Just outside the tiny village of Edayanchavadi there is the old Kutty Andavar temple, long forgotten by villagers and overgrown in time by thorny mullu plants, covering its erstwhile brightly painted walls, of which the rain had washed away the colours.
For many generations villagers had brought their dead in front of the terribly fearsome god Kala Bhairava, the creator and destroyer of life, holding in one hand a sharpened rod to punish sinners for their misdeeds, whose foot rests on a decapitated skull. Beside him lays faithful Sarama, dog of the gods and mother of all dogs and beasts of prey. In front Shiva’s iron trident with a lemon skewered on top to ward off evil spirits protrudes from barren red soil.
The burial and cremation ground is deserted during the days of the week, only visited on Saturday by small groups of men, drinking self brewed poisonous sarayan spirit under the once mighty Banyan tree, whose dangling roots had been chopped off for firewood.
When the sun sets they leave and young teenage couples hiding behind the old temple shyly exchange quickly their last kiss before they too rush back to the village as a dark and drear night falls over the graveyard. The distant black sky, illuminated by the furious lightning strikes of a heavy monsoon storm, whose pitch-black masses of angry clouds rumble furiously over the firmament, heralds a heavy torrential rainstorm.
As the first big drops began to fall in the darkness of that dreadful night, an old dog, emaciated to the bones, limped heavily across the burial ground towards the big banyan tree. Huge snakes, with mouths of black venom, crawled out of their burrows, piling up loudly hissing before him, but the old dog paid them no heed as, he curled up exhausted and weak in the tangled vault of the hollow banyan tree and began to lick gently a maggot infested flesh wound that cut through his right hind leg.