YEMEN - THE OUTCASTE!
Let me go back to Kurumbalaperi since I have to mention one another important character. He was Yemen(ஏமன் - எமன் என்பதின் மரூவாக இருக்குமோ?). I had only short association with him but he had remained as a very important character in my life. I don’t know the exact reason how his character had been etched so deeply in my mind. He used to be a tall and well built man. Whenever I used to visit Kurumbalaperi he would come to see me. But he would not enter our home. He would wait in the outer quadrangle but once I come out he would lift me and would carry me around on his shoulders. I felt that he took both pleasure and pride in doing it. When I go out with him it would be very tough for me to make him allow me to walk with him. He always insisted that he should carry me. People in my family showed affection for him but in the early years I was always wondering why he was not permitted to enter our home in spite of the affection they had. It took time for me to understand the intricacies of the caste system. It was so strictly followed in villages that entry into our homes was a forbidden thing for them. The in-built complex in him due to his so-called low birth had made him feel indebted to my amma. He was from lower caste and by the custom of those days in villages he had to depend on our family for all their material needs. When he lost his elder sister with whom he had been very close he wept so inconsolably. My amma consoled him that she would be his akka. That had made him feel so grateful to her since according to his own narration to me it was unthinkable for a higher caste person to accept a person of lower caste as a sibling. Now I wonder what a rift the caste system had made between people. My own caste is not anything that comes under the so called ‘higher’ bracket. Still the divide between castes was and is so deeper into the psyche of the people.