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Oh! Parama Sukham – Chapter 03

The curse of the sapthrishies alone was enough to keep Amman disturbed and deprive of sleep for the whole night and added to that was the kavadies, seashells shooting out of the cloth bag , breaking the knot and turning into fearsome karadies ( bears ) surrounding their master to save him from the blood-thirsty ‘yakshi’, the devilish woman spirit in snow-white dress,who had already devoured Parasu’s friend..
‘ Let the sun rise ‘ . He consoled himself and  early morning  the next day, rushed to Parasu’s house, not empty handed, but with enough rice, vegetables and fruits, sufficient to meet the family needs at least for a couple of weeks. When he returned, he was smiling, as a remedy was prescribed by Parasu, though the  homam suggested would cost him a few hundreds.
One good thing with Parasu, of course, among several others, was that he would do the pooja or homam, for which he was getting remuneration, sincerely, with utmost devotion.  So, naturally the Gods ignored his innocent tricks to earn a lively hood and answered his prayers and made the life of the ‘kartha’, the master who made the payment, more comfortable. Not only that. Because of his ready-to-help attitude and ability to do any service, once Parasu enters a house, he would be considered as a member of that family and given full support to maintain his own. He knew how to talk, how to behave and how to reap the best benefit  out of the friendship.
Once, a big feast was arranged by a rich farmer for his daughter’s wedding and due to a lightning strike by the hotel employees, not uncommon in Kerala, food arrangements got upset. parasu was called for, and within a couple of hours, food was ready for several hundred guests. He had a strong work force with him and with their help, he arranged to get the required materials within no time and he himself cooked, with the help of a few assistants. It was not a mean achievement, because he hardly had a couple of hours at his disposal. No doubt, he would have made enough money to feed his family for the next six months, but he saved the prestige of the farmer and earned his gratitude and respect.
One night, worried over the thoughts that there was not a single pie in his pocket or a grain of rice in the house, he was walking aimless, through a street where there were some fairly well-to-do farmer’s houses. Suddenly he got an idea, picked up half a dozen stones from the road-side and threw them one by one, on the top of a house and continued his walk. As the street was dark and deserted, his job was easily done. After ten minutes, he returned the same way to find that there was a small group of men and women standing in-front of the same house. They were making noise but he didn’t care them, and continued his walk. They all came running to him seeking his intervention and help to redeem the house of ‘Kuttichathan’ –evil spirit’s nuisance.
“This house will go into ashes, this night” Parasu predicted, “Go and save your children, cattle, paddy stock and other valuables.”
The farmers got panicky and pleaded him to do some tricks to save the house from fire. Parasu, gave a serious look around, pulled out a thread from his veshti,closed his eyes for a minute and wrapped that thread in a leaf plucked from the tree nearby. Handing over it to the owner of the ill-fated house, as carefully as if the bundle contained a poisonous snake, Parasu asked him to dig a 6″x6″ size hole in the eastern corner, and bury the packet.
“Your house is safe now. Sleep well and meet me tomorrow morning for discussion”  The farmers immensely thanked him. “Don’t look at that packet, while you bury it” he said while moving away, “unless you want to loose your eyesight”.
“Ships are safe on the shore,” My father used to say. “but they are not meant for that. They are to sail in the turbulent ocean, facing the wrath of waves and winds. Like wise, you may have excellent ideas, marvelous plans, in your mind. You should put them into action.  Selling what the customers want is just selling. Selling what you want to sell, is an art. If the customer has no need for your product, create a need for him so that he buys your product and yours only.”
Parasu followed that advice in letter and spirit.
One can’t survive long, with tricks alone anywhere, especially in a place like Kerala. So, he diversified his activities and became an adviser for opening business houses, buying and selling lands and other properties and even cattle. Quantum of business was never a criterion for him and his services were available to buy or sell one cow or for opening a million-investment jewelry shop. Sometime, the venerable planets go cranky. Instead of moving joyfully in the high skies, they  keep a watch  upon poor humans to make their life miserable unnecessarily. In one such occasion, Parasu borrowed a caged parrot from someone, went to Pollachi cattle market and sat under a tree. Then his name as written on a card-board hanging from that tree was, ‘Pakshi jothidar  Parasuvathiar’
When I casually mentioned to him, during one of my visits, about the craze for Vasthu sasthram and gem- remedy in Hyderabad and nearby areas,  Parasu, looked deep into my eyes  and asked a few questions.
‘Than poikko, jan nokkikolam,-thanks for the tips, now I know what to do” With those words, he got up. That was the last I saw him.
After an year, I happened to read a write-up in a local daily about a respected Pandit Paras Pakkuvetti, renowned astrologer, Palmist, Gem therapist and Vasthu consultant,doing yeomen service to the society. That was my cousin Parasu. I called and congratulated him. I don’t know how and when Parasu acquired expertise in all those fields, but I have reliable information that political leaders and business magnets are his main clients and one cannot meet him without prior appointment.
“I won’t ask any questions about your professional achievements. ” I assured him, “Just tell  me what is that ‘Pakkuvetty’, in your name”.
“Last time when we met, I was cutting an areca-nut and you said that one should be able to crack any hard nuts, in life too, with the efficiency of the puny cutter,I had in my hand”  Parasu replied, “when I needed a Telugu surname to promote my business I thought there can’t be a better one than Pakkuvetty, the areca nut cutter”
I wrote so elaborately about my cousin Parasu because, it was he who found my life partner, within a matter of minutes, a task in which I didn’t succeed, despite my hard work, for several years.
“Parasu, I want you to look for a girl for Konthai”, my father told the solver of insolvable problems, when he came home, in response to my father’s call.”And do it fast.”
‘Valla abadhavum pattiyo?” Partially opening his mouth, packed with betel-leaves, Parasu enquired. It was a polite way of asking whether I had comitted some undesirable acts such as marrying a worthless girl, without my parents’ consent,or had already become a father without marrying one. “Nothing like that. My son is not that type” My father boasted,”he is busy with his work as I am,with my business. A few proposals came but somehow,I didn’t like them. A good-looking girl from a respectable family–that is all my demand.”
“No problem ,athimbar! Ask Kailasa vadyar to be ready for ‘Nichithartham’  engagement function, coming friday evening. Now give me fifty chakrams.”
Chakram was a small coin in the old Thiruvananthapuram royal state, under the Maharaja and despite its invalidity after the king was dethroned, those from the southern part of Kerala used to mention it often.  Parsu meant fifty rupees. “I want a bride for my son,” my father said,” and not a buffalo from the pollachi market”
My father was confident that if no suitable girl was found,Parasu was capable of creating one out of his magic wand and therefore, handed over the amount he asked for.
Parasu did create a girl out of his magic wand!
By the next available train, he went to Thiruvananthapuram.
While coming out of the Sreekanteswaram temple, he met his cousin,Krishnaiyer, with an umbrella firmly held in his armpit.
Krishnaiyer was related to my mother and was living close to the Sreekanteswaram temple. For many in kerala, both men and women, umbrella is a constant companion and whether there is a need or not, they sparely step out of their house,without holding it in their hand or preserving it below their armpit. Krisnaiyer used to keep the umbrella, close to his body even while sleeping. “Thookkam sukhamakandamoda– sound sleep without that? ” he used to ask.
For sound sleep, some keep a pillow close by, some a story book, some Geetha or Ramayanam and  people of my age, a sex novel. Most of my companions have that good habit, but they keep a picture of gods, between the pages, so that they can have a last look at it,in case, a SOS comes from above.
 Many, on this earth, do not get sound sleep with their wife close by and  some fall into sleep the moment they see their wives! .
‘Binnaruchirhi lokhaa:–people are of differeent tastes”, said Kalidasa.

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