Marakappe – Remembering a Lazy Rainy Manipal Afternoon

A cozy rainy afternoon and you have no better work to do. What else can you think of? Yes, sleeping. That’s exactly what I was doing when I heard my mother yelling from far. I usually don’t like anybody disturbing my sleep. Then since it was my mother calling me, I clumsily got up and rushed towards my balcony.

I could see my mother staring at the chickoo tree. She was standing still like a stone. Then my mother was saying something like Bega baa, illi aeno idae ( Come fast, there is something here ).

Thanks to my short sight, I could see nothing from the balcony, as it was a bit away. I made my way towards the tree. Meanwhile my dad also joined me.

I was both angry and inquisitive to know why my mother was screaming like that. Mom asked me to see the object in the tree and identify it. Without the spectacles all that I could say was, “ That’s a colourful bird.” My father refused to agree that it was a bird. Then I said, “Maybe it’s a huge moth.” That was also proved to be wrong after long scrutinizing. Finally my mother came with this wonderful finding that it was a Marakappe (a kind of poisonous tree frog).

By then all my anger had vanished and I suddenly felt very scared and I went and stood very close to my dad.

All the stories that my grandmother had told me when I was a child kept on reeling in my mind. The villain that used to prevent me from climbing the tree in my childhood was right in front of me. This very thought made me cling on to my dad.

But rather than enmity, the fear took to my senses. My grandma’s words were still ringing in my ears. All that I could say was “Amma, daddy, let us go inside the house.”

Something within me told that, it couldn’t be a Marakappe. I did not have enough courage to go near the tree and see if it was really a Marakappe.

Somehow I persuaded my parents to enter the house. But then I kept on seeing if it was still there in the tree, now and then. This rankled my father.

He finally announced that he would throw stones at it. I seriously thought my dad was out of his wit to do so. But then I could not stop him.

He started throwing stones at it. I had a nice time seeing the great archer in my father. He was tired of throwing the stones but I was poking fun at his aim. This made him desperate and finally he took a stick and threw it. It hit Marakappe.

I just closed my eyes expecting something bad to happen. But then nothing happened. I was very proud at my father’s capability.

When I went to see the dead Marakappe, all that I could see was a dried big teak leaf lying down.

My parents were tittering as I stood near them and laughed away to glory. I wish my sisters were there too.

Now every time I see a frog, the first thing that reminds me is the Marakappe incident and my dad’s great archery skills.

About the Author: Harini Kucknoor is an alumnus of Manipal Institute of Communication (MIC), Manipal. This article was first published in AM Plus, weekly newspaper by students of MIC, Manipal.

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