Ambu Mami and the vanishing baby (Part 2)

Pankaja was furious.

“Did you just call my baby a devil? How dare….”

Ambujam interceded.

“Wait Pankaja. Let’s see what the lad has to say. Explain Rasu.”

An abashed Rasu continued.

“I wasn’t calling the little one, the devil. Just that he has been kidnapped by the devil. I was working in the orchard today when I saw the baby smilingly crawl between two trees. I recognised him immediately. I went in search of him and lo! when I went to the same place where he last was, he was no where to be seen. I then remembered that one of those trees, a peeple, was haunted. Obviously the devil who lives in that tree kidnapped him.”

Ambujam turned quickly to Pankaja.

“I know where the child is. You wait here and I will bring him back. Don’t worry. I need Rasu and 3 more young men like him to come with me.”

Three more farm workers who had followed Rasu volunteered, curious to know how this lady would save the child from the devil himself.

Ambujam marched straight outside of her street and veered left into the lower caste community locality. The farm lads were puzzled.

Rasu spoke up.

“Ambu mami, the orchard is the other way. You are going in the wrong direction.”

“I am not going to the orchard. Just follow me and do as I say.”

Ambujam and the farm lads were almost at the last few houses of the village before she stopped in front of the hut.

“Ponnu, come out!” barked Ambujam.

A visibly scared teenage girl came out of the hut and failed to meet Ambujam’s furious stare.

“Where is he?”

“Appa (father) has gone out, he is not here.”

“I don’t mean your father. The baby you have hidden inside, bring him out. NOW!”

“But, but……”

“I know everything. You don’t want your father to go to prison, do you? Bring out the baby now!”

The girl disappeared inside the hut. When she reappeared, the baby was in her arms.

Wordlessly, she held out the baby to Ambujam who snapped him up and marched back to Pankaja’s house with the same brisk steps.

The farm lads stared at Ambujam and the baby in wonder.

When she reached her destination, Pankaja wailed in relief before snatching up the baby.

“Ambu mami, how…. how did you know where he went? Who took him?”

Rasu eagerly replied.

“The little one was in Muthiah’s house. Ambu mami scared his daughter Ponnu into revealing the truth and made her hand over the baby to her.”

“But… but… why did Muthiah kidnap the baby? And what happened to your version of the devil taking the baby?”

All eyes turned to Ambujam who smiled serenely.

“Muthiah will not return to this village. The devil’s bargain snapped him up instead of the innocent child here. Pankaja, go bathe and feed the babe.”

***********************************************************************************

The entire village was abuzz with Ambu mami’s fantastical detective skills and her superior intelligence. Cheta’s tea shop made brisk business as the village men debated and puzzled over how she had found the culprit.

In the meantime, Pankaja had dropped into Ambujam’s house for a visit. Now that her anxiety over the little one was over, she was once again overwhelmed by curiosity.

Cradling a cup of filter kaapi, Pankaja spoke.

“Come on, Ambu mami. Tell me the truth. How did you find out?”

“Oh, it was so straightforward Pankaja. Remember Munima who hanged herself from that peeple tree in the orchard? She was Muthiah’s wife. She hanged herself from that tree because the entire village had come to know that she had sacrificed her own baby for a voodoo practice to gain supernatural powers. No doubt, the she-devil possessed Muthiah to kidnap your little one from near the tree for repeating her sacrifice with your baby. That is why I took those 4 strong lads with me. I could never have physically fought that witch in Muthiah’s body. Thankfully he was not there when I visited his house. ”

“But how did my baby go to the orchard?”

“That’s simple. I saw your husband today taking the baby with him on a walk. He must have taken him to the orchard and must have dozed off under a tree. He hasn’t come back yet since morning, has he?”

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A frantic Muthiah was dialling a phone number from a PCO booth, a few kilometers from the village.

When the deep gravelly voice answered on the other end, his words spilled out in a hurry.

“We are finished. Ambu mami knows all about our kidnapping gang. We have to flee the state before she alerts the police!”

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Read the earlier Ambu mami episodes in the below links:

Story 4

Story 3

Story 2

Story 1

 

 

10 Replies to “Ambu Mami and the vanishing baby (Part 2)”

  1. I was eager to know how you would end this mystery after I had read Part 1. A wonderful ending, Lavanya! Ambu Mami is brilliant! 🙂 And so is your writing style! 🙂
    #DeepTiesReads #MyFriendAlexa

  2. Ooh! Mami thought the baby back. What explanations!! I remember during childhood my granny used to weave such stories. That day and this moment now .. feels like a long time.. You have such a wonderful way to weave beautiful stories .. loved it as usual.

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