‘Anna, Anantha kodi namskaram’. I heard someone greeting from behind,
while boarding the aircraft at London’s Heathrow airport. Anantha kodi
is a huge figure. How to handle such large number?
I turned back to find a middle aged man with a pumpkin head and
drumstick body, glittering from top to toe coming towards me to touch
my feet. His glistening green apparel, gold rings studded with gem stones in all the ten fingers, thick golden chains around his neck and
diamond-studded bracelet- all these made me wonder who he could be.
‘You didn’t recognize me, I guess. What a pity!’. There was a genuine
sadness in his voice.
‘It is indeed a pity that God didn’t provide you with ten heads and
‘Don’t be sarcastic about these ornaments. Be proud of your son’s
‘Aye, wait a minute. I am a bit confused. From a distance you
addressed me as `elder brother’ and now claim that you are my son. What
is your mother’s name? This is just to refurbish my memory and explore
where I went wrong’.
‘You can never go wrong,’ he replied as if I was not a human being. He
kept mum for a few seconds, which compounded my confusion. Then he
drew my right hand towards his head and pleaded, ‘Master, bless me! I
am your servant Ekambharam, Erappa Ekambharam of Trichur,
who is alive today due to your kindness’.
‘Oh! I am relieved. I need not look for an alibi to explain a past blunder to my children, at this age. Next, I am happy that a person condemned and cursed by a score of women, is prospering and proudly standing before his senior who punished and expelled him from a profitable Government job’
Eakambharam aka Eka occupied the seat next to mine, reluctantly as if he was forced to sit near his boss.
Eakambharam’s short acquaintance with me started and ended in a
turbulent manner. While I was travelling to Trichur to supervise a
field survey of malnutritious women and children under a WHO project,
he pick pocketed me and instead of escaping from the scene, slowly
opened the purse and counted the amount inside. The co-passengers were
about to beat him up; I stopped them and questioned him, why he didn’t
run away and why was he evaluating the content of the purse.
‘I wanted to make sure that there is enough money for my food for a
couple of days,’ He replied with an innocent look.
‘You suspected that I too belong to your category?,’ I enquired.
‘Not that. I am going to take up a job and I want just enough money
for my survival for two or three days. After I report for duty, I can
ask for an advance from my office or borrow some from
my colleagues’. He replied.
It turned out that both of us were going to the same office and he was
to work under me as a driver cum attendant.
He returned my purse and I lent him some money. We both reported for
duty on the same day.
Eakambharam used to bring his jeep to my residence early morning every
day to pick me up.
The winter morning breeze kindles love to opposite sex if you are old
and love to God if you are young. That was how it was in those days in
Kerala and now perhaps things would have changed. But in our driver
friend’s case, the sight of an young girl in the neighborhood
drawing `kolam’ in front of her house, when he waits to pick me up
every morning, kindled love and they used to exchange glances in the
initial stage and sweet words, later. It was quite an innocent act as
such, but things got a bit complicated one morning, when the girl’s
mother replaced her daughter in executing the pre-dawn cleaning job.
You should remember that at the dim light of dawn when a woman bends
forward to draw kolam, view from the back, could be deceptive. In his
anxiety to talk to his girl friend, Eakambharam made some undesirable
comments inadvertently. This drew the wrath of the lady, ‘erappae’
She spat at him and spanked him with the broom stick, right and left.
The force with which she shouted ‘erappae!’or scoundrel invited the
attention of the women in the neighborhood, who were also cleaning
their frontage. They all came with their broomsticks and buckets full
of cow dung solution which was promptly emptied on Eakambharam’s head and body. When I came out of my room, I was shocked to see the poor boy’s condition and with great difficulty, saved him from the
clutches of the angry women after profusely apologizing on his behalf
and assuring that he would never be seen anywhere in that area. He was
mauled badly but still breathing when I put him in the jeep and took
to our hospital.
Then on, he was popularly known as `Erappae Ekambaram’ after the
appellation showered on him by the angry woman in my neighborhood.
I had to reluctantly remove him from the service, for misbehavior
while on duty, though left to me I would have pardoned him as he was
already given an over dosage of punishment by those hurt by his
Within a couple of days he eloped and married Annie, a health worker
of our project. Though he changed his name to `Edward Ekambharam’, his nick name continued to be more familiar with his friends and co-workers.
‘Do you own a gold mine or representing a MNC as its brand ambassador?’, I enquired.
`Sir, again you are ridiculing my decoration which is purely a basic
requirement for my profession. More I display my wealth, more money
and fame I earn’
‘May I know, Eka, what that profession is?,’ I asked eagerly.
‘I am a specialist in BMR and popularly known in west as Ekamb Baba
Maharaj. You will be seeing my advertisement In US visual media. I
spend millions on that’
‘Black Magic Repulsion. My clientele includes popular Hollywood stars
and prosperous business magnets’
‘It is the height of stupidity to believe in black magic, globins and
such trash. When science has advanced —-‘
‘It is. Science has advanced; not people’s mind. And when a majority
of them believe in it…’
‘Why should you go by the mad majority?’
‘I don’t. I only cash on their belief, to my benefit. Hope that you
see the difference?’
‘Yes, I do. When I met you for the first time at the running train, you
were so innocent to count the cash in my purse which you pick
pocketed, just to ensure that it contains only the required
amount to meet your needs for two or three days. And now—‘
‘I was poor then. My needs were minimal. Poor steals for food; Rich for fun and luxury. Fun and luxury have no limit; food has. Once I tasted blood, I crave for more and more’
‘Anyway I am glad that you are prospering. How is Annie?’
‘Who is she?’
That was an unexpected question, which shocked me.
‘Your wife, our health visitor with whom you eloped’
‘You are going too deep into the past, sir. She deserted me and
married Dr. Alexander, the famous cardiologist here’
‘I am sorry for you; Annie is a wonderful girl. The cardiologist, no
doubt, is a lucky man’
‘Unfortunately not; He is admitted in my clinic’
‘For cardiovascular surgery?’
‘No for BMR’
‘You suspect that he became a patient because of Annie?’
‘It is not a suspicion. It is the truth’
‘So you are alone now?’
‘No I have a family,’ he took out a photograph from his pocket and
passed it on to me.
‘The elderly lady is your…?’
‘My wife and mother of my children’
‘Is she not our neighbor at Trichur who lashed you with broom
stick and poured cow dung paste on your head?”
‘But why the mother and not the daughter with whom you used to
exchange love notes?’
‘The daughter married Dr. Sambhu, our medical officer’
‘Oh, our Sambharam Sambhu. Where is he now?’
‘In my clinic in US, undergoing BM therapy; I am on my way to meet him’
‘You suspect that he landed in your clinic because of his wife?’
‘It is not a suspicion. It is the truth’
‘Tell me, for a person of your status, you could have chosen A young
girl. Why did you go for a married woman, elder than you?’
‘I am not ungrateful. She treated me and taught me the art of living’
‘Treated you for?’
‘But how did you know that you were afflicted by BM?’
‘Otherwise, do you think I would have waited in the train counting
your coins in the purse instead of escaping?’
‘So, you believe that the broom stick and cow dung treatment helped you
to come out of your ailment?’
‘It is not a belief; It is the truth’
‘And you follow the same treatment for your patient. But I suspect…’
‘Please don’t suspect anything. If you do so you will land in my
clinic. It is THE TRUTH’
2 thoughts on “The Truth or the story of Erappae Eakambharam”
I truly enjoyed the story.
I enjoyed reading your two write ups -the one about Ekambaram and the other about travel by sleeper class. You have a flair for writing which you should exploit by contributing to magazines and newspapers. If you do not need the money that your writing may fetch you, you can contribute it to charity like Kerala Iyer Trust. they are doing a good job of helping needy Brahmins. Travel is a necessary evil and your children are right when they want you to travel in comfort. You must have experienced all the discomforts of travelling by train when there was no sleeper class and no reservation by 3rd class. I remember that only the thought of meeting my near and dear ones at the end of the trip helped me survive the ordeal. Please keep writing. May God bless you and family.