The Mystique of ‘M’
When he was around thirteen, he would go in the evening to the house of one Pillai, whose nephew tutored M in mathematics. During one of his visits, there he met a man of venerable appearance of some sixty summers past. Despite the close-cropped, silvery grey hair, a sure sign of a man past his prime, he was vibrant with the health and physique of a youth. Wearing a short-sleeved shirt and typical Kerala mundu, he was sitting cross-legged on a bench. The smell of incense pervaded the room. The gentleman addressed him in Malayalam, perhaps, sensing the shyness of the boy, “Come, come near.” M walked up to him, hesitantly. He was wondering what the man wanted with him. As it turned out, he was in for another strange experience. The old man first patted him on the back and then caressed his neck and head as if in inspection. After this strange action, he muttered more to himself than to M. Umm… good! Everything will be all right in good time.” Unfathomably, M was again transported to that breathless condition of ineffable bliss! He was awestricken and tongue-tied; without a word to anyone he went straight home.
He was not even curious to know who that man was, such was his altered state of mind.