Saturday, February 27, 2010

Parukutty Teacher

Clad in white

Starched white

Unironed white

Indigoed white

With thin black border

Or thinner red border

Eyes brimming with contempt

And hate and disgust

Set below sandal paste streaked forehead

Set below salt and pepper parted in the center

She taught me the language that gave birth to my thoughts.

Eyes flash

Sheer fury

Tongue sneers, spews


“Christians step out


You do it in your church

We don’t kneel in temples”.

Mind still soft

Yet to set in position

Wails silently

Cursing its faith.


Grows estranged

From the language in which it feels.



Incomprehensible emotions

Self submerged

In the rubble of thoughts and feelings

Gasps for words that describe.

In vain.

Clad in white

Sandal paste furrowing hideously

She cackles in glee.

(My previous post -Confessions of an alienated Malayalee - is a prelude to this)


Anjuli said...

This was powerful indeed!!! I read it a couple of hours ago- but could not comment- had to let it simmer for awhile. I returned and reread it. There are so many bits which stand out-

'worse grows estranged from the language in which it feels'

'...self submerged in the rubble of thoughts and feelings...'

Oh but the final line-

'She cackles in glee'- this line sent chills up my spine and summarized the entire piece. Like a frame fitted perfectly to a masterpiece.

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

@ anjuli
that's tall praise indeed-whether deserving, am not sure. the poem is some 20 years old- didn't want to publish it 'cos of the anger in it. Then i thought -what the heck!

Anjuli said...

I'm glad you published it.

Balachandran V said...

Can't say I share Anjuli's enthusiasm for the poem. There is too much negativity in it; too much anger. The face of Parukutty teacher becomes the face of the poet....

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

@ Balachandran V
u couldn't be more right. didn't want the world to see that ugly side of me.that's y it took me so long to publish it.

Kush said...

Even when this is supposed to be a venomous poem the natural poetry you are capable of shines through at certain places: "the language that gave birth to my thoughts". The poem is not so nice or memorable unless you keep it close to your heart because of the memory that is associated with it. I hope one day you will wash your hands clean of this well as the memory.

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

@ rhett
the anger left me long time back - the memory doesn't hurt anymore. that's y i could publish it

P. Venugopal said...

Powerful. Rankling, though in a controlled and apparently detached way now, even after all these years!

Anil P said...

Teachers had so much character before, good or bad, they left an impression - on language and otherwise.

Sparse yet evocative verse.

anilkurup59 said...

If anger can bring out such a piece as this then be it. There might be distinct shreds of negativity but isn't that a reaction to her"cackle in glee"?

Anonymous said...

TAHNKS FOR YOUR SHARING~~~VERY NICE ........................................

anilkurup59 said...

I read the piece again.And wish to add these words to my comments.I know a Parukutty for the past half century.And it was that image that floated in my mind. And she is the antonym of the Parukutty in your verse.
The Parukutty I know is my "Mother"!!

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

@anil kurup
then the only thing your mother shares with my subject is the name. am sure your mom is a lovely person.
my subject was in mid sixties in 1965/66

anil p
thanks. doesn't matter if a teacher leaves no impression but a negative one is an absolute no no

P@ P venugopal
thanks sir.
the poem was written 20 years ago, 20 yrs after the parukutty encounters. some childhood experiences rankle.

Indian Bazaars said...

Enjoyed reading this.