Short story

Someone was reading aloud a publicity notice of a wrestling competition at Papu Pillais tea-shop. “The bout you were anxiously awaiting”. This introductory statement attracted the attention of Pappu Pillai as well as Adraman a beedi maker, next door. The reader continued, “Never before had there been such a prestigious fight and never will there be such a fight of fury”. As he read on, it kindled the excitement of both Pappu Pillai and Adraman. They urged him to read out the names of the wrestlers. “All Kerala Gama, the all India fame-the prestigious fighter of Malayalees Mekkattu Nanu Pillai”. Pappan Pillai jumped with happiness, he said “If it is Mekkattu Nanu Pillai, no doubt he would be the winner”. Adraman the beedi-maker intervened “who is the opponent?”. It was read out from the notice “The great champion-lion of Punjab-Mohammed Hussain”. Kunjumoideen the pan-shop owner cheered aloud “Ha, Ha-Ha Hussain will beat Nanu Pillai”. There were heated exchanges; Pappu Pillai would not imagine a wrestler of his own caste getting defeated at the hand of a Muslim. Adraman’s feeling were not different. He could not even think of a wrestler of some other caste defeating Mohammed Hussain. Heated exchange of words lead to physical assault. Pappu Pillai stabbed Kunjumoideen and Adraman killed Pappu Pillai.

The news spread like wild fire. Riots and street fighting started everywhere. It spared no one. Neighbours turned to each other to kill. Close friend became archenemies. Hindus & Muslims were killing each other. Nobody knew why they were fighting or why they were killing. But killing continued. Several homes were burnt down. Charred bodies were scattered around. The smell of burnt flesh filled the air.

In due time peace returned. But then practically everything was lost. Mohammed could find some bamboo and palm leaves with which he could put up a shelter. Mohammed was the son of Kunjumoideen the first victim of the excitement over some wrestling competition somewhere. Mohammed met Gopalan the younger brother of Pappu Pillai. Gopalan was also searching for what remained out of his brother’s teashop. They decided to set up a single shop from out of what remained from the riot. But they could not make out the reason for such a riot.
Before the inauguration, they put up a board in front of the shop. It read “ No entry for the insane”

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