Thursday, May 9, 2013

Unni and the Boys of Aranmula Got Saved by the Vampire Bats (Story)

[The moral of this story is to highlight the importance of dental and gum care, something much neglected by the Indian public]

Unni is studying in an English Medium Public School near Aranmula, the sleepy Panchayat which has been known in the world for four relatively unconnected things. First it was the place where the famous metallic mirror known as 'Aranmula Kannadi' or Aranmula Mirror was made by a few traditional artisans using some metal mixing and polishing techniques known only to them. In the days when the Travancore King ruled this place and when Kerala was not a name in any maps, the mirror was only talked about in the locality as a peculiar magical one that could be possessed only by a few fortunate ones connected to the King.

But thanks to the prominence of tourist influx to the 'God's Own Country' the mirror and the artisans that made it were pulled out of their secret hiding places of Aranmula and was made no more a guarded secret. At least  now, the folks near Aranmula could also possess a small metal mirror if they so desired !

Unni's place is also the dwelling place of a powerful Hindu Deity who is the presiding deity of the centuries old Partha Saradhi temple, where Lord Krishna is revealed as the Charioteer of the epic Pandava Prince Arjuna. During the harvest festival season of Onam, the Aranmula folks conduct the famous snake boat races in the river Pampa that meander through Aranmula. 

Aranmula has also become a boiling political hotspot in recent times when a rich local business man with his wealth sources in the United States began to work for fulfilling his life's ambition of having a private international airport in Aranmula. He had quietly acquired a long unused patch of wet land together with some other paddy fields that the owners have long desired to sell out due to their disinclination to continue with the traditional farming vocations. But to his utter dismay the shrewd and clever politicians of modern Kerala got succeeded in making the people divided over this airport that it may not become a reality in his life time !

Unni, though a Malayali boy, is no more comfortable with his mother tongue Malayalam. He can speak it but can hardly read it comfortably, thanks to the development that took place in democratic India during the time of his parents. His parents studied in schools nearby which were existing even before India became independent. They learnt everything through their own mother tongue Malayalam and could even learn the English language comfortably that they could get their present highly paid jobs earning foreign exchange just as their many contemporaries most of whom worked either in the Gulf or in the US making them in an enviable position as compared to some of their unfortunate country cousins who worked in their native country getting much lower pays in rupees. 

The foreign money that Unni's parents and many of his friends' parents earned changed the style of Aranmula and the adjoining places considerably. Now most of them have palatial houses with almost all modern gadgets and facilities, unlike the times of their parents and grandparents. The Malayalam medium schools are all in the verge of closure as only few unfortunate boys and girls studied there. Those of Unni's stature have all moved in to the so called English Medium Public Schools run by rich individuals in the name of some fictitious societies. Here they studied everything in English and the schools followed a syllabus that is prescribed by some national level education boards. 

To tell the truth, Unni did not understand much what was taught in English at his school, just as his friends. They talked in Malayalam but mugged up the questions and answers in broken English to score the marks. At least they were all fortunate that no one actually bothered to find out how much they understood through their school education.

Yet in some ways they were just as their parents. Whenever they got time, they loitered in the fields and the river banks to share their small adventures, stories, fantasies and the like. 

It was on one such time that Unni heard the story of the Vampire bats, the flying creatures that sucked the blood of animals and people while they slept. Though it was one of their friends who introduced the subject to their group from the little information he got from the NatGeo Channel, their fantasies and imaginations bloomed on Vampire bats and vampires for quite some time.

Unni sometime imagined that he is a vampire. He had horror dreams of vampire bats drinking his blood during the night. 

One day he showed his friends the way vampires sucked by showing the  action. Suddenly he felt the peculiar salty taste in his mouth.

Just at that time his friends shouted: " See ! there's blood in his mouth !" 

Almost instantly, he spitted out. Indeed it was blood. Blood in his mouth. From where it is coming? He was scared. His friends too felt too awkward. 

Just then one of them got an idea. He too imitated the sucking act of Unni. Yes, blood was coming out from his mouth too.

The boys tried it one by one. Except one, all the five of the boys could spit out blood by self sucking their teeth and gums.

The boy who did not succeed had sparkling white teeth who often smiled confidently.

He stepped in to explain the blood phenomena that now caused much worries to his friends.

He knew better about his teeth and its upkeep than his friends. He told them that the blood that they could get in their mouth was coming from their bleeding gums and it is a kind of disease that would not happen if they take some simple steps on a regular basis.

The beauty, strength and life of their teeth depended on the health of their gums that supported the teeth.

He knew all this because his mother was very careful to teach him about the importance of cleaning his teeth and the use of proper tooth pastes and tooth brushes.

Unni and his other friends too had all these things at home. But unfortunately, no one took that care to tell them.

At home the elders have been very casual. Teeth were the last thing that got their attention to take care of.

Unni who felt like a vampire of Aranmula, now felt uneasy. His friends too were in a similar mindset.

While returning home, Unni decided not to hide this from the elders at home.

He just did not want to have his teeth painful and distorted during his prime life.

Vampire bats anyway helped him to detect a hidden disease from going unnoticed !

Perhaps his friends too would be thinking the way he thought ! Good, they were not going to let their teeth and gums decay any more !

[Please also take some time to come back and read my previous  blogs and blogs on other topics as well. You can reach to those by clicking the links in this page. I would be happy if you take some time to express your views using the comments facility down below. Please  use the same comment facility to interact with me for any doubts or clarifications that you might have. Here is the page link which gives the   list of all my blogs  where you can open all my blog titles.]  

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