MATTANCHERY TALES BY KR SUNIL

Peemakumari has been living alone for years in an old building in Mattancherry. A rickety building that has doors which are closed with old sacks. I saw her once sitting with a number of cats. The cats ran away seeing me, a few stood at a distance with caution.

 A cat had entered her life 5 years back. Now there are more than 10 of them! Dhumshi, Ghore, Sheete... She calls them by names reminiscent from her motherland.

She spoke pleasantly. She was from Nepal. She had got married to Duniram at 11, and had shifted to Kochi where he was working as a security person at Hindustan petroleum. She has ever sinced lived in the old port town. Duniram passed away 17 years back, and she never returned to her native as there were no family left there too. She speaks malayalam well. Her husband's modest pension and a few well wishers help her meet ends these days. A cat had entered her life 5 years back. Now there are more than 10 of them! Dhumshi, Ghore, Sheete... She calls them by names reminiscent from her motherland.

I used to visit her often. The cats too grew accustomed to my presence. Once she expressed a wish - she asked me to restore a few photos of her husband. She searched around the dark rooms and found a couple of old photos. Her husband's face wasn't at all clear in those, but then she believed technology can save her. It was the desire to see her husband again. I did not dishearten her. I took the photos and left.

Days passed. I didn't know how to confront her with the reality that the photos were beyond repair. One day I did go there quietly and told her the fact. Her face dropped in disappointment. To make up for the miss, I presented some pictures I had taken of her with the cats. That brightened her again. And she called out towards the cats. A few of them gathered and she showed the photos to them, speaking between them in a language only they could understand.

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AUTHOR & PHOTOGRAPHER

KR SUNIL

He finds extraordinary stories in ordinary people. Believes, you should be one of them; for that you should be the kind that loves humanity. He doesn’t carry fancy cameras, that would separate him from them.

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