Yohannan, or, Yoman is a simple man. He is bald, has a fringe of white hair running across from ear to ear. His front teeth are missing, his chin is unshaved but when he talks his eyes twinkle and, this fact, together with his deep resonant voice has a magical effect on his listeners. He smiles quite a lot when he speaks and the effect is nice. He is dressed in a checked loin cloth with a handloom towel (the Kerala "thorthu") on his shoulder. After finishing some work, which is planting tapioca stems in the field owned by my brother-in law, he comes and sits on the verandah with us to share the news of the countryside. I like such conversations as I get to know a lot about the people and their thinking. Who knows maybe a topic for a short story, wandering somewhere in the consciousness.
But as the conversation progresses his voice grows subdued and a wistful look comes over his face. He says moral standards of our society have gone down.
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