Read Amballore House Online

Authors: Jose Thekkumthala

Amballore House

BOOK: Amballore House
3.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Thekkumthala’s magical-realist comic-cosmic phantasmagoria welcomes readers to a bizarre community in India, where a notoriously haunted landmark mansion sees UFO aliens, disappearances, drug crimes, murder, and madcap paranormal phenomena.

In the Malayalee town of Amballore in Kerala, India, the unbelievable, the mythological, and the mundane riotously coexist. Amballore House, a five-acre relic from the days of the British Raj, is the neighborhood’s haunted mansion; it boasts a history of trespassers disappearing or drowning in the well. The house sits at the terminus of a boulevard called Hells Highway, a road adorned by accursed cult temples, the lunatic asylum, graveyards, and sylphlike spirits who dance to the music of popular Indian movies.


The highly elastic narrative leapfrogs back and forth between 1960 and 1988 with several recurring characters, most notably the elderly couple of Vareed and Eli. They are part of a family whose ancestors have been regularly abducted by aliens going back 5,000 years. Since their own ET abductions, Vareed and Eli have been systematically returning to Earth to kidnap the best minds of humanity and send them off-planet via a space-time wormhole beneath Amballore House, serviced by a loyal retinue of robots.


The crazy servings of sci-fi, over-the-top crimes and courtroom inquests, distorted folk beliefs, boondocks gossip, errant reportage in the Amballore Times, inferior scholarship by the region’s university community, and lots and lots of toddy drinking take on a new light


The blend of regional flavor, fantastic whimsy, and pathos will strike readers with a taste for riotous exoticism stirred with tabloid tropes.

A mad masala of mythology and absurd mayhem that takes an unexpectedly poignant twist.


Kirkus Reviews

Jose Thekkumthala

© 2015 Jose Thekkumthala

All rights reserved.

ISBN: 1516874846

ISBN 13: 9781516874842

TO THE READER

Be prepared to laugh, to cry, and to be frightened. Be ready to be mesmerized by the supernatural. Be willing to the earth’s center, and to an intergalactic world millions and millions of light-years away. Don’t stop there. Be prepared to go as far as your imagination will let you! Be prepared to be blown away by the sheer wildness of unbridled fantasy!

Amballore House, a mysterious house at the end of Hell’s Highway, will imprison you in a chilling world of horror. The Midnight Express, which appears unexpectedly at the Amballore bus station en route to Amballore House, sows terror just by its mere arrival. It then embarks upon a scary expedition that takes it through Hell’s Highway. Even Orpheus of Greek mythology, who fought the damned entities, and survived on the way to Hade’s underworld, could not have survived the Hell’s Highway scenes, let alone confront the challenges posed by the unsettling Amballore House.

Then there is the story of a family that will rivet you with its unforgettable moments of pathos, laughter, tears, failure, starvation, arrogance, greed, betrayal, tragedy, doom, cancer, and death. But then hope appears with a lantern to show the way. The principle of keeping on hoping if only to keep on living was found to be an oasis of an idea to them to see through the mirages of life, and to ride out the traps lined up by fate.

The family’s story reveals that the unfailing quest for hope prepares one to face catastrophe, even though the ultimate terminator, death, will eventually fell you if you happen to be alive! The family tale is engrossing in itself, presenting ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances and forming a showcase of enduring human strength.

.

A rare and unlikely potpourri of Indian mythology, the Kerala civilization, evolutionary theory, and the general theory of relativity presents itself to take the reader through an unbelievable voyage of
suspense, crime, and humor. Readers get a glimpse of the historic times of British rule in India; the formation of Kerala State, with its footprints in Indian mythology; and the Amballore dynasty, with its saga woven into the fabric of an advanced civilization that mankind is dreaming of.

There are unforgettable characters that will mesmerize you with their tenacity, forbearance, blind faith, and scheming minds. You will have close encounters with noble human traits, such as devotion, sacrifice, resolve, and unabated optimism.

This book is guaranteed to carry you from sunrise to sunset and beyond as if you are possessed, as if you are obsessed with the idea of attaining immortality. You are hereby promised the fountain of youth. Conquering eternity is within the realms of possibility—I promise!

Yet you will wish that you had not followed the intriguing Midnight Express so that you had not had a face-to-face encounter with the horrifying spectacles of Hell’s Highway and the unsettling horrors of Amballore House. You will wish you had not opened this book so that you had not been devoured by a tremor of terror traveling from the pit of your stomach and up your spine to infiltrate and vanquish your heart, to shake you to your very foundation.

Beware!

This book is dedicated to three girls in my life: my wife, Jennifer, and my daughters, Lisa and April, who are the center of my world and whose laughter fills my life.

I am grateful to Krish and Rachel for their support.

CONTENTS

PART I — AMBALLORE THOMA

1     THE EVENING OF LIFE

2     THE DEMONS IN THE BACKYARD

3     FROM KAREENA, WITH LOVE

4     OLD MAN MISERY

5     THE MARCH OF OWLS

6     A CULTURAL PASSAGE

7     THE SKY IS FALLING

8     INTO THE GRAVE, TOGETHER

9     A GARLAND OF SUNSETS

10   A GENERATIONAL RECAST

11   THE CLASS REUNION

12   THE WEDDING

13   THE KING COMES TO ONAM

14   A LONG GOOD-BYE

PART II — THE EXTRATERRESTRIALS

1     THE DISAPPEARANCE

2     KERALA’S ORIGIN PER AMBALLORE UNIVERSITY

3     HELL’S HIGHWAY AND AMBALLORE HOUSE

4     A FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH

5     WORMHOLE AND KALLU, THE EXOTIC MATTER

6     ROSANNA

7     THE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS

8     THE WORLD OF YESTERDAYS

9     THE CARDIOLOGIST

PART III — AMBALLORE HOUSE MYSTERIES

1     SAM−SOM’S EMPIRE

2     AMBALLORE INVESTIGATION BUREAU

3     A RELIC OF THE BRITISH RAJ

4     A KAMIKAZE MISSION

5     THE ARREST

6     THE TRIAL AND JUDGMENT

7     REVOLT ALONG HELL’S HIGHWAY

8     VAREED PAYS A VISIT

9     A ROBOT AND A COYOTE

10   AN UNENDING FALL

11   THE REVELATION

12   MURDER IN THE GRAVEYARD

13   THE DOUBLE VISION

14   THE INSURGENT ROBOT

15   BLACKMAIL AND A SMILE

PART I

AMBALLORE THOMA

1
THE EVENING OF LIFE

Thoma was relaxing at his home, sitting in his chair and facing the backyard, one fine morning in Amballore Town in Kerala in the year 1987. The yard showcased innumerable coconut palm trees and other tropical trees and plants. “‘Kerala’ means ‘land of the coconut palm tree.’” He remembered his Malayalm teacher explaining this in primary school long ago. He was an empty nester now, all his children having left the nest after getting married. He was living with his wife, Ann. They were in the evening of their lives.

Once upon a time, way back in their younger days, they did not know meaning of the phrase "the evening of life." Ann was quite surprised to hear the term, and was confused.

The only “evening” they knew was the widely understood evening in a day, when husbands started coming home from work, and wives started preparing supper. In the evening, All India Radio would broadcast the evening news and play Malayalam movie songs. The appetizing aromas of fried fish and boiled tapioca would fill the air. Somewhere in the distance, devotional hymns would be broadcast too loudly not to take notice of. The sun, the workaholic of the day, would paint itself orange and red prior to taking a dip in the Arabian Sea for a much-needed evening bath.

"Thoma, what does ‘evening of life’ mean?” Ann asked her husband a few days after their marriage.

He was her source of information in everything except the matters of Catholic Church and religion. He, a self-proclaimed atheist, never visited church willingly and knew nothing about religion.

Not to know the answer to her question was humiliating and belittled his masculine pride. Therefore, he had some kind of answer handy, whether right or wrong. Sometimes he evaded answering by sneering at her for asking stupid questions, even though they were legitimate questions, far from being irrelevant or stupid.

Thoma did not have an answer this time. So he came up with one: “Your mother’s ass; that is what ‘evening of life’ means,” he told her emphatically and spat at her.

She deftly moved aside like a spring chicken. There was such finality to his answer that Ann did not dare pursue her question. Spitting meant “end of conversation.”

Now, in their seventies, having settled down in the town of Amballore, they both understood what the “evening of life” meant. For one, they were in the evening of life. Thoma was in the evening of life enjoying the rare phenomenon of peace and tranquility, which had managed to elude him from day one of his life. The same went for Ann.

What they did with life leading to its evening was a bizarre story. To them, life proved not to be a game of musical chairs, a simple game that could be played with abandon and little planning. Their lot was not the luxury of a simple life; it was riddled with challenges that kept on coming like the Energizer bunny. Nevertheless, they ran in circles as if they were playing musical chair. They ran around a bunch of chairs that life arrayed in front of them. Instead of picking a proper one to sit and relax, they went around and round in circles, unable to make a choice.

Thoma and Ann were on a perennial quest for rental homes throughout their lives, because they could not hold on to the one they already had. This was because they had a rift with the landlord for not paying timely rent or, for that matter, for not paying at all.

After Thoma fell out with his siblings because of an inheritance dispute and the consequent ejection from his own ancestral home in Amballore by his siblings, he was on the run. He moved out with Ann, carrying their little children. After spending twenty-three long years shuttling back and forth between rentals—virtually leading a nomadic life, they made a return to Amballore, a triumphant return, to occupy a home bought for them by their fourth child Josh. That happened in the year 1975 when he sent money from Canada while studying.

They were relieved that finally God gave them a piece of land they
could call theirs, and through that piece, a long-overdue peace. They wanted that rare piece of contentment in the evening of their lives.

Thoma never settled down to one rental, always moving out to a new one as if he was getting rid of an old habit. He would then be promptly cast out of there by the new landlord, like a termite would be by a terminator. He was always on the go. His brother Inasu claimed that Thoma was a modern-day version of the Hindu god Mahavishnu, since he migrated from rental to rental just like lord Vishnu transitioned to successive entities of the ten-incarnation cycle, including Fish, Turtle, Boar, Sphynx, Vamanan, Parsuraman, Raman, Krishnan, Budhan and Kalki.

By the time he was done with numerous rentals prior to landing in a house he could call his own, he had gotten acquainted with people in every nook and corner of Trichur District. He knew every landlord in the district—not that he ever cared to chat with any of them, having built uneasy relationships for rental contract violations.

If Sakthan Thampuran, the renowned king of Cochin of yesteryear, had not cleared weeds and wilderness in order to create habitable land in and around Trichur, Thoma would have run out of houses to rent.

BOOK: Amballore House
3.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Long Ride by Bonnie Bryant
Holy War by Jack Hight
Someone to Love by Hampton, Lena
The Gardener by Bodeen, S.A.
A Handful of Wolf by Sofia Grey
Of This Earth by Rudy Wiebe
The Executive Consultant by Mali Longwell
Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster