This lesson is an excerpt from the book "A Childhood in Malabar: A Memoir", written by Kamala Das. In this part, she has written about the incident that happened on a particularly stormy day in her place. Kamala and her brother had been invited to a birthday feast in Ambazhathel. Malathikutty took the kids to a serpent shrine before lunch.
A distant relative but an important person of the family was Meenakshi Edathi. Though there were many servants to take care of the household work, only Meenakshi knew the family's needs. After they returned from the temple, they started hearing the intense sounds of the gale. Ammamma asked them to sit in the upstairs middle room and gave them a metal dice to play with. They slammed the windows shut and lit brass lamps as it had become dark at around 4 pm itself.
Malathikutty wanted to go to Ambazhathel to see Kutti Oppu but Ammamma convinced her saying she could go as soon as the storm stopped. Coconut palms came crashing down that time. All of them decided to sit in the southern room downstairs as it had the strongest ceiling. The southern room (thekkini) was flooded and the central hall (nalukettu) began to overflow. The elders sat on the rolled-up mattresses and the servant woman took refuge in the makeshift toilet.
Ammayi arrived with Kutti Oppu unmindful of the driving rain and thunders. Cheriamma suggested that they all chant aksharaslokams to forget their fear. Their servant woman was wailing loudly, fearing that she might not see her family again. Muthassi was worried about the cowshed and the cows, while Sankaran calmed her saying the beams were quite strong and they need not worry.
A family pet-dog named Thumbi knocked on the door thoroughly soaked in the rain. Sankaran placed a gunny bag on the mat for Thumbi to warm up himself. The next day a person called Balan had come from Vadekkara to check if they were doing fine. He had waded through the water and seen fowls and dead goats floating everywhere! It was a bad situation in their place!
A stormy day!