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The Pathana at Pallavur

The muted sounds of the CCU were permeating my consciousness, I was supine and I had nothing to do. After a while, I was scanning the hall, starting with the fluorescent lights, and stopping often at the flickering tube that escaped the maintenance rounds. I noticed that they hummed, like they were alive, perhaps due to older ballasts, or was it so that the hum was from the air-conditioning? And then there were the gurgles and hisses from the various fluid and gas lines and cocks, valves or spigots as they called them here.
Now you can understand how bored I was, and I was starting to doze off, with the reassuring sounds of the busy hospital lulling me to sleep. It was then that I picked up a conversation in the distance, in Malayalam. I could discern two accents, one being Kottayam Malayalam and the other somewhat strange, it was Malayalam alright but with a very heavy Tamil tinge. I had heard that accent before but I just could not place it then. The voices revealed much more, that…

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