Thursday, June 12, 2008

The mango thieves

Last week, my aunt checked their letter-box like she usually does every morning and found a neatly folded piece of paper. She opened it and found it was a letter, addressed to her and uncle. The first line went like this -

"Njan athmahatya cheyyan pova. Ningal kaaranam."

"I'm going to commit suicide, and it's because of you."

Two weeks earlier

My uncle and aunt stay just a few houses away from us. They have a lush mango tree outside their front porch, that leans out over the gate. This is the mango season, and both uncle and aunt had been waiting patiently for the mangoes to ripen. However, in the past few weeks they noticed that the good mangoes kept disappearing every morning. Not sure what was the reason, uncle decided to keep watch one late evening.

And sure enough, once the sun went down and it started to get dark, he noticed three young boys, not more than ten years of age sneaking up to the front madhil (courtyard wall). Two of them helped the other onto the mango tree, and then one more climbed up too. So while one of the boys kept watch, the other two furiously scoured the tree for the best mangoes and kept throwing it down to the kid keeping watch, who would then out them in the polythene bag that he had.

Now my uncle is a smart person. He didn't just rush out to scare them and drive them off. Instead he waited till one of the boys had traversed one branch of the tree that wasn't that close to the front wall, but much nearer to the house itself. Then he rushed out and "jumped" the kid. The boy just froze and was too scared to do anything stupid like trying to climb back out, cos chances were that he would just fall and break a limb. But his partners-in-crime were fast. The other boy (who looked like the gang-leader) was out of the tree in a flash and over the wall. He grabbed his sidekick (the one dutifully carrying the mango sack) and they were both off like the wind. You don't get much loyalty these days from anyone, even fellow thieves!

My uncle then told the boy to get down, or he would get into more trouble, so the boy who was already scared out of his wits did so. Now my uncle can really get angry, or even better, he can really "act" angry and make you feel his wrath if he wanted to. So he caught the boy and made him sit down in the front porch. He then told him that he was going to call the police, and that they would come in their nice little jeep and take him away and put him in jail. The boy went pale and started crying loudly. He said that today was his first time and that it was his friend who put him up to it. After some time, aunty came out hearing all the noise and tried comforting the boy by saying they wouldn't do anything and that it was alright. But the boy was almost out of breath now, crying like there was no tomorrow. Finally uncle let him go and he ran away into the night still sobbing.

Cut back to the present

My aunt had totally forgotten about the incident, and so had no idea what this letter was about, but she would understand as she kept reading. It went like this (in broken malayalam) -

"Njan athmahatya cheyyan pova. Ningal kaaranam. Aa divasam ningal enne cheyyatha thethinu chumma pidichillay? Enittu policinu kodukam enne paranjile? Ningalu enthina enne ippalum pidikan nokkunathu? Athu konde njan athmahatya cheyyan pova. Njan chumma parevalla, sherikkum. Njan orru pravasham oru kai nokhiyatha, pakse athu paali poyi. Athoonde njan pinnem shremikum, ningal policinay vilichal. Allengil njan adutha pravasham aa vazhi verumbol ningal enikku orru manga therenam.

Ennu snehapoorvam,
Ningalude manga katta paiyyante kootukaran."

Let me translate it for those who don't understand the language.

"I'm going to commit suicide, and it's because of you. That day you both caught me for a crime I did not commit, and you were about to call the police and put me in jail. Why are you simply trying to catch me now also? Therefore I'm going to end my life. Don't think that I won't try it. I had tried it once before but the attempt failed. So I will surely try again if you call the police. If you don't want me to suicide, you should give me a mango the next time I come that way.

Yours lovingly,
The friend of the boy who stole your mangoes."

If that doesn't make you smile and feel at least a bit sorry for the kid, nothing will :)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Kings of Europe!

Yeah, I know..I'm ten days late to rant n boast about this, but I at least have an excuse that I've been celebrating the win all these days. ManUtd beat Chelski 6-5 on penalties, in a gripping match that had me nerve-wrangled at the end of it. Very emotional too, may I add.

Penalty-shootouts are easily the most twisted and sick way to decide the winner in a football match, but it's the most entertaining too. And this final's shootout ranks right up there in the my list of the most-heart-attack-inducive shootouts ever. Ever. Call me a coward, but I just couldn't bear to watch it straight, and so, like a 10-year old kid, I covered my face with both hands and watched every kick through a tiny slit between my fingers. Screaming all the time. John Terry's slip and miss was followed by one of the most pure moments of euphoria in my life. Then Van der Sar saving Anelka's kick, and the realization that we were European Champions for the 3rd, it's just a little too hard to put into words. It's all a blur now, and I can only remember jumping up and down as if I were on a trampoline, doing a rockstar knee-skid towards the television, hugging Shyam and Sohan, things like that. The exact same feelings every ManUtd fan was going through around the world.

I had put up a poll on this blog - whether ManUtd would do the double or not, in the faintest hope that the dream would come true this year. Now it's seems almost unreal that we've done it. We had our moments of luck in the final, but we were undoubtedly deserving champions of England and Europe! I'm so proud of my team! :)