A trip to the location of Manichitrathazhu in search of mysteries.

On the way from Nangyarkulangara to Mavelikkara in Alappuzha district, on the right side at Muttam, you can see an old Mansion standing proudly in the forest. That is “Alummoottil Meda”. The first time I heard about this Meda( House) was from my friend. It was here that the paterfamilias of the mansion called “Alummoottil Channan” and his maid were brutally murdered years ago. After hearing the story of these massacres, writer Madhu Muttam penned the script for the best psycho thriller movie in the history of Malayalam cinema, Manichitrathazhu. Ever since hearing this fact, I have been eager to see Alummoottil Meda in person and learn more about its history. For that, my friend Manikandan and I headed back to Muttam from attingal.      

Such were the stories of those mysterious murders that once took place in ancient times. Years ago, during the reign of the untouchables, the Ezhava family was honored by the then Maharaja of Travancore with the title of ‘Channan’. Alummoottil Meda was the home of the landlords. This family follows the tradition of Marumakkathayam at that time. There were only three or four people in Travancore at that time, including the Maharaja, whom had a Motor Car,The landlord of this family was one of them. Hundreds of workers were in the house. The kitchen and the pantry were the ones that provided food to anyone who came to this house at any time.

In the Bunglow There were men living on the Meda and women were staying in the Ettukettu. Special facilities were provided for the accommodation of the employees. It was at that time that the murder that shook the country took place in this family. It was rumored that the landlord had written off the property to his children,But was a time Marumakkathaayam system was the long time tradition because of that property and his entire wealth was entitled to Nephew at that time. Upon learning of this, the Nephew secretly conspired against the landloard and then the group reached the Meda and killed Channan(The Landloard). The keys of the Mansion were confiscated from the landloard and the vault was opened and all the Money,Gold and other documents stored there were confiscated. It was at this time that a maid entered to the Meda without knowing it. She, who had accidentally witnessed the murder, was also brutally hacked to death on the Meda to disprove the evidence. Alummoottil Meda, which shone with splendor, gradually became a ghost house after these murders. During the reign of the king, all the accused were caught and Channan’s nephew, who had committed the murder, was hanged. Then there was constant mischief in the family and later no one lived there. This is the history around Alummoottil Meda.

Sri Madhu Muttam was inspired to write the beautiful screenplay ‘Manichitrathazhu’ by the ideas that evoked  from this mysterious atmosphere. We reached the Meda around noon. The old Alummoottil Meda*, which is full of many mysteries but stands proudly in front of us. We entered to the Meda* through the open gate. A spacious yard full of bushes and dry leaf, reminiscent of the past. The house still stands with its old Majesty, in between two huge Mango tree. On either side of the Tharavadu(Old Traditional Kerala Mansion), you can see the Ettukettu(Specailly designed home) and the granary, which evokes the unique architecture of Kerala. The craftsmanship of Kerala architecture can be seen everywhere on the verandaha(Sit out portion of a home) of Ettukettu*. Black & white picture of a woman on the wall. Although we did not know who the woman was, we stared at the photo for a while as it began to fade with age. Adjacent to it is an old closed prayer room. Looking in through the cracked window panes with age, some valuable old furniture on the inside porch. Roof and faade with exquisite carvings. On its sides you can see the secret way to enter the cellar. But the road is closed. It was as if the footsteps of those who had been killed while standing there could be heard somewhere inside.

Suddenly we saw another sight. A woman, it’s looking at us. We were little frightened when we suddenly saw a female figure on the Meda* full of unspeakable mystery. The reason is that all the stories heard around this Meda*(Old Mansion) were like that. The first thing I looked at was whether the woman’s foot was hitting the ground. Oh … good luck … the foot and the shoe are all on the ground.(It was a local belief that ghost’s foot never touch the ground). She asked, who are we ?, I said, “We came from Thiruvananthapuram to see this Meda*.” Then she laughed.

When asked in return if you are a family member of this Meda, then she replied, ‘They are the ones standing here overseeing this Old Tharavad*. “My husband and I live on the side of it”. Eventually, with their permission, We were able to walk around and enters into the Meda. The wonders of the past era everywhere you look. There is still no damage for the woodwork carved as the Vyali face(a Mythical character which usually accompanied Hindu gods). Eventually we approached the room where the Murders took place. We were amazed by the live view of Manichitrathazhu movie scene in real life. Bats and rattlesnakes flutter their wings near a room full of spider webs. I stay close to that door which was locked with a Manichithra* lock.

Can you hear Chilanka’s voice somewhere inside ..?
Hey no … I do not know.

Again i stay calm for a few minutes
“Does it feel like the song ‘Oru Murai Vanth Parayo …’ is slowly ringing in my ears ..?
Hey no. That too is just a feeling.

And yet some unwanted thoughts like this just make us feel like we have seen and heard a lot that is not there.But there is someone else in this place who has had these feelings before me. Sri Madhu Muttam, the creator of Manichitrathazhu movie story and script. How can I go back from this place without seeing him? When I searched his house, I found that it was barely a kilometer away. Eventually we headed back there. Madhu Muttam Sir’s house is like an ashram. In the spacious courtyard, a banyan tree blossoms and spreads its fragrance. After the death of his mother, he lived here alone. No siblings, no burden of relationships because not married. As we enter he is resting alone in the armchair on the porch. When we were told that we were from Thiruvananthapuram, he invited us inside. Got to know each other. He gave us Panamkalkkhandam* for tasting. He cooks all the food for himself. He always wants to stay away from the temptations of cinema. When you see a man named Madhumuttam, the first thing everyone needs to know is about Manichitrathazh. I’m also asked the same question first. When asked about the way in which its writing was born, he said, “I’m not a great writer, and I’m writing something for finding the joy in my loneliness, and it’s like you’re drawing a picture. His humble reply surprised me.

Sir these lines written by you saying something ? Tired of this lonely life? He said with a laugh. “Aren’t we all alone? I’m not even with myself. we all say my house, my car, my mother, my father, but do we ever say” my mine “? No;Then that mean I’m not my own. Right ?. And the truth is that even if we describe my face, my body, my eyes, it is not our own! That is why leaving the body is called death.

His reply made us think a lot. The private conversation with him was never meant to be put as a post here, but I thought it would be great to think for a moment about how high-level his thoughts are and those who live automatically, so I decided to write some relevant things in it. He talked to us about nature, man, woman and so many other topics. I asked him for his opinion on many things, including the riots in Sabarimala. His response was very relevant. We humans are in a world of untruths. Every lie that every human being discovers in order to live. Tell me, does the sun rise or set? Although everyone knows that there is not, many people like to believe that the sun rises every day. In this way, think for yourself and find the right answer. What a beautiful answer.

It is a great privilege to still be able to meet a personality like him. The quiet atmosphere is the only rhythm of nature here. Some guests like you come to my loneliness. I like that. When he said this, I suddenly remembered the lines he had written.

“Pathivaayi Njanente padivathilenthino Pakuthiyae chararullallow” ( Its a malayalam movie song lyric it means “I dont know for what, but regularly I close my door step half way)

He lives happily here without any appetite for anything. I wanted to spend a 10 minute with him but I did not know that two hours had passed. Finally We said we would come to see him again, and we headed back.