. . .
The rain was coming down in a huge downpour when the brothers walked towards their Tharavaadu at Alummoottil. When the lightning flashed, one could make out that their faces were bloodless white. However, in their eyes burned a steely determination, a fiery pride that surpassed feelings of terror or paranoia.
The news that the King of Kayamkulam had ordered to have them killed had reached them through an acquaintance, who passed them by an hour ago. The news shocked and bewildered them. They were true patriots, loyal to their king and country. The decision to learn Pathonpatham Adavu (19th Lesson) at Vadakkan Kalari (Northern Martial Art School) was spurred solely by a genuine interest to improve their physical and mental acumen.
The Vadakkan Kalari family was kind and accommodating to their interests and overlooked the fact that they were members of two rival kingdoms. There was a promise of friendship and camaraderie in their training sessions, the possibility of a future in which feuds and rivalries were left behind and a brotherhood of man attained.
But it was not to be. They had falsely been accused of a terrible crime - the act of treason.
The brothers walked in silence. The thunderclaps joined in with their fast-pounding hearts. “Will we make it home before they capture us, brother?” The younger one asked quietly, his face bent downwards.
“Yes, we will.” The elder brother was quiet, keeping a calm face that hid the storm of thoughts swirling in his mind.
They had reached Thattarambalam by now and still had an hour or two to walk. The rain had slowed them down considerably. Their swords swung from their backs in their waterproof leather skin purses.
“Brother, did we do anything wrong?” The younger brother’s voice was faint. He was the livelier of the two, the one who always laughed the loudest, fought the hardest and lived his life to the fullest. The elder brother’s heart stung to hear him sound so disheartened now.
“No, we did not.” He held his younger brother in an embrace. “We did not. But they are too short-sighted to understand that. All they see is power, hate and vendetta. They don’t understand brotherhood and love. And that the principles of a Kalari warrior supersedes the petty quarrels between two princely states ”
He saw a string of lanterns in the distance. They were moving towards them.
“Will we make it home, brother?” The younger brother asked him again.
“What did you love about home?” He asked back, looking his brother in the eye.
“Dad waking us in the morning to accompany him in the river for a swim, mom feeding me with her own hands when I am sad…..” His voice started breaking. “Most of all, the freedom I enjoyed there. I felt free when I was there with you, Mom, Dad, everyone…”
“And when the Arachars (Executioners) come, they won’t just take our lives. They will take away our freedom, the freedom to live our lives how we wanted, the freedom we had at our Tharavaad. They will make us bow before them, humiliate us, and blame us for treason. Do you understand the gravity of treason, even it is a false accusation? Do you understand the consequences? Do you want to be punished like that?”
“Then, come with me. They cannot take our lives or our freedoms.”
They walked down to the Kandom (field) beside the road. They both knew what they had to do. The lanterns were still nearing when they pointed their swords against each other’s’ necks, standing under the cover of a tree.
“Satyam!” the elder brother shouted.
“Shivam!” the younger roared.
The whooshing sounds of the swords were drowned out by the loudest thunderclap of the night – their separated heads rolled on to the field and their hot blood coloured the soil to a deep crimson.
To this day, the place is called Vettu Kandam (literal meaning is, Cut Field) based on this historic incident.
. . .