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Vaithys Progress And Hostel- Chapter 5

Discussion in 'Stories (Fiction)' started by umaakumar, Aug 27, 2021.

  1. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    Vaithys progress and hostel – chapter 5

    When Swarna was a year old Sarasu was with a third child. The third child was a boy and they called him Viswanathan. He was a weakling at birth and weighed only 2 kgs. He had to be taken to the hospital every now and then for some illness or the other. This was a big strain on Sarasu and Vaithy. He did not have so much money for medicines and frequent doctor visits. So every time the boy fell sick it would start with home remedies and only when he became serious he was taken to the hospital. Sarasu dreaded another pregnancy. She was so weak and thought why she should suffer thus. She prayed in earnest that this should be her last child. She dreaded to sleep with Vaithy. With 3 small children and one always sick, the chances of sleeping with him was rare. Like her prayers were answered she never got pregnant again.

    By now Vaithy’s business was also growing. He was attending more poojas and his senior gave him more responsibilities to handle. So also the income grew. Food was not scarce. Sarasu’s and the childrens health improved.

    Vaithy had his own way of thinking. He would never give any cash to Sarasu. He would buy everything himself. If she wanted anything she had to tell Vaithy many times before he finally decided to buy it. Even writing a letter to her father needed the consent of Vaithy, she had to keep telling him to buy her the inland letter.

    Though she had been married for more than 5 years now she longed to hear about her brother, mother and father. On some occasions Vaithy would be there when the postman came and read the letter and then pass it on to her “Here your father had written a letter, nothing of interest, but read it” at other times he would get comment “Why is he writing to you and not to me, no respect for son in law in your family I think” If he was not there at home when she received the letter she would never tell Vaithy that she got one. She would secretly hide it and read it again and again.

    Apart from going to the temple in the corner of the road, Sarasu never went anywhere. Since she was most of the times sitting outside, her social circle grew. She knew everyone on the street. She knew all the latest gossip.

    When the time came one by one her children were enrolled in a nearby school.

    Vaithy had progressed and had bought a moped to ride around to his client’s place.

    One day much to Vaithy’s surprise a client of his came to his house to consult him of something urgent. He saw the children playing outside.

    The client told Vaithy “You have 3 lovely children, I was talking to them, heard they are going to a school nearby. I thought they would be going to the pada salai to learn vedas and follow you”

    Vaithy said “Anna see how I live, my father too is in the same position, I don’t want my sons to be lacking in things like me, let them study and goddess Lakshmi bless them with wealth”

    The client was was taken aback by this reply and he said “I have a suggestion to make. There is a residential school near Tanjavur for boys. It is a good school. I know the principal. If you are interested I will speak to him and you can enroll your boys there, the quality of education will be good”

    Vaithy was little pleased and confused and he said “But if it is a residential school, the fees would be high. You know my profession, how will I be able to afford it”

    His client said “ You don’t have to worry about that, tell me if you are willing to send your children to residential school. I will take care of the cost of education completely. Children must be educated in schools like this, a few years from now, when they reach high school, you cannot help with studies. There are lots of ways in which they can get spoilt. So think and tell me, I will speak to the principal”

    Vaithy was very happy that such a good opportunity had come for his children and immediately said “I will be ever grateful to you if you do this; it rains because there are good people like you. You tell me when I need to come to the school and I will bring my boys there, Dey Chandru, Visu fall on this Mammas feet and take his blessings”

    Vaithy was almost dancing at the good that had happened to his children and went inside and Sarasu asked him “Einna how can we send our children to hostel. Children should be brought up in front of our eyes. How can I live without them? Will they give them good food. Children from all communities will be there. Do you think it is correct”?

    As usual Vaithy did not like Sarasu talking like that and said “What do you know about education, if that big man has told us it will be correct. So don’t worry about the children, consider them to be lucky to get an offer like this”.

    Vaithy went to the school. He got admission for Chandru. When Chandru was informed, he was going to the hostel he was alarmed. For a small child his entire world is his home and his parents. Chandru cried and so did Sarasu.

    On the day of the reopening, Vaithy took Chandru and set off to the hostel. Chandru was crying and kept repeating that he did not want to go. Vaithy consoled him saying hostel will be good and fun and he can study and the teachers will be kind etc. Nevertheless Chandru cried and wailed. Sarasu bid him farewell at the doorstep with tears in her eyes. Seeing her crying, both Visu and Swarna cried.

    Vaithy returned in the evening. Sarasu asked him “Eiana did Chandru stop crying”

    Vaithy “He cried till we reached the school, then when he saw the master he stopped crying”

    Sarasu was very anxious and wanted more details about this and asked “Did you go and leave him inside the hostel”

    Vaithy who never liked to be questioned said “There were so many children like Chandru, so the master called one senior boy and asked him to take chandru to his room. Chandru went with that boy, I waited outside till he returned”

    Sarasu was not happy and asked “What did he say then”

    Vaithy frowned and said “he did not say anything, just sat by my side. Then one more father brought his Son, Chandru and that boy is going to be in the same class, they became great friends immediately. Chandru did not feel sad when I was leaving.”

    A mother is always full of love for her child and she was once again in tears and lamented “Poor child, I wonder how he is going to cope to this hostel. Hope the masters don’t beat him”

    Vaithy got up and went to wash his face and said “If our boy listens to the masters and obeys them why would they beat him”

    Sarasu was feeling miserable and further added ”I feel very sorry that you listened to that man and send our son away, I don’t know if it is the right decision, my father’s letter too came today, telling us that in some hostels children are not treated well. He also says till the age of 10 at least we should not send children to hostel”

    Vaithy anger mounted and he raised his voice and said “Oh Oh, so this letter from your father is more important than the decision I make for my children, what does that priest know about education. Ask him to keep quiet and not advice me about my children”

    On hearing the loud voice of Vaithy, Swarna and Visu came and hugged Sarasu’s leg, they were very scared when their father shouted thus. Sarasu carried Visu and started walking to the kitchen mumbling “Whatever my father says is wrong. I have to bear with all this”

    Vaithy did not see that he had upset his children and without decreasing the tone of his voice said “Enough of this talking, I am tired of this, serve me my dinner and let me go to sleep”

    Sarasu served him his dinner grumbling and mumbling. She could not speak further than this. Otherwise he would throw the tumbler on her face. Once this had almost hit her and she had ducked just in time. The children were also terrified of his temper and sat in the kitchen without any sound.

    Like any mother Sarasu’s thoughts were filled with Chandru. When she got up in the morning she made a cup of coffee for him too, and then realized he was not there. Even while cooking she missed him, she missed his voice around the house.

    But gradually she was getting over his absence. In three months’ time there was a 10 day vacation and he came home. He was all excited about the way his hostel and school was. He told them many things about his friends. Sarasu thought he was thinner, but he had actually grown a little taller. She was happy that he was happy in his hostel.

    When Visu was seven years old, he too was sent to the same hostel with the clients help and finance. The house which was busy with the chatter of children became very silent. Swarna who was going to a Government school nearby missed her brothers. Sarasu had less work to do and devoted her time visiting all her neighbours house and listening to gossip.

    During the annual holidays, the boys would be home and she would be very busy cooking their favourite food and showing all her love to them. She was amazed to see the maturity in the boys.

    to be continued.....
     
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  2. SuiDhaaga

    SuiDhaaga Platinum IL'ite

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    You are a great writer.

    I am unfamiliar with the culture (my Auntie is Telugu), and I am very sad to read all of this.

    Now I can understand why ladies on this board are ok with
    - intimacy outside of marriage (the guys knows if he is nasty then the lady can get up and leave!)
    - working instead of being married (being wife and mother is also work, but at home without any money)
    - having pets as companions (because of loyalty).

    I feel sad for Sarasu. It is unfortunate she did not have option of divorce and possible remarriage.
     
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  3. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    Good turn of events and narration is nostalgic.

    During material time or before the story period, communications and MONEY ORDER receipts received through India Posts used to be filed one over other in a metal wire as soon as it is read. My dad had gathered and kept such wire filed letters dated in 1940s onwards year-wise in the shape of post card and inland letter cards. The green image of bust of queen of England’s and King George V were my treasures once upon a time. Women of those days unlettered get the services of postman to read & reply letters received from their spouse working in far off places.

    I have come across situations where reading and writing reply done stealthily by lady of the house. Even heard of postmen misusing their position and would steal money orders.
    A friend on mine was remitting money in under-stamped envelope to ensure his illiterate mother at village would received it paying the fine. When asked about it, he told that postman would pocket the money in full or part and sending in under-stamped in ordinary post ensures she physically receives. I told it is illegal but he said he won’t be writing from address on the envelope nor would place a letter with currency notes in it.

    Yes many malnourished children without proper Medicare in homes of poor priests. I have heard of priest claiming that it is easy to produce another child than spending money in hospital for chronically sick child.

    I remember a DIL at my neighbour house in 1950s, would secretly get me buy post card or inland letter and after writing, she would request me to post it at mobile post office at marina beach near a college in the evening at around 7p.m.

    Moped - looks a bit of anachronism. It came into use probably later in 1965. Priests generally seen with Atlas or Hercules bicycles. Rich ones add accessories and dynamo-lights in front.

    Other day - a Sunday - our family priest called on me with his courteous daughter wearing saree in traditional style. (மடிசாறு). As priest was having problem with his toes, she was driving dad’s scooter and helping to complete his visits. When I enquired about her studies, she surprised me telling that she studied computer engineering and working in Infosys.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2021
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  4. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    It is suggested in order to facilitate later readers, entire story in instalments can be posted in a single thread.

    In serial stories under fiction, many had written and posted in IL website in a single thread. I think it would be convenient to follow and facilitate back reference of feedbacks. As an illustration, Op can refer to
    Getti Melam - Supraja - An Apple Of My Eye
     
  5. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    Dear sir,

    Thank you for your suggestion. I will post the same on the same thread. I never thought of this. Will now put all together and continue like that.

    Regards
    uma
     
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  6. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    This story is becoming more captivating by the chapter! I can see my grandmother in Sarasu. She grew up in Chennai, not a village. But they lived in the old part of town where the streets were too narrow for anything bigger than a rickshaw and the houses were stacked literally on top of each other. The ladies would all come out in their ‘madisar’ after the morning’s chores and sit on their thinnais and gossip about everyone who wasn’t present, fueled by endless cups of coffee and buttermilk flavored with crushed ginger and curry leaves.
    The biggest scandal of the day was when a newlywed bride decided she was only going to wear 6-yards saree.
     
  7. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    Dear sir,
    Thank you for your reply. It was nice to read about how letter writing was in those days. My writing I picturised from what my Mom and Dad told me. My grandfather who lived with us, would wait for the postman at the gate at 11 am everyday. He would read all the letters, even if it was addressed to my Dad. My never did mind. He would immediately write a reply to his letters and go and post it. No putting off the reply to next day. He always had a stock of inland letters and post card.
    Thank you for pointing out regarding the moped. I was ignorant of this.

    Regards
    Uma
     
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  8. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    THE PRIEST – CHAPTER 6

    What happened to Kicha, he had completed his graduation in a city and was working in a bank, he was earning well and sending money for his parents.

    Her father was ageing. He had started to walk more slowly. His hair had started turning grey. Thankfully Kicha was able to support them

    Kicha too had got married to a girl of his parents’ choice.

    Kicha had specified that the girl should be a graduate. He said he wanted someone who would be able to understand his work load and she should be intellectually compatible with him. He said when his children started going to school, she should be able to guide them with studies. He said at the same time she should be a family loving girl and should respect his parents. His father kept asking him “How will we find such a girl”. Kicha did find one girl. She came from an educated family. Her father was a headmaster and all her sisters were in various stages of education.

    Kicha in all his letters told his father not to go to the temple anymore and move in with him. When the letter arrived, the priest sat in his chair reading it and his wife as usual stood by the kitchen door waiting to hear what her son had said.

    She then asked “What is Kicha saying”

    The priest said “He is saying I need not work anymore as he is sending money”

    His wife said “he should be saying it because he feels you need not stress yourself, what are you thinking”

    The priest thought for a while and said “So far as I am healthy I would like to eat what I earn, we lose respect when we expect too much from anyone, even if it is our son, he is married and got his children to think about, we should not disturb him too much”

    His wife said “What is there, it is his duty to take care of us”

    The priest said, “That is all you know di, but today the world is changing, you will understand it later”

    His wife gave out a long breath and said “I don’t understand what you say, even if times are changing can it change a Father – son relationship” So saying she went into the kitchen to warm his food. He lay on the easy chair as always fanning himself with the palm fan.

    A few more years passed and the priest was losing his health slowly. He was in denial about it. He went about his chores as always. But he could not walk fast. His eyesight was slowly failing due to cataract. But still he kept routine and did not stop any of his work.

    His wife was very worried about him and on one pretext or the other would follow him to the temple. She would sometimes stay there till afternoon and come back with him. When he asked her if she did not have work at home, she would simply say “I have finished all my work in the morning, what work for the 2 of us and if I sit at home I am wasting time, let me sit here praying to Godess Kamakshi, I will get some blessings at least” Sometimes she would come back home and then go back to escort him home. She never mentioned that she was doing it because of his age, lest she hurt his ego.

    Once his eyesight had become really bad, the village headman took him to the nearby hospital and got his cataract removed. He and his wife stayed in the hospital for 5 days till he was able to come home. After recovery, he was now better as he could see better. During his period of absence, a young man had taken charge of the poojas in the temple. He now continued to assist the priest. The priest was first enraged but cooled down later as his wife told him “everything happens for the good, old people should slow down and give way to the young, if Kicha had not gone to school and helped you, he would have been your assistant now, so think this young man is your son”

    It was just another day in their household, nowadays the priest would go late to the temple, his assistant would open the temple and start the early morning rituals. The priest would go by about 6 AM when it was a little brighter. His wife went with him, which he never liked. It was on this day as he was walking; he kept greeting everyone on the road, and chatted with them for a few minutes before proceeding. As he reached near the temple, he did not notice a small stone lying there and stepped on it. He had a fall and his head got hurt. It was bleeding and his wife who was just behind had caught him, which slowed his fall. She called out loudly and with the help of people on the road, took a cart and rushed him to the hospital. The wound was nothing serious, but needed stitches.

    Telephones were getting more popular, though most people did not know how to use them, and the younger generation like always were the first ones to use this technology. The junior priest came home and told the priest’s wife “don’t you think we should inform your son”

    She immediately replied “Why it is a small thing, and he is little weak and the wound is hurting him that is why he is faint, no need to inform Kicha”

    The junior priest thought for a while and said “If you don’t want, then we need not inform, but I thought it is better we tell him, if he comes to know through some other source, then he would be upset”


    Immediately his wife with a worried face said “Yes what you are saying is true, I will write a letter”

    The junior priest immediately laughed and said “Maami, now a days you need not write a letter, or even a telegram, we can just go to the post office and make a telephone call and speak to Kicha and tell him”

    The priests wife was very surprised, though she had heard about it, the junior priest said “You know the bank Kicha is working for, come with me tomorrow to the post office, you can speak to Kicha”

    Though she was very scared about talking on the telephone, she went with the junior priest to the post office the next day. They placed a call to the bank. It took them about one hour of waiting to get connected. It was not a direct dialing like we do now, the call had to be placed through an operator and she would call back and connect the call. When the call came, the junior priest told her to talk. He told her how to hold the receiver and said “Talk now, you can hear Kicha on the other side”

    She was terrified and asked “Nothing will happen to my ears???”,

    The post master said “You are wasting precious time, the call is for 3 minutes only speak fast”

    Then she started screaming on top of her voice saying “Heeeeellllooooo, einda kicha va, are all of you fine, appa had a fall yesterday and has stitches on his head, I wanted to tell you that” when she turned around in nervousness, everyone were looking at her. The entire post office and everyone who had come there were looking at her. Junior priest took the receiver from her hand, while the post master said “you know without a phone Kicha would have heard you in Bombay” and everyone around her burst out laughing, while she ran out in embarrassment.

    To be continued………
     
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  9. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    I liked further narration which is nostalgic. So far so good. Vaity has to become grandfather ... further more production of kids ceased. What more to come...his sons turned modern. He remains primitive. In between a dangling Sarasu. Would she continue to love more her vaity or her sons.. there is going to be DIL issues .. I suppose..

    Thanks and Regards.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2021
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  10. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    MOVING IN WITH SON – CHAPTER 7

    Kicha had an important audit and could not leave immediately. He was very upset and kept thinking about his parents. He had to wait till the audit was over before he could ask for leave.

    He went home and told his wife Revathi, whom he fondly called Reva “Today I received a call from my mom”

    Reva was surprised and asked “Oh Oh your Mom has learnt to use the phone, what an improvement, what did she say”

    Kicha burst out laughing and said “that new priest has brought her to the post office to speak to me, and you know the way she screamed I almost became deaf”

    Reva too burst out laughing and asked “What did she say?”

    Kicha replied “I believe appa had a fall yesterday and has stitches on his head, he was a little faint yesterday, but today he is OK, luckily amma was right behind him and took him to the doctor”

    Revathy who was cheerful till now became worried and said “Ayoda Ramachandraaaaaa, why should this happen to him, hope he recovers' '.

    Then Kicha told Revathy that he plans to go to see his father after the bank audit. He would get leave only then and he asked her if she could join him with the children. He said “You have not been to our village for so many years, why don’t you come, we can also visit your parents and come back in a weeks time”

    Revathy thought for a while and said “I don’t mind coming, but think of the expenses in going so far and coming, instead you can give the travel money to your parents and it will help them”

    Kicha told her “I am not planning to leave my parents there anymore, you see my father is old and he needs some support and I am his only son, so I want to bring them here”

    Reva immediately gave him a look which said she was not happy, but in her heart she knew she had to take care of them. Kicha said “After I got this news I felt very sad, and now if I do not bring them here, everyday my thoughts would be with them, and if anything happens to them, I will die of guilt”.

    Revathi said “where will they go, so bring them here”

    Kicha applied for one weeks leave and left for his hometown. The journey took him more than a day as he had to change trains at Madras and then take a bus to his place. He landed up there late in the afternoon. When he went home, his father was sleeping in the easy chair with a bandage on his head. He looked very weak and Kicha felt very sorry for him. As he entered the house, his father woke up and said “Adde Kicha why have you come suddenly, how are you?”

    He looked at his father and said “Appa how are you and how is your head healing. How can I not come when you are not OK”

    His father looked at him and said “As if I am dead, it is after all a fall and a small injury to my head, why did you come running all the way, leaving all your chores”

    Kicha told him “There is nothing more important for me that you and amma, when I am leaving I will take you both with me, so be ready”

    His father looked at him with a smile and said “I am not that incapable, da, I can still work and take care of amma and me, why burden Revathi with us, we will stay here”

    Kicha did not say anything as he knew this would be the typical reaction he would get, he asked “Where is amma?” His father had gone back to sleep and Kicha never got a reply. He walked into the kitchen looking for her and had some water to drink from the mud pot. The water from the well in their house was sweet. He thought to himself “how sweet the water is here, compared to this the water in Bombay is horrible”

    He then changed to his dhoti, took out the mat and lay down as he was very tired. Just then his mom walked in asking “Who has come, there is a slipper lying outside” she walked in and saw Kicha and was very excited and asked him “When did you come, have you eaten” she also added, “I thought you were not coming as you did not turn up immediately. What took you so long, how is Revathi and the children, you could have brought them too” Kicha updated her on everything and told her to get ready to leave for Bomaby in a week. He said he had already bought the tickets at Madras for the 3 of them.

    The next few days were busy trying to put things away safely from the rats and termites. Food that would perish were given to the neighbours. The priest was not happy to be leaving this place and he told Kicha “Dey you take me to Bomaby, I will stay for sometime and come back, if I die I want to do so by the banks of river Cauvery and not in Bombay”, his wife on hearing it said “Easwara, why are you talking like this while we are leaving, you will live a hundred years, don’t worry”

    The day of the trip soon arrived. Kicha had told his mom to pack food for the journey, so there were chapathis, curd rice and upma without onions, some puliyodharai, leaves to eat and water bottles. His father would never eat the food available in the station, nor would his mother. If nothing was available then they would not eat anything till they reached home. So also in case there was some occasion where they had to attend a condolence, they would not even drink water till the funeral.

    So started the trip to Bpmbay and his mother was all excited about seeing Revathi and the children. They reached Bombay and the crowd hit them like crazy. Kicha with all the luggage held on to his fathers hand and told his mother to hold his other hand and not to let go till they got a taxi. Both his parents were too shocked to see the crowd and the way they were jostled.

    Once in the taxi his father said “What is this crowd, like some temple festival, it is horrible, they do not have any concern that an old man is walking” Kicha said “Appa this is Bombay and it is one of the busiest cities in India, so everyone moves fast, there are people who come to Bombay to work from nearby cities and they have to take trains.”

    When they reached home, they were shocked to see the house. It was a single bedroom flat.

    The living room or the hall had two foldable beds on which Kichas parents would sleep and the bedroom where Kicha, his wife and children would sleep. The priest was not too well after the long trip and it took him a week to get over the tiredness.

    To be continued………
     
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