Saturday, September 1, 2007

Old man of the fields

The man on the extreme left in the photo, wearing a doubled up blue dhoti is Antha (short for Anthony). He died last month. This post is about him, a remembrance.

The world didn’t know Antha. But I knew him. The people of Olavipe knew him; he was one of the oldest in the area. And the staff of the nearby hospitals knew him because he was in and out of them during the last couple of years or so. Apparently he was an independent type of patient. The reason given for discharge from his last hospital was disregarding hospital rules.

That was his character. I don’t think he acknowledged anyone else than our family as his boss. In spite of our attempt to pension him, he used to report for work whenever he could.

Antha belonged to the Pulaya caste. His father Kunjoutha who was the foreman for a block of our rice fields, was converted to Christianity during the 1930s and Antha continued the tradition. However his son who is working at the Cochin Port became a Hindu. They stayed in the same house.

The photo below shows the location of Antha’s house. The building is blocked from view because of the trees in front of it. But a clothes line can be seen.

One morning Antha’s body was found in the waterlogged paddy field in front of his house. He and his father had worked that field all their lives. Obviously he had a heart attack when he was washing himself.

Antha’s winning smile is what I remember most about him. May his soul rest in peace.


Also see: Morning After the Storm - Part 1.

Launch of a vallom (country boat)

Photos copyright: top - TP, bottom - KO Isaac. Click on them to enlarge.


harimohan said...

dear mr tharakan
how a bog post can bring a person out of anonymity ,each human being is a spark indeed but is lost in the multitudes but for posts like these ,
enjoyed reading on antha ,now i too know him

Abraham Tharakan said...

Thank you, Harimohan. What you said is so correct.

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

Powerful writng sir, you have introduced someone special to me today. I belive every human being is special, Antha will be have immortalized him through your humble ways.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Thank you for the comment, Lakshmi. You are so right; every human being is special.
If you get the time and feel inclined, please read my prize winning short story 'Morning after the storm'. The link is given in the same post. It is the story of people like Antha.