To go back home – veetukku!

Whenever I leave my home, I often feel a sense of longing and say ‘veetukku…’ (to go back home). Adults would make fun of me and ask, ‘Why, are you in the forest?’ I would get more irritated when someone teased me like that.

Later, I started attending primary school. I missed my home and cried for the whole day. When my teacher asked why, I said ‘veetukku…’

During my college days, I wanted to present myself as a different person. As a law or arts student, I saw joining politics as my only option. Tamil politics operates like a multi-level-marketing scheme, with money flowing from the top tier to the bottom tier in a hierarchy. From the party leader to the low-level party cadres who put up flags and lights for meetings, everyone benefits when the “cash rain” falls. In return, they expect us to be more “visvasi-s” (trusting). That trust is important to receive money in the next cash flow. To prove my trust, I threw a stone at the glass window of a local opposition party leader. I was arrested and spent time in lockup. When I realized I needed to pay for my own bail, I felt a sense of longing and said ‘veetukku…’.

Despite that, I got the opportunity to move up the political ladder. I spent all my resources, including loans, donations, and threats. My goal was not to double, but to at least quintuple my investment. It was not as easy as you might think. Even after gaining power, I had to spend a lot to mute opponents, both within my own party and in the opposition. I needed to use money and power interchangeably. I knew I would receive the same treatment if I lost power. I bought lands, built rice mills, opened several petrol stations, and built a shopping complex in the center of the city. Most notably, I built a college. The college business helped to increase my prestige. Previous generations of politicians were bar owners, but people like me in the “neo political” era don’t have to live in that kind of environment. I pay educated people, and their parents respect me. When my previous generatation leaders became wine shop owners, I became ‘educationalist’. But the motive is the same! I was intoxicated by the widespread power I had, but deep down, I knew who I truly was. My mind lamented, ‘veetukku…’

It’s been some time. I’ve experienced ups and downs. I rose high on the political ladder in Tamil Nadu. My self-conscious did not remind me of who I am. As time passed, I grew older and my sons became powerful centers in my party. Even my grandsons are accorded great respect wherever they go. The power intoxicated everyone in my family. I felt I had achieved. I felt proud of my accumulated wealth, but it was never enough. I started a series of distilleries to produce liquor. The government gave up on education, and privates gave up the bars. I sold liquor barrels to the government. My liquor was sold on every street, in front of many places of worship, and at the doorstep of daily wage workers. I made every part of society taste my spirit. The government took the blame, and I was happily hiding behind it.

I felt something was wrong with my health before I reach the average life span of India. I felt fatigued. That was the day my cook prepared a pal nandu kozhambu (crab curry cooked with spices and coconut milk), and I couldn’t eat enough. My wife realized, and eventually, the physicians announced they couldn’t do anything to save me. Money poured inside my house from all my income sources, like the endless tides in Chennai Marina. Of course, the Chennai Marina is black due to sewage water, and my money has its own black shade too. But none of the currency notes could save me or relieve me from my pain. I was unconsciousness in the hospital ward for most of the time. Whenever I regained my consciousness, I could hear the heated arguments between my sons as they struggled over property and power sharing. It was the quietest period of my life. Nobody greeted me, nobody offered me a garland or towel, no press meets, no assembly talks. I was kept alive by a feeding tube. One evening, my wife came into the ward. She wanted to ask something. “Where did you keep the navaratna kasumala?” she asked. I said “Veetukku…” She couldn’t understand, so she leaned in closer to hear me. I repeated “Veetukku…”

The vehicle was en route to my home. Upon realizing what was about to happen, arrangements were made. I was back in my bedroom, surrounded by care. My elder son said, “Appa.. Appa.. Can you hear me? We’re home. Are you happy now? Where is the navaratna kasumala?” I lamented “Veetukku…”, but I couldn’t make it as an audible voice. I felt I was traveling through a black tunnel in search of light. I heard someone else lamenting far away, far below me. There seemed to be the end of the tunnel. There was a bright space that greeted me with pleasure. All my pain and worries, which had come with me so far, went away. Someone there asked me, “Veetuku..? You’re home?” I said, “Yes, finally.”

This blog post is a part of Blogchatter’s WRITE A PAGE A DAY campaign. This is a fiction. It does not represent anyone in real. If it reflects someone, know that it is purely accidental. Company is not responsible 😀

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