Cheriamma suggested that we chant aksharaslokams to forget our fear: each one of us would have to recite a verse and the next person would follow with a verse that began with the first letter of the third line of the quatrain that had just been chanted. No one volunteered, though. So Cheriamma recited from Vallathol’s imprisoned Aniruddhan. Ammamma said, ‘I can’t remember a single couplet.’ ‘I hope the house doesn’t collapse,’ murmured Muthassi.

     As soon as Ammaman and Ammayi went upstairs, the servant woman started to wail loudly. She kept hitting her head with her hands while she wailed. ‘What madness is this? Do you want to break open your head?’ asked Ammamma. ‘What if I never see my folks again. . . My Guruvayoorappa! I’ll never see them again!’ ‘You can go home tomorrow morning, as soon as the rain stops. All right?’ said Muthassi. ‘This rain will never stop. It’s a whirlwind, isn’t it? We’ll all die,’ sobbed the woman.
     ‘Is she crazy?’ asked Muthassi. We heard trees crashing to the ground. And a dog whining in the western yard. ‘Aiyo, Sankara! What if the cowshed crumbles? Bring the cows in and tie them up in the washing area outside the kitchen,’ said Ammamma. ‘The cowshed won’t fall down, Valiamma. Its beams are quite strong,’ said Sankaran Nair, who had gone to check things out. ‘Then let the cows stay there.’
Cheriamma (mother's younger sister) told we could suggest aksharaslokams to distract themselves from the fear. (Akshara Slokam is a traditional way of sloka chanting, a poetic entertainment developed in Malayalam.  It is in a classical format with strict rules on the meter of quatrains called slokas. Several scholars sit together to recite either Sanskrit or Malayalm slokas). Each person had to say a verse and the next person began with the first letter of the third verse that had been chanted by the earlier person. No one was willing to start. Cheriamma herself started with the first verse from "Vallathol’s imprisoned Aniruddhan". Ammamma said she couldn't remember even a single sloka. Muthassi, on the other hand, was worried about the house; she hoped that the house doesn't crumble down.
Cheriamma started chanting the aksharaslokams herself!
Ammamma and Ammayi went upstairs. The servant lady started to cry loudly as he kept banging her head with her hands. Ammamma scolded her saying what she did was madness and whether she wanted to break open her head. The servant lady was worried if she would be able to see her family, ever again. She thought they would all die in the storm. Muthassi convinced her saying that she could go home the next day morning after the rain stopped. The lady replied that rain would never stop and that they would all die in the violent storm.
Muthassi asked if the lady was insane. Suddenly they heard more sounds - trees falling, a dog crying in a high-pitched sound in the western yard. Ammamma suddenly remembered about the cowshed and wondered if it would collapse down. She asked Sankara to bring in the cows and tie them in the washing area near the kitchen. Sankaran Nair replied that the cowshed wouldn't fall as the beams were quite strong. He had gone to check the conditions outside the house. Ammamma replied that the cows could stay there itself then.
Sankaran said the cowshed beams were strong and there was nothing to worry!
Meanings of difficult words:
waila prolonged high-pitched cry of pain, grief, or anger
whirlwinda storm with a violent wind
whiningthe making of a long, high-pitched cry or sound
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). Term-3 English Standard-6. A Childhood in Malabar: A Memoir - Kamala Das (pp 84-89). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.