In the shadow of the night
Believe it or not!
Every sin committed knowingly is followed by an unknown curse.
Paramu, who was lying on the bed, could not sleep. It was his habit to smoke at night. Parvathi, who went to close the window, smelled it. Usually, when she feels that smell, she feels like vomiting. But now, she was shocked to see what is happening before her own eyes and she could not believe it…
Paramu was talking with someone and was leaving the house in a hurry, very secretly. Neelakandan was removing his vest as it was quite hot; seeing Parvathi, he asked,
“What, Parvathi? Are you going to close that window because of that cigarette smell?”
“No, dear. There’s no necessity for that now. Your dad is going somewhere in this night in a hurry with a person whom I have never seen before…”
“What are you saying? Where is he going at this time…?”
Neelakandan, saying this went outside and looked out. But by that time, Paramu disappeared into the thick darkness of the night. Neelakandan sighed when he returned!
“Why are you sighing…?”
“I don’t know why dad is acting like this quite secretly ....”
“That’s good! if you understand it…”
“What, Parvathi? Are you using this chance to trigger me against my dad?”
“Oh, my Bhagavathi… I said it just like that only.”
“Okay, dear, let us go to sleep now… we’ll discuss this in the morning. “Neelakandan said and went into a deep sleep as he was quite tired after his daily chore.
In the morning …
Parvathi woke up hearing the Milkman’s cycle bell. When she opened the door, she saw Paramu sleeping on the sofa! Usually, he would finish his bathing in the Neyyar River by this time! Parvathi cleaned the house floor, watered the plants, and even finished putting a rangoli before the front entrance. Paramu has not woken up till now! She was a bit worried. With her wet hands, she touched his elbow and tried to wake him up. But, a strong alcohol smell came from him!
He has gone out with someone last night and got drunk fully!
She guessed that correctly and woke up Neelakandan and told the matter. “Oh, my Bhagavathi!” Neelakandan got angry…
“What is this new habit of him? What will happen if someone knows about this…?” Parvathi expressed her concern.
“It was a little shocking for me too, Parvathi… Let him wake up… We will find an end for this…”
When Paramu woke up, Neelakandan asked him with rage.
“Dad, I am asking you openly that why did you drink last night? You didn’t have any such habits before!”
“I got a little hurt. That’s why...”
“For you, finding a reason for everything you do is a quite simple matter...You only confuse within yourself....” On discussion Neelakandan found that Paramu was quite upset on hearing the news that the Dubai guy, Sankaran, was going to be elected as the village panchayat president soon.
"That Sankaran will make me a zero… I don't have any doubt in this." as he said, he left the place without saying anything...
Parvathi, who had gone to close the window that night, was stunned to see him. Paramu was going out of the house somewhere like a thief, covering his head with a cloth.
At about four o'clock, Paramu came back to the house.
Parvathi noted the time when she heard the noise of the front door being closed.
Also, without forgetting, she informed this to Neelakandan at dawn.
"Leave it… he will get wild if we ask something…"
"How could we leave it just like that? If he fell somewhere drunk, only our family prestige will be affected..."
"Okay, what are you asking me to do…?"
When Neelakandan said this purposely a little loud, Paramu came inside...
"What…? What is that your wife is whispering in your ear…?"
"Nothing, dad… we are a bit worried about you?"
"Don't worry. I was drunk last night; I agree, that is because I could not simply bear certain things going on around me… I promise that I will never repeat it. Not only that, I'm a new Paramu from today onwards; I have no hatred towards anyone…" he said in a very bold voice.
He wore a new shirt and dhoti that day, and a thick new gold chain.
Also, he was ready to construct a separate mandapam for the Navagrahas. He arranged for the sculptors for that work.
A group went to Thrissur and ordered the idols…
Poster’s mentioning Sankaran, as president of the panchayat, can be seen all around the village. When Paramu saw that, he didn't get angry. He just smirked… But Neelakandan and Parvathi; both understood that the change in his attitude was an artificial one. "I even couldn't understand dad's behavior nowadays, sister-in-law…" Manikandan also expressed himself.
When Parvathi opened the steel bero to look for the house expenses account notebook, she was shocked to see bundles of currency stacked inside the bero… not only that, there were also some gold biscuits kept inside a yellow color cloth bag!
She went running and mumbled in Neelakandan’s ears what she has seen... But he said, "Dad might have kept them safe for some temple purposes."
But the actual purpose for which those were hidden, was quite different!
The secretary called for an urgent meeting of the executive committee to discuss something quite important…
The golden trident which was given by the Dubai guy was there on the secretary’s table!
Everybody was standing around it, and a goldsmith was testing the trident. After testing, he said, "This is not gold… this is of copper and it is gold plated…"
When he said this, everybody froze.
"No… It's a lie… If this is not gold, then it is not the one which I gave…" Sankaran said.
"So, my dear friend, what you are saying is the gold changed into copper…?" Paramu asked. He was holding a letter in his hand, in that it was written ‘Dubai guy has offered a gold-plated fake trident and you will know the truth if you test it. Yours Truly, He who knows the truth.’
Everyone was astounded.
But the Dubai guy was not shocked.
"Something has happened here. I can show the proof of purchase of the gold and the invoice for the making charges. Someone has swapped the trident… Three and a half kilo of gold has got stolen...I am sure." As he said with surety, some of them looked at the priest.
"What, priest? Did you do it?" When someone from the crowd asked, the priest's body sweated and trembled.
"Please, don't say like that. I always wish to give to Bhagavathi and not to take from her…"
"Then, why did you roam with the local goldsmith from the past two days…?" when the same person asked again, the priest was shivering with fear.
"I didn't roam with him... he purposely came and was chit- chatting with me."
"Didn't he promise to give you a gold chain for half the value, and you also agreed to purchase it, right…?"
"Yes, he said that he needs money for some hospital expenses … so I agreed…"
"Why are you lying…? You were the one who stole the trident… to cheat the village people; you replaced it with a fake one… someone noticed that and wrote this anonymous letter…"
"Oh! My Bhagavathi… This is injustice, I did not do anything…"
“Enough, priest, if we search your house, the truth will automatically come out."
They searched the entire house of the priest and found two hundred gold biscuits hidden in a bero.
After that, no one was ready to listen to the priest's words. The committee members filed a complaint to the police. The priest got dragged among several people to the police station. "I don't know whom to trust … either the Dubai guy is lying… or this priest might have stolen it… hmm… If the Puthiyakavu Bhagavathi is powerful, she will bring the culprit in front of us. “Paramu said.
Parvathi, who heard this, got furious. He took Neelakandan aside and whispered in his ear,
"Your dad is lying… he only did it … that is why he was roaming out with someone every night…"
"Don't speak aloud… How can you decide it is him…?”
"Oh…now, come on, look at my face straight and say… didn't your dad do this…?"
"Tell me, how did all those gold biscuits come in the bero, all of a sudden?"
"Parvathi, don’t talk loud… Dad may hear you… "Neelakandan said, by the time Paramu came in front of them with full of rage.
"Enough...What did your wife said… is she saying that I have stolen the golden trident?"
"But then, why did you roam around with strangers in the night?"
"Who are you to question me?"
"Neela, there are so many urgent works waiting for you on the farm… and you… Parvathi, your work is in the kitchen, and it is better that you concentrate on that only …"
"Dad, what if something happens to you…?"
"Nothing will happen… I know how to sort it out if at all anything happens… whatever I do is only for your wellbeing, first of all … understand it…"
"That's the reason for my fear. If you do good things, that's not a problem... If you do something wrong, we fear that the sin will follow us forever…!"
"Sin…? That's all in your minds! Do you believe that Sankaran is a good person? He has two wives, we don't even know what type of business he is doing in Dubai. He is just trying to gain popularity among the villagers, using the name of Bhagavathi…"
"Why is his history for us now, dad…? Following good ethics will definitely do only good for us… and also, Puthiyakavu Bhagavathi is a quite powerful goddess… cheating her may endanger even your life …"
"If she has the power, no one will commit any mistakes in this village…but half of the committee members are wrongdoers only..."
In expressing so, Paramu didn't have any sign of fear.
"Dad, your words themselves, reveal that you have committed the sin… you are taking revenge upon that Dubai guy… But, what did that poor priest do to you?"
"That priest was the one who gave the idea of the gold trident to that Dubai guy… He supported him for the sake of getting a job for his son in Dubai. He often tells everyone who visits the temple that the Dubai guy is the only person who developed this temple… That's why I targeted him…"
"So that goldsmith is your person?"
"Yeah… okay, don’t ask me anything more, go and concentrate on your work only … hereafter, there is only one official head in this village, and that is me only!"
Paramu said with a little arrogance and left the place.
Parvathi sat on one corner of the hall, heartbroken; she could not simply accept this injustice and that too with a priest. Paramu came again inside the hall; after a few minutes. He looked at everyone and stared at Parvathi for a second…
"Parvathi, If this matter leaks out … not only our family's prestige… but also my soul will depart the very next moment… remember it …" he warned her.