(Author: Ki. Rajanarayanan Translation: Radha Soundar & R.S. Saha )
The locusts left as suddenly as they arrived.
One sign of the insects’ arrival and departure was the feces they left at the roots of the trees. Second, no vegetation had been spared. It was as though green no longer existed. Even a tiny sprout of grass hadn’t been spared. The barren palm trees looked like the massive pestles of rakshasas. Like a home that had been stripped of wedding decorations, the village had lost its charm.
The villagers were astonished and terrified. Unbearable grief. Who could comfort them? Who could they blame?
The village’s grief squeezed their hearts. The Kottaiyar brothers, hearts filled with pity, became the ones to provide comfort. Doing so eased their own grief. They opened their family’s graineries to the village.
“Save some seed for us and the villagers, and anything exceeding that can go to the villagers,” Govindappa Nayakkar said to his brothers.
The village livestock were also fed from the Kottaiyar house stores.
“Even though we can’t eat it by the handful, we can drink the millet rice as porridge. Because of your generosity,” Astrologer Enkatrayalu said to Govindappa.
“Just because it was with me, doesn’t make it all mine,” Govindappa said humbly. “Our ancestors cleared this land as one.”