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SANCTUARY-[NOVEL]
CHAPTER-36
 
 
MADATHIL NARAYANAN RAJKUMAR 
 
 
1 
HE was anticipating at the railroad terminal for 
several breaths when he noticed a bright matron at 
the opposite head of the platform, in black goggles 
and unwaveringly advancing with a slight halt here 
and then and her right hand moving unusually 
amassing momentum to advance as if something tried 
to withdraw her steps towards the back . He knew 
that it was her. 
This is a principal and bustling halt of the electric 
train in the times of his boyhood. Later the town 
discovered numerous expansions, adding fresh 
operations on travel, luxury and further, metro 
subways and even quicker means of transportation. 
However, in those primes, it was a dominant stop. 
And he picked this special point for that impending 
meeting he had been yearning for long. 
He was born here. K-----M. In the state clinic only 
half a mile from this spot. His daddy was an operator 
in a publishing firm governed by an assortment of 
academics and artisans defending the freedom 
struggle. His mother was in government service. In 
this metropolis that claimed a culture of 1500 years 
or further. Not indisputable. The centre switched its 
name according to the rulers who owned and it was a 
major port for goods, in an ancient map of voyage, 
enterprise and cultural exchange. The modern name 
is according to the postulate of the novel regulatory 
body that has a majority in the contemporary times. 
but he knew the place very well. He had sat on the 
same concrete benches[perhaps] with his cousins, 
and quite recently in his last visit for the funeral of his 
uncle, his cousin brought him to this particular 
station, to catch the connecting train. In the days of 
his college, whenever he visited this city with his 
parents to see their old friends and relatives, he got 
down and caught the train from this particular 
station. Because his father had his dearest old friend, 
staying just close to the railroad station, in a 
one-room apartment on the upper floor before he 
married a wealthy lady and moved to a bigger place. 
His father's friend was good to him and a good friend 
to his father too, but a different man of different 
values. He married for wealth and status. But his 
father married for love. Just that. And that was all and 
1
enough for which every living thing is after in every 
heartbeat of the day. 
 
 
So he chose this scene, this station, this platform, 
which is moderately crowded with electric trains 
going to both sides. He doubted whether she would 
appear, but she came.  
After arriving at this city, he had phoned from his 
mobile to her number and though he did not expect, 
she picked his call. She recognised him. She is a star, 
has been so for many prior years, and the papers 
carry the features of her itinerary. What was he? Not 
a headliner. For he played well often, but abhorred 
trophies and at the terminal moment, quit the show 
and the spotlight, That made him a very private 
person, to make him unfettered to enjoy his sunset at 
will. He cared more about the excitement of living, 
Yes sheer living than any of the prizes that people 
offer you for their own private ends. 
 
2 
 
She stood before him and he looked at her face and 
requested her to remove her sunglasses which she 
might have used to avoid the sun and also to filter the 
fans to give more room for herself. This is what 
stardom status is finally. You cannot walk alone on 
2
the highways without answering people's 
questions.you have become what they strive to be, 
those folks who deem success in this world as the 
absolute end. She removed the lorgnette and he saw 
her eyes, though less fiery as in her youth, still 
glowing and retaining some of the fire. For a second, 
he could not help thinking about that. The fact that 
she was the woman he wanted to marry in his college 
and could not and his senior married and she agreed. 
They were classmates and she had that 
'Vellarankannu',[vella=white; 
Kannu=eye.--Malayalam],the rarest of eyes, the 
blackish white one, similar to a precious stone. 
 
 
 
He asked her about her private life and also, if she is 
what she trumpets to be. For that she gave a 
roundabout reply.  
‘You see we are meeting after many years. And I am 
not conscious of all your changes so far and I cannot 
all on a sudden divulge my private sides. Who knows 
that some reporter bribes you and you reveal my 
story to him for money?'. 
This response devastated him so much. Here is 
perhaps another one of that Lappwing, who ”flyeth 
with a false cry farre from their nestes, making those 
that looke for them seeke where they are 
3
not”.(Lyly).....What a pitiable closure to a zealous 
utopian lass of twenties with whose joint 
stewardship, he conducted the organ donation camp 
three decades ago. And also with whom he sojourned 
in a motel room together as best friends, near a 
Children's Hospital and collecting money and 
medicines for cancer affected kids. 
Seeing his dismay she tried to console him with an 
ardent smile. 
‘You see ...Times have changed less to our whims, 
though we have every right to expect the right 
outcome. My whole life has turned out to be a 
business. A give and take.Expectation and 
fulfilment.As an actor,what the audience expects of 
me. And I have not found anybody who loved me just 
for the pure act of loving’. 
 
 
'Me, your husband, and maybe.....', he paused, so that 
she could fill up the vacuum. 
'You, maybe --though I am not sure..... My husband, 
he is caring and generous, and more so after my 
ailment, attending me as if I were his daughter-and 
since there is a family around, the topic of love is 
always shrouded in responsibilities and common 
goals that every family has, and though it is divine 
setup, we cannot expect the best always. The best 
results come inadvertently, and many times, we only 
4
know the motifs much later, misunderstanding the 
good intentions as bad and gullibly accepting the bad 
as good ones, giving place to self-regrets and aching 
afterthoughts. But in my case, it worked well and that 
is how I am here’, she concluded her lengthy 
outburst. 
'Did you tell your wife that you are meeting me 
today', she asked in a hurried tone. 
 
3 
 
He said, ‘No, but I will tell her when I go to my 
hometown,’ he said.  
'Out of responsibility?', she asked. 
'No', he said, ‘Out of selfishness, 'If not, I will miss my 
sleep.' 
'Oh’, she said in a glum fashion, but smiled heartily 
later,and was trying to fathom the good man who was 
all and everything in her life for many youthful 
years,and the days and evenings they spent amidst 
fishing boats and shrimping nets near the harbour, 
and the matinees at Shenoy’s ‘Vistarama’(theatre) and 
Chinese snacks and how he vomited after drinking his 
first Chinese soup that tasted like the feather of a 
bird. 
'Did you tell your husband?', he asked.  
'His car is waiting at the station parking bay down’, 
she said, 'In fact, he told me to convey his regards to 
5
you, though he is not much interested in meeting 
you'. 
He thought with a slight sore, how that senior at the 
Institute had conquered him in love-He probed 
further- No, there is no jealousy. 
 
Who said that - ‘All is fair in love and war’. John Lyly? 
However, he did not know that in those years of 
innocence of youth. If it were, everything would have 
changed in life - Yes, Everything. 
But he thought that it was for good, for his wife is 
quite unlike her, though less attractive, capable of 
great sacrifices, though not fair like her, she has the 
most ardent smile ever. 
But who is this matron after all, whom he trusted 
once and finally who deserted him and married 
another man whose father had ten fishing boats 
whereas his father had only three? 
She told him- ‘ I am sorry dear for whatever has 
happened,' 
He had heard that old story from many sources. 
Her father warned her that she would have to stamp 
over the old sire's corpse before marrying him.It 
ought to be true, for his close confreres would not lie 
to him, and they were all happy idealists, the most 
romantic of the folks, who had many illusions of the 
world before some of them turned opportunists and 
later diving into the world of big cash and power. Not 
6
for the power to help each other but power to build 
their solitary empire and enjoy this tale that only lasts 
a few days or leap years. 
 
 
4 
 
‘We will sit somewhere’, he said and she agreed, and 
they made a place at the end of a concrete bench, the 
other part of it occupied by a college girl with a heavy 
satchel, who was in her churidar and white shoes and 
reading from the thick notebook and her lips slightly 
quivering while doing so.  
 
He remembered now, how his father used to coach 
him to read without moving lips and once bought 
him a book on speed reading and taught him how to 
scan long divisions of profound thoughts quicker with 
a few shifts of the orb. 
He viewed her body very closely now, this once upon 
a time damsel, with an artificial protrusion on her left 
bosom, after that malignancy that has been chasing 
her in recent years. 
‘This conference, I wanted badly’, he said, because I 
am not sure if we will meet during the rest of our 
lives'. 
 
7
'Yes’, she said almost supporting him. And added, 
‘There is no certainty of life. We don't, in fact, choose 
anything as such, we are all receivers even when we 
are making great choices in life. every coin has 
another side. Few people on earth can see both sides 
in a single look. Those blessed lot, unlike me’, she 
said. Finally, he wanted to hear that coming from her 
own mouth and he felt a great pity and subdued love 
for this unlucky woman, a star of the masses, seeing 
before his eyes less fortunate than him. 
 
 
 
‘ I wanted to ask you this - but could not- Still, I think 
this is the best time ever-Did you love me then? ...In 
those days --’, he ​asked. 
'See,' She said, ‘If a man likes a woman, there are 
several ways of expressing it, and words are the best 
means -But, if a woman likes a man, though there are 
several ways of expressing it, words are the meanest 
ones- the silliest of ways of telling that feeling.’ 
She continued, ' If I had not liked you then, do you 
think, I would have come now?', she continued, 'In 
spite of everything'.  
'In spite of what?', he asked, in agitation. 
She said-unequivocally,’In spite of my ill health’, and 
pointed feebly to the left side of her bosom, which he 
8
knew was a big hollow, and she had made it all for the 
viewers. 
He felt sad. Immensely sad.Never before he was so 
sad in his whole life,except at his mother's funeral.-- 
 
Then he said something, that nobody heard. 
 
 
 
5 
 
'Can I hug and kiss you?’, he asked her in a frightful 
tone. 
'No', she said. 'You were in the West, you might be 
used to that', she said. here as you know well, is 
against the norm, 'she said, 'if you do so, a crowd will 
throng around you, and we will not be able to get out. 
'However, you can kiss my hand’, she said and offered 
him his her right hand, and he kissed it fervidly, as if 
it were the most darling present offered to him in this 
entire life and will be taken away any moment, 
because it is most treasured , a living presence with 
hopes and vibrant with a lot of covert horsepowers, a 
small slice of the universe itself with all its mysteries 
and kick. She stood up and in a flash caught his right 
shoulder and pressed so obdurately that it brassed 
him off and he knew that she was giving vent to an 
unsung sentiment that crossed her. Then she walked 
9
past him, past others and past everybody, and he 
hoped that she will look back but she did not and 
vanished in the last group at the exit. ‘A real princess,’ 
he told himself in emotion, and the last part of his 
utterance escaped him, ‘But of another kingdom’. It 
was loud with a great rush of waft from his mouth 
and the porter who passed with a bulky luggage on 
his occiput gave a gyration and gawked back at him 
in curiosity. 
................................ 
 
 
 
 
 
10

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Sanctuary [novel[-Chapter-36

  • 1.       SANCTUARY-[NOVEL] CHAPTER-36     MADATHIL NARAYANAN RAJKUMAR      1  HE was anticipating at the railroad terminal for  several breaths when he noticed a bright matron at  the opposite head of the platform, in black goggles  and unwaveringly advancing with a slight halt here  and then and her right hand moving unusually  amassing momentum to advance as if something tried  to withdraw her steps towards the back . He knew  that it was her.  This is a principal and bustling halt of the electric  train in the times of his boyhood. Later the town  discovered numerous expansions, adding fresh  operations on travel, luxury and further, metro  subways and even quicker means of transportation.  However, in those primes, it was a dominant stop.  And he picked this special point for that impending  meeting he had been yearning for long. 
  • 2. He was born here. K-----M. In the state clinic only  half a mile from this spot. His daddy was an operator  in a publishing firm governed by an assortment of  academics and artisans defending the freedom  struggle. His mother was in government service. In  this metropolis that claimed a culture of 1500 years  or further. Not indisputable. The centre switched its  name according to the rulers who owned and it was a  major port for goods, in an ancient map of voyage,  enterprise and cultural exchange. The modern name  is according to the postulate of the novel regulatory  body that has a majority in the contemporary times.  but he knew the place very well. He had sat on the  same concrete benches[perhaps] with his cousins,  and quite recently in his last visit for the funeral of his  uncle, his cousin brought him to this particular  station, to catch the connecting train. In the days of  his college, whenever he visited this city with his  parents to see their old friends and relatives, he got  down and caught the train from this particular  station. Because his father had his dearest old friend,  staying just close to the railroad station, in a  one-room apartment on the upper floor before he  married a wealthy lady and moved to a bigger place.  His father's friend was good to him and a good friend  to his father too, but a different man of different  values. He married for wealth and status. But his  father married for love. Just that. And that was all and  1
  • 3. enough for which every living thing is after in every  heartbeat of the day.      So he chose this scene, this station, this platform,  which is moderately crowded with electric trains  going to both sides. He doubted whether she would  appear, but she came.   After arriving at this city, he had phoned from his  mobile to her number and though he did not expect,  she picked his call. She recognised him. She is a star,  has been so for many prior years, and the papers  carry the features of her itinerary. What was he? Not  a headliner. For he played well often, but abhorred  trophies and at the terminal moment, quit the show  and the spotlight, That made him a very private  person, to make him unfettered to enjoy his sunset at  will. He cared more about the excitement of living,  Yes sheer living than any of the prizes that people  offer you for their own private ends.    2    She stood before him and he looked at her face and  requested her to remove her sunglasses which she  might have used to avoid the sun and also to filter the  fans to give more room for herself. This is what  stardom status is finally. You cannot walk alone on  2
  • 4. the highways without answering people's  questions.you have become what they strive to be,  those folks who deem success in this world as the  absolute end. She removed the lorgnette and he saw  her eyes, though less fiery as in her youth, still  glowing and retaining some of the fire. For a second,  he could not help thinking about that. The fact that  she was the woman he wanted to marry in his college  and could not and his senior married and she agreed.  They were classmates and she had that  'Vellarankannu',[vella=white;  Kannu=eye.--Malayalam],the rarest of eyes, the  blackish white one, similar to a precious stone.        He asked her about her private life and also, if she is  what she trumpets to be. For that she gave a  roundabout reply.   ‘You see we are meeting after many years. And I am  not conscious of all your changes so far and I cannot  all on a sudden divulge my private sides. Who knows  that some reporter bribes you and you reveal my  story to him for money?'.  This response devastated him so much. Here is  perhaps another one of that Lappwing, who ”flyeth  with a false cry farre from their nestes, making those  that looke for them seeke where they are  3
  • 5. not”.(Lyly).....What a pitiable closure to a zealous  utopian lass of twenties with whose joint  stewardship, he conducted the organ donation camp  three decades ago. And also with whom he sojourned  in a motel room together as best friends, near a  Children's Hospital and collecting money and  medicines for cancer affected kids.  Seeing his dismay she tried to console him with an  ardent smile.  ‘You see ...Times have changed less to our whims,  though we have every right to expect the right  outcome. My whole life has turned out to be a  business. A give and take.Expectation and  fulfilment.As an actor,what the audience expects of  me. And I have not found anybody who loved me just  for the pure act of loving’.      'Me, your husband, and maybe.....', he paused, so that  she could fill up the vacuum.  'You, maybe --though I am not sure..... My husband,  he is caring and generous, and more so after my  ailment, attending me as if I were his daughter-and  since there is a family around, the topic of love is  always shrouded in responsibilities and common  goals that every family has, and though it is divine  setup, we cannot expect the best always. The best  results come inadvertently, and many times, we only  4
  • 6. know the motifs much later, misunderstanding the  good intentions as bad and gullibly accepting the bad  as good ones, giving place to self-regrets and aching  afterthoughts. But in my case, it worked well and that  is how I am here’, she concluded her lengthy  outburst.  'Did you tell your wife that you are meeting me  today', she asked in a hurried tone.    3    He said, ‘No, but I will tell her when I go to my  hometown,’ he said.   'Out of responsibility?', she asked.  'No', he said, ‘Out of selfishness, 'If not, I will miss my  sleep.'  'Oh’, she said in a glum fashion, but smiled heartily  later,and was trying to fathom the good man who was  all and everything in her life for many youthful  years,and the days and evenings they spent amidst  fishing boats and shrimping nets near the harbour,  and the matinees at Shenoy’s ‘Vistarama’(theatre) and  Chinese snacks and how he vomited after drinking his  first Chinese soup that tasted like the feather of a  bird.  'Did you tell your husband?', he asked.   'His car is waiting at the station parking bay down’,  she said, 'In fact, he told me to convey his regards to  5
  • 7. you, though he is not much interested in meeting  you'.  He thought with a slight sore, how that senior at the  Institute had conquered him in love-He probed  further- No, there is no jealousy.    Who said that - ‘All is fair in love and war’. John Lyly?  However, he did not know that in those years of  innocence of youth. If it were, everything would have  changed in life - Yes, Everything.  But he thought that it was for good, for his wife is  quite unlike her, though less attractive, capable of  great sacrifices, though not fair like her, she has the  most ardent smile ever.  But who is this matron after all, whom he trusted  once and finally who deserted him and married  another man whose father had ten fishing boats  whereas his father had only three?  She told him- ‘ I am sorry dear for whatever has  happened,'  He had heard that old story from many sources.  Her father warned her that she would have to stamp  over the old sire's corpse before marrying him.It  ought to be true, for his close confreres would not lie  to him, and they were all happy idealists, the most  romantic of the folks, who had many illusions of the  world before some of them turned opportunists and  later diving into the world of big cash and power. Not  6
  • 8. for the power to help each other but power to build  their solitary empire and enjoy this tale that only lasts  a few days or leap years.      4    ‘We will sit somewhere’, he said and she agreed, and  they made a place at the end of a concrete bench, the  other part of it occupied by a college girl with a heavy  satchel, who was in her churidar and white shoes and  reading from the thick notebook and her lips slightly  quivering while doing so.     He remembered now, how his father used to coach  him to read without moving lips and once bought  him a book on speed reading and taught him how to  scan long divisions of profound thoughts quicker with  a few shifts of the orb.  He viewed her body very closely now, this once upon  a time damsel, with an artificial protrusion on her left  bosom, after that malignancy that has been chasing  her in recent years.  ‘This conference, I wanted badly’, he said, because I  am not sure if we will meet during the rest of our  lives'.    7
  • 9. 'Yes’, she said almost supporting him. And added,  ‘There is no certainty of life. We don't, in fact, choose  anything as such, we are all receivers even when we  are making great choices in life. every coin has  another side. Few people on earth can see both sides  in a single look. Those blessed lot, unlike me’, she  said. Finally, he wanted to hear that coming from her  own mouth and he felt a great pity and subdued love  for this unlucky woman, a star of the masses, seeing  before his eyes less fortunate than him.        ‘ I wanted to ask you this - but could not- Still, I think  this is the best time ever-Did you love me then? ...In  those days --’, he ​asked.  'See,' She said, ‘If a man likes a woman, there are  several ways of expressing it, and words are the best  means -But, if a woman likes a man, though there are  several ways of expressing it, words are the meanest  ones- the silliest of ways of telling that feeling.’  She continued, ' If I had not liked you then, do you  think, I would have come now?', she continued, 'In  spite of everything'.   'In spite of what?', he asked, in agitation.  She said-unequivocally,’In spite of my ill health’, and  pointed feebly to the left side of her bosom, which he  8
  • 10. knew was a big hollow, and she had made it all for the  viewers.  He felt sad. Immensely sad.Never before he was so  sad in his whole life,except at his mother's funeral.--    Then he said something, that nobody heard.        5    'Can I hug and kiss you?’, he asked her in a frightful  tone.  'No', she said. 'You were in the West, you might be  used to that', she said. here as you know well, is  against the norm, 'she said, 'if you do so, a crowd will  throng around you, and we will not be able to get out.  'However, you can kiss my hand’, she said and offered  him his her right hand, and he kissed it fervidly, as if  it were the most darling present offered to him in this  entire life and will be taken away any moment,  because it is most treasured , a living presence with  hopes and vibrant with a lot of covert horsepowers, a  small slice of the universe itself with all its mysteries  and kick. She stood up and in a flash caught his right  shoulder and pressed so obdurately that it brassed  him off and he knew that she was giving vent to an  unsung sentiment that crossed her. Then she walked  9
  • 11. past him, past others and past everybody, and he  hoped that she will look back but she did not and  vanished in the last group at the exit. ‘A real princess,’  he told himself in emotion, and the last part of his  utterance escaped him, ‘But of another kingdom’. It  was loud with a great rush of waft from his mouth  and the porter who passed with a bulky luggage on  his occiput gave a gyration and gawked back at him  in curiosity.  ................................            10