Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Oonjal Kattil


CREEEAK. CREEEAK. CREEEAK.

SILENCE.

CREEEAK. CREEEAK. CREEEAK.

SILENCE.

The half-awake instant-response-to-stimuli-mother in me tensed and jolted the other sleepy half of the mother in me. Together we checked the time. 2:13 AM. Blink blink.

“By God! What are the kids doing at this time of the night in the family room?”
The strict disciplinarian in me bristles while the lets-have-some-fun person in me tells me to turn over and sleep. Being a mother is not easy. You simply cannot take the easy way out, ever!

CREEEAK. CREEEAK. CREEEAK.

SILENCE.

CREEEAK. CREEEAK. CREEEAK.

SILENCE.

That creaky sound has been part of my existence since infancy. It comes from the Oonjal kattil which hangs in the family room. This swinging bed fashioned out of a single Burmese teak hangs from brass chains from the roof. My mother inherited it from her mother and I would hopefully pass this to future generations (Disclaimer: If and only if the two monkeys I bore reach adulthood without swinging it to pieces!). This Oonjal kattil is the centre of all the fun, laughter and fights in our family. And if it’s creaking at 2 AM; it can only be the kids!

I tiptoed to the family room. I have to catch them red handed. Little monkeys, here I come.

The room was pitch dark and unusually silent. Did I imagine all this? Ha, may be they are hiding in the shadows hoping to get away from wrath.

Trapped monster, that’s what you are!

Amma of this home, that’s who I am!

CLICK! I switched on the lights to reveal an empty room! Everything in its place, 
just the way I left it before I retired for the night. Cushions in place, remotes on the shelf, magazines and newspapers on the rack, the heavy layered curtains drawn and Mini kutty’s grinning rag doll propped proprietarily on the Oonjal Kattil.

Sigh! I dragged myself to bed disappointed with my late night adventure and fell in to a deep slumber.

Even in the depths of my sleep something disturbed me .Something obscure, something sinister; something vaguely familiar yet totally strange. Like the misplaced grin on the face of that doll. Tomorrow, first thing in the morning, I’ll throw that stupid piece of rag in the dumpster. Tomorrow.

                             *****************************************

A sliver of pale moonlight steals in through the curtains lighting up the cheeky grin on the doll’s face.

From the dark shadows emerge a pair of silhouettes. Their shadows unnaturally long as they silently climb over the Oonjal Kattil and sit with the rag doll between them.
A grey cloud passes over the bright moon drowning the family room in inky black darkness.

CREEEAK. CREEEAK. CREEEAK.

SILENCE.

CREEEAK. CREEEAK. CREEEAK.

SILENCE.

6 comments:

  1. Spooky. But I love the fact that you have this ancient piece of furniture in your family room.

    ReplyDelete
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  3. Just like Bhav said, spooky but captivating.
    Congratulations on being listed in the Directory of best Indian blogs of the year.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Interesting story, i love to read this.

    ReplyDelete