/story_main27.asp?filename=op170307Culture_vulture.asp).
Surely Swami Vivekananda was not aware of the traces of
Naranathu Branthan's blood in our veins. Naranathu Branthan ( The mad man of Naranathu, whose main activity was to push heavy stones
up the hill just to let it roll down from the summit) was one of the
twelve sons of Vararuchi, the famous astrologer of the court of King
Vikramadithya, in a Parayi (a maiden of one of the lowest classes of
the society in those days). According to the legends the entire population of Kerala descended from those twelve.
Varunny was among the descendants who had a slightly higher ppm of the said
Naranathu Bhranthan's blood in his veins.
He was a frequent visitor in our lodge. All the inmates, mostly
college students, liked him. He was helpful as he was
always ready to run errands for them. He dressed reasonably well
and behaved very sane most of the time. But for the peculiarity in
his language, which was definitely unusual, no one could sense the
aberration. He used his nouns in plural to refer to all the things normally
used as singular in Malayalam. For example for him it was a glass of waters, airs
in the foot ball or times as per the clock, Believe me all this sounds much more weirder in Malayalam.
He liked to visit all the lodgers and stand at the open doors. “If
you ask him what's it Varunny ?”, his shoulders will go up
“nothing” his reply in body language
The bells - the ringing of a single large cast metal bell - which announced the working hours of the power substation near by was another point of attraction
for him. At eight in the morning and five in the evening Varunny
religiously presented himself in front of the power station. Exactly at the eighth stroke or the fifth as the case may be, he ordered aloud with great authority 'Stop it'.
The timekeeper who rings the bell could not go on even if he wanted to
and Varunny got the satisfaction that there was some one to obey his
The senior chemistry lecturer of our college was a neighbor.
He was popular at college because of his nick name 'Kadan'.
Kadan in Malayalam is a type of fox noted for stealing chicken. One of those days Kadan got promoted, he was now the new chemistry professor.That evening Varunny came to me with a strange request. He wanted
the word 'congratulations' written on a piece of paper. Varunny very
rarely sought anybody's help and I did not see any harm in helping.
Next day CONGRATULATIONS, decorated with chicken feathers of
different colors from poultry shop, on the road in front of his house
greeted the new Professor.
Varunny never came to the lodge any more. Nor did he appear at
five or eight at the substation
Years passed. I was at Thiruananthapuram Railway station. Having
missed the train I intended to catch by a few seconds (Had I
been younger I would have made it by running a few hundred meters) I was waiting for
the next scheduled for after two hours . With very few passengers around it was boring.
While looking for something interesting I found the poster about
Ananda Baba's discourse on world religions. I am not religious any
more, but I am still interested in people who talk about it. So
decided to spend an hour at the hall near by where the discourse was
The appearance of the revered Baba did not tell me any thing but
when he referred to the waters and airs I was sure I was going
to hear about a new religion I have not heard about so far.
After a few minutes I left for the crowd at the railway station, equally if not more entertaining.