“Thank you for holding my seat” said the young man bringing Kannan out of his long reverie.
“Don’t mention it” replied Kannan.
“Where have we reached?” asked Kannan.
“We are just half an hour from Nellur” replied the young man.
“I get down at the next stop”, he said.
“So you told me earlier you were going to Nellur. Are you visiting someone or do you have relatives there?” asked the young man.
“No, just here to hand over some things to someone” replied Kannan.
“Really where, perhaps I know of them, after all only shops and businesses are seen in the Nellur town area while all families live in the residential part that is located 10 kms away. I come from a very old family in apparakadavu at Nellur” said the young man.
Kannan thought he would lie at first but seeing that the young man was quite familiar with everyone at Nellur, there was no way he could bluff and therefore decided to tell him where he was going. Besides he had already said he was just a friend who had come to deliver a package, which gave him the advantage of finding out how the young man would react when he mentioned the name of Ullas Villa.
“I am going to Ullas Villa” said Kannan.
The young man’s face lit up at the mention of Ullas Villa and he asked eagerly, “Are you a friend of Kannan’s?”
“Yes, I happen to be a very close friend” replied Kannan a bit astonished at the man’s reaction.
“Really, where is he now? I was his classmate. He was a bright and helpful boy, just unfortunate. I am sure you know the story. It’s quite sad the way everyone reacted when he had come down for his grandfather’s funeral. I am sure that’s why he never came back here and probably why you are here to deliver the package from him. I never could believe that he intentionally killed his cousin for they were very close, it was an accident. I still think of him sometimes. He has always been good to me. Please give him my regards, I am sorry I forgot to introduce myself, I am Ramu” said the young man.
Kannan could not believe that this was the same little Ramu who used to literally shiver whenever he saw Pisharadi master. He was the constant victim of Pisharadi’s cane, which had eventually caused Kannan to play the prank on Pisharadi. And now he had grown into a stern young man brimming with confidence.
“Kannan is working as a manager for a group of businesses in Bombay. What about you?” asked Kannan.
“I work as a teacher in a small school at Kumbam” replied Ramu.
“Well I will convey your regards to him. Do you know what happened to his cousin’s family?” asked Kannan.
“They had a baby girl shortly a year after Chinnan passed away and they later moved into Kannur, where I hear they run a well to do business” replied Ramu.
The train had begun to decelerate as the station approached and as the young man got up to leave he said, “Well, it was nice meeting you Mr…”
“Ali” replied Kannan.
“Mr. Ali, I will be getting down here. Please do not forget to convey my well wishes to Kannan” said Ramu.
Kannan watched Ramu step down onto the platform and as he began to walk away Kannan thought of something and called out, “Mr. Ramu, what subject do you teach?”
The train had already begun to pull away from the station but Ramu’s reply echoed throughout the station, “Mathematics”