I was perhaps at the age of four or so. And during that year a death happened to my dads paternal uncle, who we the kids called arapura Apopan. For one thing this grand old man lived in the western unit of kythavilakom. Secondly he is the most elderly alive in the family or extended family. Apopan had one son only and he too lived in the same home. He was not married then. Apopans wife we call her ammachi is a fair colored, short stature do woman who had only two pieces pigmy Munnu. One piece went around her waist, and the other piece was the shoulder piece which also helped to cover her womanly sacks in front.
Apopan was occasionally unwell. Only home remedies are acceptable to this great man. When he is down with illness several people came down to see him and to pray for his quick recovery. His nephews were also in their late forties and thirtees.
The only medicine man who visited the home was nadakakaran – a small but robust light skinned nagar, who could listen to the pulse of a man or woman with his index and middle finger and the cast a story about the persons end days.
Only when people are in the end stage this man is brought in. He inspected Apopan and suggested that the end days are closely and so Apopan may be allowed to lie on the floor in a bed rather than in the cot.
Further, this medicine man also suggested certain days ahead, when the final end will occur. If one such day is passed uneventfully, he will pick another day.
Any way I inferred that Apopan had his last breath. Women were crying loud and chanting the great deeds done by Apopan.
The cremation took place around mid forenoon the following day. The pyre was prepared In the southeast corner of the kizhkevila in kythavilakom homestead. The women folk offered their final bye to departed man within the house, while customarily the menfolk did the salute with flower,rice etc at the pyre.
I in fact was scare by the Apopans dead body and thought that Apopan will take me along. That was the main reason for hiding. Several young men in our relation were checking me out all over the place. Finally one picked me up and took me to pyre. But I jumped off his clutches and ran back home crying.
Finally some older person calmed me down and assured that I need not go to the pyre for the salute. Only then I regained my calm and slept in some corner of the large house complex without anyone else noticing me.
That was the last days of kythavilakom née larkana Pillai and a great mans saga. Somewhere in the front door there is a statement carved in the wood stating that the whole complex of homestead was the construction by the sheer efforts of kythavilakom neelakanta Pillai, some where along ME 1105