Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Childhood Scares

Just the other day hubby was not going to sleep and I told him “ Go to sleep, allengill kokachi varum” {meaning kokachi (a dangerous beast) will come}. Both of us burst out laughing and instead of going to sleep ended up discussing about the ridiculously named scary creatures of our childhood.

As far as my understanding of kokachi, he is this scary ghost, which resides in dark rooms and will take away naughty and disobedient children who refuse to sleep. Like the famous dialogue of Sholay “So jaa beta, nahin toh Gabbar singh aa jayegaa” my family (the maternal side) used to say “vegam orangikko, allengill kokachi varum”. When I checked with hubby, he said that he was familiar with such a similar creature but only the name was different. In his place, the name is “makaan”, “Kaatu maakan” (creature of the jungle). Ok, Ok, I got inspired by Bond, James Bond :-)

The other thing which naughty children were threatened with was that they would get “konthram pallu”. Now my Appachan (grandfather) and uncles have a vivid imagination and they used to describe “konthram pallu” as this huge tooth, which used to grow in the nose. It would grow bigger and bigger and then come out of the nose making the face hideous. The innocent children that we were, we used to touch our nose and check whether “konthram pallu” was growing after we did something particularly naughty.

I should say my uncles had such a gala time, terrorizing us poor nieces and nephew that we are planning to sue them for mental harassment. The next on the list of their cruelty is the story of the plant growing inside your stomach if you accidentally ended up swallowing seeds of fruits. Evenings were the time when the entire family used to gather for tea and palaharam (snacks). When one of the overzealous aunts used to feed fruits to the children, Appachan and uncles were waiting to pounce on the poor child who would invariably swallow a seed. Then would start stories of how the seed would become a sapling in the tummy and then grow into a tree that has branches, which would grow out of your mouth and ears. Stories would go on in full swing ignoring warning looks of the aunts and Ammachi.

We, as kids, used to love looking at the old wedding albums of relatives. It was quite hilarious to look at the yesteryear fashions like bell-bottoms and big moustaches. When we were looking at the album of any of our little cousin’s parents wedding, our uncles were ready to rag the poor child. They would start by asking seemingly innocuous questions like who is the bride and the kid would say ‘amma’ and then move for the kill. After turning a couple of pages, uncles would innocently ask the kid, where he was on his parents wedding. They would further say that his parents don’t love him enough and that’s why he wasn’t called for the wedding. Now our 3 yr old is in doubt and off he runs to the kitchen to find his mom to ask certain tough questions. The poor mother would end up hemming and hawing and give some pacifying answer like the kid was in her stomach and so on….

It brings a smile to my face when I end up reminiscing about the childhood days and I should say that we have had our revenge on our uncles as we used the same tactics on their kids and scared the hell out of them. It was particularly nice to see them squirming at their tiny tot’s question of where was I at your wedding… muahahaha…*evil laughter*

I am sure that all of us were routinely scared by “yakshi”, “pretam”, “rakshasi” and a host of other ghostly things. Do you have any names or incidents, which on remembering now sounds ridiculous?


anN-series said...

yes i do have something that scared me- 'ninde mol path vyas aavumpol enikku taranam....alingil njaan....alingil njaan ninne KOLLUMMM'!!!!!

how cud u forget this 'Komban meesha ungle' masterpiece of urs....quite original i must say.. :~D

silverine said...

Nice post..bought back lots of horrible memories :) My second brother would cheat by saying that he saw my parents wedding through the naval :p I used to get so distraught because I didn't remember such a thing and for many years I felt really bad because of that. He explained that by saying that my parents picked me up from the dustbin! I am planning to sue my bro now for the years of mental agony :))

My Dad didn't take too kindly to such teasing so we didn't have to worry about scary stories, but then the other kids scared us well and proper with stories of Yakshi and specially pilleru piduthakaaru. I still get the goose bumps when I see that movie in which Revathy's young brother is kidnapped by a roadside entertainer. This is something that really scared me proper and made sure I didn't wander off too far from home.And stories of people kidnapping kids and blinding them and maiming them and then making them work as beggars. Horrible!!!

mathew said...

I remember a incident which happened when I was a bit older..it was my first solo train trip..think was like mid school...I was told to call back home after I reached my uncle's house..being classic prankster he is, he called up home very well knowing that only my younger bro was at home..Started of as a caller from electricity board who was furious for not paying the electricity bills...he simply scared by bro so much that he promised that he will immediately run and tell Dad who was at the time in office..The plot was revealed only after he was bt to cry..but that simply made my day..;-P

mathew said...

this pilleru pidathakaaru thing was kindergarten horror for me..


eljo said...

@ Min: you have to give me credit for my imagination at such a young age ;-P ... I am sure that all elder siblings do scare their younger siblings with the adoption thing :-)

@ Anjali : Welcome here :-) I luv the way you write and the clarity of your thoughts. Yup, how could I forget abt the "pilleru piduthakaaru". I guess that fear is instilled in allmost all the kids. Well, the "adopted child" scare is something I too am guilty off. Have used it quite mercilessly on sis.

@Mathew: Poor bro of yours... I can totally relate with uncles waiting to pull your legs ;-) As an elder sibling, did you ever tell your younger brother that he was adopted??? ;-)

mathew said...

Lol!! never..am just like 1.5 years older..and trying to pep up big brother funda whenever i need to get things done in my favour!!;-P

Anphy said...

LOL!!!even i had the same "childhood scares" :D

eljo said...

@ Mathew: you really missed a golden opportunity there... I used to brainwash my sis saying that she was lying in a kuppa-thotti and I felt pity on her and told mom & dad that lets take her home...

@ Anphy: Welcome here! I guess most of us end up having the same silly fears in childhood ;-)