The decline of Duraisamy

"Duraisamy propitiating the Gods" caught by Varuna

Nearly all of you who have visited us here would have met Duraisamy, our neighbour, who used to help us on our land. Over the years the love-hate relationship (We have had tremendous fights about his cows grazing on our land, his son stealing one of our trees and so on) settled into one of amicable tolerance. in fact, Duraisamy used to look after our house, dog, cats, cow when all four of us were away.

Since when we first knew him, he was always a good worker: The kallukattus which he has made are noticeable for their “cleanness”. He was also quick to grasp ideas and it was he for instance who built our cuddapah-kal benches on mud pillars. Since we first knew him, he has also nursed a grudge against his pangaalis (cousin-neighbours): “How come they have so much land whereas I don’t even have half the amount?”

This grudge slowly ripened into an obsession, and he even blamed his cousins for casting the evil eye which killed his wife (Pottiamma died of renal failure following acute diabetes). After the death of his wife, he got his only son, Thenan, married and started the process of transferring the patta of his lands from his father’s name to his son’s.

“Those whom the Gods curse, they grant them their wishes”. So says an old Persian proverb.

When the land was measured, it showed that Duraisamy’s patta extended beyond his land to some part of his cousins’ land as well. He stood vindicated. But it’s not so easy when possession is nine-tenths the law. Everyone concerned was bribing everyone: the police, the VAO’s office, the surveyors…  And Duraisamy’s obsession teetered into madness.

Now he roams around the various temples, praying, and doing little else. He has chased his son away from home (for being willing to negotiate a compromise with the cousins). He has been picking fights with everyone and his brother and has also started stealing coconuts (“for the Gods”). The villagers have labelled him “kanian” (madman) and it is but a step to children throwing stones at him. When Sonati or I talk to him, he is not so much mad as obsessed (but teetering nonetheless). We (and his family) are at a loss about what is to be done. He however seems to have reached “the field beyond good and evil” and is asking everyone to meet him there.

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2 Responses to “The decline of Duraisamy”

  1. Aseem Shrivastava Says:

    Wow! Does D foreshadow the future of this greedy land? Can we take our lands with us when we go mad, or go to heaven?

  2. The Reappearance of Duraisamy « Thekambattu Says:

    […] of you have heard about the Disappearance of Duraisamy from us: I never got around to writing about it because it was so depressing. At first his decline […]

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