Monday, 15 July 2013

Efran-The Jew Of Mattancherry

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Being in the arms of Rafela, his mother, baby Efran felt the sky of Mattancherry, moving.  It was to the Paradesi Synagogue, that she went clutching her child. The Jew Town, on that day just talked about Abel, the linen merchant of the Bazaar, and the father of Efran Ben Abel.  It was the third consecutive month that no news came from Abel, who had gone to Israel, to start up new spice exports.  Years passed, but Abel never came back, and Efran who had only seen tears in the eyes of his mother, never ever asked about Abel, even as a child. For tiny Efran, Abel was something, which always made his mother cry. Rafela was forced to take up the charge of the linen shop, beside the Jewish Palace, just for Efran. She always tried to fill up the void space created by Abel in the life of Efran.  The whole Jew Town knew that Rafela lived only for Efran.

As Efran grew, he was admitted to a prestigious school in Kochi. Efran was spellbound by the luminous city and always loved to go to school. It was only then he realized that he didn’t belong there. He was a bit too white in colour.  Not just that, but his Judeo-Malayalam, also made him to stand out. He was nicknamed as Saippukunju, meaning the son of an Englishman, as for them, a guy with white skin was always an Englishman.  But for Efran, when they called him so, he always heard, bastard. Rafela tried a lot to console the crying Efran, but she knew that she would be answerless, if Efran asks her about his father. But he never did so. He used to love that cute little girl Judi of his school, who too was white like him and always called him by his name. She used to live near their linen shop. After school, they used to come back together in the school bus. They had plenty of things to talk about on the by lanes to the linen shop, with their water bottles dangling around their necks. Judi noticed how Efran becomes quiet, when she talks about her father, so she always prevented herself from running into such topics.   Once Ismail, the postman taunted Efran that Judi is made for him, but that fell too deep in the innocent mind of Efran. 

Ismail remembered that monsoon, when it was raining heavily and Mattancherry was drenched in the wrath of nature. Rafela saw Efran running behind a car, crying. She held Efran by force. It was Judi and her family, who were migrating to Israel. Efran cried loud in the rain holding Rafela, as the car vanished from the by lanes forever. Rafela never told Efran, that Judi’s family wanted Rafela and Efran to accompany them to Israel, which she refused. She never wanted to go to Israel nor did she want her son to migrate. Efran in those 20 years saw many, migrating from Mattancherry.  Jordan, the short girl with blue eyes, Elijah his friend, Ranen, the spice merchant  and many more. He realized that only a few Jewish families were left in Mattancherry then.  One day Efran had a terrible fight with some crooks on the Jew’s street, on his way back from Ramaswamy, the linen importer at Menaka. He never knew why they beat him up on that day. Rafela cried a lot and finally agreed to migrate to Israel. Efran was happy with her decision, as soon he would be out of his identity crisis.

It took just few days after that, for Efran to get his Transfer Certificate from Maharaja’s College. He purchased a new luggage bag from Broadway, went to Lulu Mall, enjoyed the peanuts on the beach of Fort Kochi, saw a movie at Padma, biked through the busy M.G Road, he was enjoying every bit of Kochi as after 7 more days he would be bidding adieu to the city forever. Rafela refrained from talking much to Efran. Efran noticed Rafela feeling uneasy, but he never asked much, probably he knew the reason.

On that day, as he walked on the by lanes to their linen shop, he took his leather wallet out. There was a neatly kept photo of little Judi, beside the photo of Abel, which once Rafela gave him to show those, who called him Saippukunju . He smiled as they were the two prominent reasons for Efran to migrate to Israel. As he walked he felt an unusual silence. It rained heavily. There was a crowd before his mud-tile roofed house. He ran through the people; saw Rafela lying still on the floor with a bottle of poison in her hand. Efran didn’t cry nor move. From that day Mattancherry has never seen Efran again...

(Linking this to Ultimate Blog Challenge)


  1. Interesting short story. And probably too often reflective of every day life.

  2. I really enjoyed this short fiction, being a fiction writer myself.I love having the opportunity to read/appreciate other people's work! You have an engaging writing style.

  3. That is so tragic.

    You are a good storyteller.

  4. tragedy spells better sometimes no?Writer who write tragedy come out with masterpieces like you have.. Sreedev now becoming a master at stories too :P leave something for us, we fail at poetry :D


    1. Thank you Richa for the encouragement...

  5. a very different style of writing... especially ur lingo!

    Interesting work

  6. Nice story, Sreedev a little short but sweet.

  7. beautifully written...very engaging story :) all the best for the UBC :)


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