sarpa kaavu and rituals

Alummoottil is an aristocratic family in south central Kerala.

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(This is an article / story contributed by a member of the public. This is a work of fiction. All the names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents in this article are the product of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, and actual events is purely coincidental.)

“Rukmini, are you not ready yet? Come fast!! The Pooja will start soon” Ammini was waiting for Rukmini for a long time. Today was Sivarathri and they had to get there before the Pooja began. "I am ready, Amma. Now let’s go. Where is Achan?” “He already went. Now we have to go.” Rukmani was super excited about the day. Sivarathri was the biggest festival in the village. Everyone assembles in the Ambala Parambu and stays awake the whole night.

“Rukku you are late.” Anand ran to her as soon as they reached Ambalam. “I am sorry!!! I had to get ready.” “The Pooja just began. Come let’s go.” “Give me a minute Anand. Amma, I am going with him. See you later.” “OK take care both of you.” Amma screamed as both of them ran away.”

Rukku and Anand were best friends from a very young age. Rukku spent most of her time roaming around with Anand. “Anand, you haven’t forgotten right? You had promised to buy me unniyappom from the stalls.” “I haven’t forgotten. I’m taking you there only.”

“Wow, this is so tasty.” Rukku said chewing the Unniyappam, “I thought you were joking. By the way, where did you get the money from?” “Of course from my Achan. And I always keep promises. “Anand…I need your help. Can you come with me to some place?” “Where??” “I’ll tell…now come with me.” Rukku held his hand and started running towards the forest nearby. “Rukku, where are we going? You know we can’t enter the forest at this time. It’s already night.” “I have to go. I have to give this Ada Pradaman to Nagaraja. Amma made this for me. And I took it to give it to Nagaraja and Nagarani.” “Are you going to the Sarpakavu at this time? You know there will be snakes all around.” “Anand if you want to come, you can, otherwise I’m going alone.” Rukku walked towards the forest. Now Anand had no other option but to follow her. Anand tried to convince her it's dangerous. But she wouldn’t listen.

As they reached they could hear noises near the Sarpakavu. Rukku said, “See I told you it’s not dangerous. There are other people too.” “Rukku keep quiet.” Anand held her hand and hid there between the trees. “What’s wrong Anand?” “I said keep quiet. I don’t think they are praying. There’s something wrong.” From a distance Anand and Rukmini could see a group of people trying to lift the Nagaraja statue. “Anand, are they trying to steal our Nagaraja?” “I’m not sure. But it’s made of stone. Why do they steal it? Wait…they are taking something from under the statue.” “Anand, there is achan standing there. Acha….” Anand closed her mouth with his hands. “What did you do? I think they saw us. We should run.” “Don’t worry Anand. It’s my achan only.” Anand grabbed Rukku’s hand and ran from there. Hearing the voice, Channar, along with his men, followed them.

Both the children ran on the top of their lungs. But accidently Anand fell into a hole. Rukku tried her best to get him out. But she couldn’t reach him. “Anand wait there. I’ll get someone to get you out of there.” When Rukku ran some distance forward, he heard Anand screaming. So turned and ran towards him only to see her father stabbing a knife through his body. Soon Anand wasn’t moving. He must be dead. Rukku ran to the Ambala Parambu and found her mother. She explained everything she saw right now. “What are you talking about my girl? Don’t forget you are talking about your own father. Do you think he is able to kill someone, that too our Anand. This is because you visited the Sarpakavu at this time. Don’t you know nobody is allowed there at this time?” “Amma I saw…” “See your father is here.”

When she turned, Channar was standing right behind her. She couldn’t hide her fear. “What is it Rukku?” He asked. Rukku couldn’t answer. He took Rukku with him. Rukku didn’t even had the courage to rebel. He took her somewhere nobody could see them. “Rukmini, did you see something?” “No…I didn’t” “Even if you saw something, keep it to yourself. Otherwise you will have to face the same fate as your friend’s.

It's been a week. Everyone says Anand is missing. That his body is not found yet. Rukku was trying to sleep at night. But she couldn’t. It was all Anand that she could think of. She heard someone opening the door. She didn’t dare to look. She felt something pressing against her face. And she couldn’t breathe. She started to struggle. She tried to cry out loud but couldn’t. Then she heard a noise and the object on her face was loosened. When she caught her breath and looked around, Amma was standing with an iron rod in her hand. And achan was lying on the floor motionless, blood all around him.

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A murder in Alummoottil meda was the inspiration of the screenplay of Manichitrathazhu.