This is a very special incident that I relate today that dates back almost 35 years.. after it had happened... Though all concerned knows that it was me who did that blunder bu not till now I accepted it ...!!!!
You know.., the place where we lived had this unique sand , texture that is amorphous, as it is of monsoon climate, the humidity used to quite high . We as kids play so feverishly that we used to sweat so badly that we take bath twice a day.. no big news ..!
That evening, my elder brother Raja and me... we were playing "football" at our adjoining playground. This place was gardened by us to our seasonal quench of games. At that time it was football I was quite good at it.. and not to miss that studying in 5th standard and I use to play for my brother's class who was studying 8th.
The reason for us to play at the adjoining ground was that we could sneak back home before our father returns home that used to be sharp 5-30 every evening..
It was unwritten Bible verses for us to be at home while our Dad returns home , with our books and studying..The ritual was that Dad will come home. would have a wash and his towel will be hung in the front of the verandah from where he would pull it to dab himself...It would be a crime if anyone dare touches it,,,!!!
WHile we were playing football with so much attention the time factor eluded our attention..! Raja signalled me that we had crossed the time long ago, We rushed home, Raja smartly washed his leg in one of the water tap at the backyard, took a run to the garden at the side and entered the house from the side entrance grabbed his book and began his act of studying.I on the contrary, ran to the front of the house, our Granny was sitting at the entrance and signaling me to hurry up as Dad had already reached home,, I was literally sweating..having reached home late.. I was further more puzzled to see Raja who had by then had reached his study, with his books..
Well in quick flow ran to the back, where the water used to flow from the backyard to all over the fence to water the collections in our garden around the house.Also we had the bathtub in the open , where we cousins used to float in the summers.
I going through the cycle of washing and wiping myself and came dashing to the front finding that Dad has not come , the towel hanging in front gave the prompt that He has not yet completed his bath, I dabbed myself, hung back the towel at the same place and reached my station to study...
You can say we almost forgot and we were getting engrossed in our studies.. all of a sudden we were called by Dad to come to the verandah..!Those days, we had a cane stick that was picked by us at Palani- a sacred place while we visited during our nephews' "Ear piercing ceremony" during which our whole family pulled the "Golden Chariot"on that occasions devotes would do all kinds of bizarre acts like piercing themselves with spears, beating themselves with cane stick that is soaked in linseed oil, , which was quite strange for us kids .. but that was what offered as offerings to God..- a belief..We had brought home one such cane that we collected as a souvenir...
My Dad was holding that cane in his hand and flexing it..seeing his posture itself I was taken back,.. At first he very casually asked us all my sister and my eldest brother Bala were sent as they were seen by Dad while he entered home they were already at the study , . The remaining two of us were made to stand ..First I did not understand what was the issue.. and Dad was loosing his patience..by then..Granny intervened demanding who had used the towel that was hanging in the front,which had he fresh mark of the red wet sand deposits that was left for Dad to use..I was acting ostrich.. and Dad suspected it to be Raja.. and I quite tacitly.. behaved innocent.. My Dad had lost his patience we both of us were standing on either side of our Dad..He swayed the cane on both sides striking it below our knees.. it was such a sudden strike.. we both jumped off our feet..but I completely acted idiot and kept quite not revealing the fact that it was me who had used the towel..as Dad wanted us to confess.., I was carrying some silly grudge on my brother Raja over the game at the ground.. kept mum.. the caning becoame quite vigorous.. and granny came ahead to control Dad, on that due course she took 2,3 blows and stood aside,, meanwhile pleading either one of us to accept.. Raja was quite staunch stating that he would not as he didn't do it.. I was well known for standing quite without any reactions while confronted..
This had Dad put off, the punishment got severe such that we both had severe marks at the back of our legs on the calf muscles .. quite red and almost puckering the skins.. oh my God it was really paining and burning.. at one end Granny was pleading one of us to accept and neither headed for her request.. and finally out of frustration Dad flung away the cane.
After a while there was a commotion at the backyard, Grandma as shouting at Raja to stop and .. all at home rushing to see what was happening.. Raja was wearing a dhoti and a towel..( He was known in the family as he fancied with new dresses and shoes..) and staging to walk out of the house with just what he was wearing ,,, ( We all later used o call him- Ramalinga Adigalar Saint who had attained his sainthood with a dhoti and towel)as he was punished for the mistake which he had not committed ( Normally he would do such silly things, but that day he did not do it..) Then it was such a scene for the whole colony - our neighbors could over hear the whole episode came out and consoled my brother..Raja to calm down and get back home.. in this commotion.. I was out of the nucleus of the issue.. yet I as having a guilty consciousness...The marks of the beating was there for almost a couple of days.. Even while taking bath it burnt like... anything .. I am sure Raja too had suffered that..
Yes I sincerely regret for having steadfastly kept quite and not coming forward to accept my mistake.. I had received the punishment but at the same time victimized my brother too..
It is a very late confession but .. today I really feel relieved of that guilt.. may be he would not remember it.. or might even laugh it away as never an issue... I really do feel sorry.. for that idiotic - stubborn act of mine!!!!