Have you ever heard the helpless scream before someone or something dies? I had heard such a scary noise for the first time when I was in 3rd grade living at my Grandpa’s house. Grandpa’s house is in Kuninji, a beautiful village in Idukki district in Kerala. Kuninji is a Christian dominated area and pork is the favourite food here. There are a lot of pig farms in Kuninji.
Sabu was a name familiar in Kuninji, especially for those who had a pig farm in Kuninji. Sabu was a butcher who bought pigs, chopped them into pieces and sold them for a higher price. I still remember the first time when I saw him. He had a thick moustache and the body of a boxing champion. I still don’t know whether his vest was really red in colour or it was the blood stains of the poor animals. It was scary and I felt like seeing the agent of death. There was a pig with its legs tied using a rope, attached to his bullet bike’s backseat. The loud helpless noise of the pig echoed everywhere and it was a scary sight. The poor pig thought screaming loud would save its life.
For your information: If you think the sound of an ambulance or siren from a factory is the loudest, you are wrong! The loudest sound I have ever heard is the sound of a pig crying for help.
The horror scene became more and more common, especially on Wednesdays. Because Wednesday is the market day and attracts more farmers, sellers, customers from nearby villages. I abhorred Sabu for his heartless character and scary looks. On the narrow bright side, Sabu wasn’t a racist because I saw not just white-pink coloured pigs on his bike, but also brown and black coloured pigs.
Farewell to the frightening scene
Two years passed by and my family moved to Koothattukulam, a beautiful town in Ernakulam District, Kerala. I am both happy and sad. Sad because I will miss my Grandpa and Grandma. Happy because I will never have to see that agent of death again.
Koothattukulam is the perfect example of the phrase – “the best of both worlds.” It has the best of both village and city life. It has all the facilities— shops, schools, hospitals, church and temple, movie theatre etc — and no pollution of air and sound. Above all – “No loud sound of pigs waiting for an inevitable sudden death.”
My priorities and problems completely changed after moving from Grandpa’s house. New school, new friends and the advent of video games. My brain deleted all the bad memories of sinister Sabu, the scary butcher.
Years went by. I was a college student. One day Grandma visited our home and talked to my mom for hours. During their conversation, Grandma said something about Sabu. Grandma called me and asked-“Unni, do you remember Sabu? The butcher whom you used to be scared of”
I replied-“y..y…yes Granny”
Grandma – “He is dead.”
I was shocked to know that. He wasn’t that old to die.
I – “How?”
Grandma – “There was a temple festival at Shiva temple last week. Sabu was very drunk and was wandering around. Sadly, he fell into a well and died there. People couldn’t hear him because of the loud noise of crackers at the festival.”
I – “what about his family?”
Grandma – “His wife died long ago and he has a daughter.”
I was sad after knowing the demise of the man I had hated before. Karma didn’t turn a blind eye to Sabu and his death was similar to the countless deaths of the poor animals he had butchered. Nobody heard his scream at his moribund situation. I was sad because I am not that school kid anymore. I knew that behind the physical appearance of a heartless scary butcher, there was a man tirelessly working for his family, for his beloved daughter. I hope there is someone to look after his daughter. I was silent for a few minutes and deep inside — I prayed for him.
For more stories, visit the links below: