He knew the very second their eyes locked that she desired him. And that she was his type, the adventurous one. No, they had never met before, never knew of each other’s existence until now. He crossed the whole length of the sprawling lobby, looking at her, smiling his mischievous smile. She took it all in shamelessly imagining what lies beneath his well-tailored shirt.

‘Shall we?’, he said.

‘Sure’, she replied swinging her laptop into its bag and got up to lead the way.

Her room, then. By leading, she had decided. Words were redundant when intention spoke louder.

She slid the card to light the room, dropped the bag on the floor but refused to let go of his lips that had stayed on hers from the time they alighted from the lift. His hands were where she wanted them to be feeling her up. She held him against the wall with her body while her hands searched for his zipper.

She knelt.

His moans egged her on.

He pulled her up, cleverly, not wanting to end too soon. His wet tongue played with her earlobes while his fingers efficiently unclasped her brassiere. She gasped in anticipation as his hands searched for more. Each clothing was discarded hurriedly.

They collapsed on the bed, she on top, when he let out a cry.

She unrolled away to find him clutching his chest, face contorted in pain. She ran to the bathroom and returned with a glass of water.

There he was! A stranger, in her bed, naked, dead.

————-

 

Sun n Sand Resorts, Thalassery

She felt his wrist. It was cold and still. The pulse was not palpable. She held the back of her palm to his nose. There were no exhalations. Using the torch on her mobile she lifted his left eyelid. There was no blinking at the beam of light, the dilated pupils confirming a lifeless body on the bed.

She was startled by the fact that she did not panic. After a cold-blooded murder, she was only as irate as having watched a bad movie. Was it because of the death and trauma she saw at A & E every day?

 

Kalaripayittu school, Kannur

Smitha took her position, looking at her opponent in the eye, crouched, low, gritty and unyielding. The legs scrapped the loose earth “kalari”, the combat area as she poised for the strike. A coconut tree canopy twirled and creaked in the strong breeze from the Arabian Sea, distracting her opponent for a moment. That was enough for Smitha to land her left legon her opponent’s shoulder blade, knocking him down to the earth. Her fist unleashed like a sword pulled out from its sheath and her fingers were millimeters close to her giant opponent’s Adam’s apple, the “marmam” point at the larynx. Her opponent’s eyeballs popped out in fear, knowing how close he was to have his trachea ruptured.

A searing slap sent Smitha reeling to the ground.

“Asan” Govindan was incensed. “Little Witch! Get out of my class. You spied on my marmam training. Do you realize that you almost killed my special student?”

Her 7 years of Kalari training ended abruptly. She had started at the age of eight. There were three more girls including her elder sister Seetha in Asan Govindan’s class. Each dropped out one by one on attaining puberty, while she continued till that moment of rage. The pig, her school senior had been taught a lesson. He would never ever dare again to run his filthy hands on helpless schoolgirls in the bus. True to her thoughts, he was never seen again in the bus since that day.

 

Medical College, Calicut

She was brilliant in studies and garnered state rank in pre degree course that opened the doors for her at the prestigious Calicut Medical college. Within days, she acquired the nick name. Kutty Dr. Unniyarcha with her popularity, rather notoriety, for the physical skirmishes with anyone who broke the rules.

While her classmates including, male medicos fainted over dissection of cadavers, she became an expert in it. She believed cadavers taught anatomy better than those huge books. The dissection hall was a place where the dead taught the living. But even a place of learning was not free from harassment.

The incessant catcalls and flashings had been a menace for the inmates of the Ladies Hostel. Those pigs! Wannabe doctors, the girls kept cursing.

That night, Smitha had enough. The light from the torch streamed through her window coupled with the usual lewd remarks. She grabbed her black duppatta and tiptoed around her block. By then, a drunk medico had unzipped and was grappling between the falling pants and an Eveready torch, screaming, “Come and get it Kutty Unniyarcha.” The cheers from the Men’s Hostel encouraged him as he dropped his pants down, spotlighting ‘him’ directly.  It was too late when he finally noticed Smitha’s silhouette close to him. A knee came crashing on his exposed organ.

She came back to the hostel announcing, “Girls, tomorrow we have got a case study for testicular dislocation,” as they all cheered for Kutty Dr. Unniyarcha.

Smitha was adventurous, a copious mixture of brain and brawn, in her medical college days. While her classmates had long term plans, soliciting seniors from wealthy families, preferably from the same caste that could culminate into wedlock, she had only physical relationships and one-night stands. Sex was her occassional stress buster and her men were an assortment of classmates, a PG student, lecturers and even included a handsome lab examiner.

 

Payyambalam Electric Crematorium, Kannur

Smitha should have acted when Neha complained to her. She had dismissed it carelessly. Now when her body was rolled into the incinerator, she wanted to throw herself on her niece and beg for forgiveness. Guilt gnawed and burnt her just like the fire that consumed Neha’s body.

Muzhappilangad Beach, Kannur

Neha was her 16-year-old niece, her sister Seetha’s daughter and idolized Smitha. On that day, Neha hesitantly approached her aunt and said she wanted to go for a walk with her.   She looked perturbed and even the picturesque beach road did not cheer her up.

Finally, she confided that she was being teased by a man. Apparently, an Army Captain’s son was playing pranks on Neha mol. Smitha let out a laugh and consoled her niece saying that it was harmless, and her teenage anxiety was making a mountain out of a mole hill. But she continued to sob.

“You are Kutty Unniyarcha, no. Go and bash him, aunty”, she had said.

How Smitha wished she had done just that. An ER call had made her rush back to the hospital after consoling her niece in a hurry.

 

Two weeks later….

It was a clear case of aggressive stalking that had killed Neha on the same road. There was no evidence to register a criminal case against him. Even Dr. Pratap, her ex-lecturer in forensics couldn’t help. He was under tremendous political pressure to rule out homicide as the probable cause of death. Everyone knew that it was the Army officer’s son’s car that had chased her on the beach road when she was returning from her tuitions in a scooter. The CC TV feed was inconclusive. She had no driving license, the police had added in the hastily closed Accident FIR and the boy was let off with a shoddy warning.

 

One month later….

Indian Coffee House, Kannur

Dr. Pratap had come to the old beaten Coffee house just after Smitha arrived. The conversation started with Dr Pratap apologizing profusely for his helplessness in the Neha case. Smitha, however, had other plans and led the conversation smartly to their romp in the anatomy lab several years ago. She loosely hinted on an encore.

“I am chairing a conference in Lucknow next month. I can send you an invite and the tickets. You need a break after these stressful few weeks. Well, we can relive those moments.”

Like an infatuated teenager he whispered, “Smitha, how can I let go of such an offer.”

Smitha smiled “Still good at scheming, Doctor, I am impressed. Can I expect a small favor from you, in the bargain?”

Despite the air conditioning. Pratap started sweating when he heard her plans.

Smitha got up. “You have to absolve your sins for Neha. Don’t let go of this offer, Dr. Pratap”, she mocked him and bent forward seductively.  “Get started with your scheming skills one more time, if Lucknow has to be accomplished.”

————-

 

Sun n Sand Resorts, Thalassery

He looked handsome. Smitha had to admit. She had seen his father, the greying yet handsome Army Captain, who had also participated in the funeral, putting up an act of solidarity with the grief- stricken family. It took away the attention away from his son, who was still at large.

Dr. Pratap was good. He had struck a deal for Fifty thousand rupees for this night! Doctors were not paid even one-tenth for their noble job, she sneered. She watched him park the Audi in style. She had carried her laptop like a techie, hoping to mask her identity.

She resisted the temptation to succumb to her desires. It was tough with this handsome hunk. He was very good at it. He pulled her over him after the prolonged foreplay.

————-

 

108 Marmam points cover the human body, she remembered. Marma, the Sanskrit for secret refers to a point where two or more types of tissues intersect. They are more than a fundamental connection between tissues and fluids. They are junctions of vital life force and breath, Prana.

Kalaripayittu Asans teach only their most accomplished students how to use these points for healing. And, as a last line of defense, to neutralize the opponent.

It was this intensive unarmed combat training that Smitha had learned by spying on her Asan. The moves that almost killed her molester in school days, the one that incapacitated her exhibitionist college mate.

Who would have thought that she would need to use that in bed?

————-

 

He has to come,” Dr. Pratap had said. “That will influence the examiner’s decision and my final report statements”

As she rode him, she prayed for him to ejaculate soon. The bastard had popped some “prolonging pill” to the point of making her flood despite her dogged attempts to resist herself. She learned later that it was this condition of her having experienced introitus, the elevated orgasmic platform that was reported during her medical examination that absolved her of homicide. The examiner had inferred “consensual sex” in his report.

She kissed him involuntarily as she recoiled from successive climaxes. That moment was the game changer. He started moaning “Nehaa Nehaa….”as he came. The grunts brought Smitha to senses.

Her fist unleashed like a sword pulled out from its sheath and her fingers dug into the nerve intersection point, the marmam point at the left side temple. The body beneath her convulsed violently as the blood flow to the brain stopped abruptly, coughed profusely and screamed.

She composed herself, not bothering to dress. She ran to the bathroom to get a glass of water, smashed the glass on the floor and screamed “Ayyooooo” to grab the attention of anyone passing by.

The act was complete.

A few days later…..

Dr. Pratap signed the report “the probable cause of death as suicidal or homicide can be ruled out.  Post-coital induced Subarachnoid hemorrhage and aneurysm rupturing leading to stroke. Deceased has a history of high blood pressure, drug abuse, and usage of 3,4Methylenedioxymethamphetamine detected in samples.”

The media did its part in slut-shaming her, though the cause of death in the bed was medically certified ‘natural’ and beyond suspicion.

Dr. Pratap canceled her tickets to Lucknow and went alone.

 

Present day: Suraksha, Kannur

It is three months since “Suraksha” started functioning. “Suraksha” offers training for women in self-defense.

Dr. Smitha had finished examining little Mini. She reassured her that there was nothing to fear. Little Mini had just become Big Mini in the course of the morning Kalari training.

She helped Mini to change her costume. As they walked together to the training ground, Mini stopped and kissed Dr. Smitha’s hand “Thank you Kutty Doctor Unniyarcha, for everything!”

 

“What medicines do not heal, the lance will; what the lance does not heal, fire will.” -Hippocrates

 

Glossary:

Kalaripayittu- Kalaripayattu (sometimes shortened as Kalari) is an Indian martial art and fighting system that originated in Kerala and practiced by warriors of Kerala

A & EAccident and Emergency Ward in Hospital

Marmam-The word ‘marmam’ in Malayalam means the points in the body where powers are concentrated

AsanThe teacher of Kalari. In general, any teacher of a certain skill

Unniyarcha– is a popular legendary warrior in Kerala‘s folklore remembered for her valour and skills in the martial art of Kalaripayattu. She was trained in Kalari at the age of seven.

 

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