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Vaithys Progress And Hostel- Chapter 5

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

  1. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    Kicha is the only son to vaity? I think he has a brother. Two sons were in hostel during their studies in the same institution.

    a rare item taken for train journey but it is ok without onion. Chances of it getting stale much less without onion!

    This part I can relate to my own events. When I suggested to octogenarian parents to join me in then Bombay, they expressed reluctance — Hindi Marathi Language, losing contacts and friends, relatives etc.. —

    They refused to travel by air. I received them at Dadar. A red jacket licensed tall hefty coolie ( porter) physically lifted my dad on his shoulder walked on the ramp of platform walked across the tracks and moved to platform on the other side from where we could exit the Dadar station.

    As he entered into the hall from lift at twelfth floor, he wide eyed exclaimed - is this is your office or what? Yes the hall was wide 30’x20’. It was accommodation provided by Bharat Matha.

    Dad was reticent as he could not speak my friends’ Marathi or Hindi though he could in English. Mom could speak many languages. She quickly befriended many of the inmates in that 64 flats and without my or spouse assistance, she got busier and busier and dad became jealous.

    I like the way you had presented mrs Kichha —Revathi broad minded and love for her MIL & DIL. BUT then THERE pigeon hole is overcrowded now. Privacy challenged, let me look forward to their future and turn of events.
    Until then

    God Bless.
  2. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    Kicha is Sarasu’s brother.
  3. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    Mother in law syndrome – chapter 8

    The old couple did not like the closed space in Bombay. They could not talk to anyone, whereas Revathi had learnt to speak Marathi and the children spoke the local language very well. Revathi not only could speak the language but also learnt to read and write so that she could help her children in their study.

    Boredom started setting in. One morning as she got up she asked Revathi “What is this, do you not put kolam outside your doorstep “ Revathi said “Amma we are living in an apartment and many people walk outside our door, how can I draw a kolam on the way” for which her Mother in law said “So what, we should not give up our tradition, it is not good for the house, from tomorrow you draw a small one outside OK!!?” Revathi was not too happy to be told to do something that was useless, she had tried to draw the kolam for the first few days, but in 5 minutes someone would have walked over it and smudged it. She did not say anything and thought they would get over it soon. But the next day she was questioned again and she said “Amma I forgot, why don’t you draw it, you are so good at it. And also you get up earlier than me” So started many problems between mother in law and daughter in law. Though Revathi was very adaptive, she did not like her Mother in law interfering with everything that was happening in the house. Kicha had to leave the house very early to take a bus to work. The children had to be woken up and dressed and sent to school. They were boisterous and naughty. Sometimes they would have fist fights at breakfast and had to be subdued. Moreover she could never talk to her husband in private. If she said anything even in the lowest of whispers, her mother in law would have some comment to make.

    Revathi had her own rules for the house. Kicha had to get into the kitchen and take his own plate to eat. He should not speak while eating. The children had to have their bath and dry their towels and wear their own uniform. No help to be given by elders. In the evening when they came home, they had to wash themselves and then eat something and go to play. They had to put their school bag in its place, shoes in its place, uniform in its place etc. They had to be home by 6 and do their homework and study all lessons the same day. If they did not listen to her she would take a cane and give them a hit so that they would fall in line.

    Her mother in law had never seen anyone give so much importance to studies. She compared Kicha studying to her grandsons studying. When Revathi was being strict, she would come and try to interfere. Soon both of them would have arguments,

    Revathi would make preparations for the next day's cooking on the previous evening, which her mother in law did not like. She would say food should always be cooked fresh.

    She always told Revathi not to touch that and then this. Revathi did not like interference while she was cooking. Sometimes she would tell her to cook and sit and rest. But this too was not appreciated, and would get comments like “See she is sitting like a queen, not helping me with anything “.

    Though Revathi took utmost care of the both, there was always criticism from her mother in law. The most irritating factor for Revathi was that her Mother in law always compared her to Sarasu. She would praise Sarasu to no end.

    She also kept insisting that her daughter in law follow everything as per tradition, which was very difficult to do in a small place. Some days she would have a problem with everything that was cooked and served.

    Her father in law on the other hand was very silent and would simply sit and read his slokas. He would go for a small walk around the colony and visit the nearby temple. Sometimes his wife would accompany him. They started making friends of their own in and around the place.

    If Kicha’s mother complained to him, he would say she had to adjust. City life was different from the village and she had to understand his wife. Was she not feeding them in time and taking care of them was his question.

    Thus continued their life.

    To be continued..........
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  4. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    I enjoyed reading further developments awaiting triangular friction and sparks and understanding the misunderstanding, generation cap bickering etc.
    thanks and Regards.
    God bless.
  5. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Sir,

    Thank you for your feedback.

    Thyagarajan likes this.
  6. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    Man Proposes ….. Chapter 9

    You can say life is an adjustment. Once you have lived with a person you come to know his moods and requirements and do accordingly so that there are little fights and arguments. Sarasu adjusted very well to her life. She understood Vaithy though he was very adamant and would get angry for small things. She realized in all these years that he was caring too. He had kept her and her happy. She never lacked anything. Of course, like any middle-class woman, her longings to have a lot of material things were there in her mind. She would feel very jealous if her neighboring aunty bought something new and kept talking about it for days.

    Many times we are too content in life and make so many plans. We never know whether these plans will work out or not. Similarly, Sarala was mentally making plans for the upanayanam of her sons. Chandru would be reaching the upper limit of 16 years and it was essential for them to do this. Many times they had planned it and something or the other would happen and they could not conduct it. Vaithy too had similar thoughts and often spoke to Sarasu about this. Vaithy wanted to get it done in the Sabha at low cost. But Sarasu wanted to invite hers and Vaithys close relations for the same. She kept saying it was a long time since she had seen anyone and this would be an occasion for her to meet them. Vaithy kept telling her she should make her plans considering the expenses involved. Just because some people make upanayanam into a grand affair they should not do the same. He said it was a solemn affair and only the parents need to be present.

    They were eagerly waiting for their sons to return in April after their exams. Chandru would have completed his SSLC. The day finally arrived and the boys returned. Sarasu was always happy when the children came back from the hostel. She treated them like small children, though both of them had grown.

    The house was again filled with fun and laughter. Chandru and Visu filled Sarasu and Swarna with stories about the pranks in the hostel and their friends. They were always teasing each other and especially Swarna who was not so good in catching up with their humour and jokes.

    Like we say we can make all the plans we need but the almighty is the one to decide on what should happen. Man proposes and God disposes is the old saying. That is why we need to be good every moment of our lives, we never know what will happen next.

    It was on one of these days very early in the morning at about 3.30 am that Vaithy left home for a Pooja. He had to pick up his assistant. The children were all still sleeping. Sarasu gave him his customary coffee and sent him off. She rested for a while as it was too early to start her chores. As was the custom she had swept the courtyard before Vaithy left home. By 8 AM, Chandru was sitting outside speaking to his neighbouring friend when a policeman came. He asked the boy “

    “Is this Vaitheeswarans house”

    Chandru was alarmed to see a policeman and said “Yes, what is it you want” and he shouted “Amma see one policeman has come”

    Sarasu came running out followed by Swarna and Visu. The entire neighborhood stood at their doorsteps to see what was happening.

    The policeman said “You have to come immediately to the hospital”

    Sarasu asked “Why what are you talking about, why should we come to the hospital”

    For the policeman it was just another case of accident and he said “Are there no other elders in the house, Vaitheeswaran has met with an accident in the morning and is in the hospital”

    Sarasu started wailing loudly “Easwara what is this, Easwara, Easwara………….”

    Chandru was alarmed and he took complete charge and told his mother “Amma please keep quiet, let us find out what happened”

    In the meantime, the neighboring uncle came and asked the policeman “Sir please tell us in detail what has happened, Chandru go and give your mother some water and ask her to cool down”

    Chandru went inside and by the time he came with the water the policeman had left.

    The neighboring uncle told Chandru “Dey bring your mother and come immediately, we have to go to the hospital. I will go and arrange for transport”

    Chandru went inside and changed his clothes and told his mom “Amma we have to go to the hospital, please come and do not cry. Nothing bad would have happened. He would be hurt that is all”

    Thus consoling his mother he put his hands on her shoulders and called out to Swarna and Visu and said “We will go to the hospital and come, take care of the house, I will leave amma there and come back if we need anything”

    When they walked into the hospital, all the nurses were giving them sympathetic looks and the neighbor said “Chandru you wait here and I will go and find out where he is”

    After sometime the neighbor came outside and took Chandru aside and told him “Dey, it is very sad, Vaithy is no more, it was a head injury and they could not save him. He died an hour back, please slowly tell your mother”

    Chandru was heartbroken and he burst into tears and told his mother.

    Sarasu wailed and Chandru did not know what to do.

    The neighbor who had come was very helpful and arranged all that needed to be done. A trunk call was made to Kicha and also to Vaithy’s near and dear ones.

    Kicha rushed immediately along with his parents. Everyone was shell shocked at Vaithy’s untimely death.

    Sarasu did not know what she would do with her 3 children all alone with no income. No one was giving suggestions on how she could cope. She was just in her mid 30’s and a widow.

    All the ceremonies progressed and it was the 10th day. This is the day on which the widowed woman removes her mangalsutra. This is done very early in the morning. As the ceremonies were starting, Vaithy’s aunty suddenly asked “Have you asked the barber to come”

    Sarasu’s mother said “No we have decided not to do this. Now a day women are not shaving their head, these are modern days”

    Vaithy’s aunt was angry and irritated and with a loud voice she said “What is this. Vaithy was a staunch Brahmin and believed in all the shastras. His wife has to follow tradition, time will change, but we should not change our tradition”

    Sarasu’s mother was very distressed and started crying and said “it is very unfortunate that he died at such a young age. But I will not allow Sarasu to shave her head and wear the saffron saree. Days are changing

    Vaithy’s aunt “Whatever changes we should not forego our tradition, it is not good, go and call the barber and let the work be done”

    Sarasu’s mother still was weeping and said “See it is final and my decision stays, Sarasu will not shave her head, leave her alone and get done with the rest of the work”

    Arguments broke out with women taking sides and finally Sarasu’s mom won. Sarasu remained a young widow without the traditional garb. The ceremonies concluded on the 13th day, but not the grief and sorrow of this family. Life would never be the same for them. It is in a moment that life turns turtle for some. Most of the close relatives left after this. So did Vaithys aunt and uncle. They told Sarasu’s mom to take good care of Sarasu and the children.

    When her parents were sitting grieving the loss, Sarasu asked Kicha “I don’t know what sin I committed, that he left me and went, tell me what I should do now, I have 3 children to feed. If amma and Appa were in the village we could have gone and stayed with them. Now what are we to do”

    Kicha looked at her with great sorrow and said “It is God’s will Sarasu, certain things cannot change, who would have thought he would die like this, we cannot do anything, I am also thinking about what to do with you and your children”

    Sarasu was in tears as she could not get over the situation and wiped her eyes with her pallu.

    Kicha said “stop grieving, let us think of what we can do for the future” The priest was sad that he was helpless to help his daughter in a situation like this and said “En da Kicha, what is there to think, we have to take this family with us to Bombay. We can share some kanji and educate the children”

    Kicha looked at him and said “Are you mad, how can we live in such a small house with another 4 members. How will my income be enough to support all of them, let me think and come up with a solution.

    A household which had never seen sorrow was grieving. Chandru was wondering how he could study further. He thought if his uncle could support his education for another few years he would get a good job and their problems would get settled.

    It was the evening of the next day. Kicha had left home in the morning saying he had to meet someone and returned in the evening.

    Sarasu brought his coffee. Kicha was sweating in the heat and sat under the fan “sit down, I want to tell you that I went and met my friend, he did his graduation with me. I told him about your situation and he said he can give a job in his shop to Chandru”

    This was not what she expected “Then what happens to his education”

    Kicha said “Look here Sarasu many times, we never get what we want, today's situation is that he has to stop studies and take up employment. He is the eldest son and he should take responsibility of this house”

    Chandru who had the ambition to study further and get a job was listening silently and said “Mama I want to study, if you help for another 5 years I will complete my graduation and get a good job, can’t you help us till then”

    Kicha did not like the intrusion of a small boy in this topic and said “I too thought of it da, but you see my 2 children are also studying and I am supporting your grandpa and grandma. They are both old and need frequent doctor visits. After all these expenses, it is hand to mouth for my family, where can I support you all, understand da and take up the job. This is the best I can do for you all”

    Chandru was in tears and slowly said “I will think about this mama”

    Kicha was adamant and replied “There is no time to think about this. I am leaving for Bombay the day after, tomorrow I will take you to my friend and he will employ you immediately. At times we cannot get all we want, think of your family and sacrifice your education. You can start working and I will also send some money every month so that you can tide over things”

    The next morning Kicha took Chandru to his friend who was running a hardware shop. His friend said he would employ Chandru and report to work in a few days.

    Kicha along with his parents left as scheduled to Bombay

    To be continued……
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  7. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    The aftermath - chapter 10

    Every morning was a pain for Sarasu. She cried every night at her fate. She kept thinking it would not have been a problem had Yama taken her instead. She kept thinking how Chandrus education was gone. How Vaithy had dreamt about Chandru getting a big job and settling down.

    As she was lamenting Chandru said “Amma please do not grieve, now that I am going to work, I will do my best for you”

    Visu continued school in the hostel. Swarna continued in the same school.

    Slowly reality set in, visitors got fewer and fewer. Sarasu’s neighbours who were friendly and close to her started shunning her. They did not want her to come out of her house to draw the morning kolam, and did not invite her for any functions, did not talk to her about engagements or weddings. She felt miserable seeing their attitude. But that was the way of society.

    In about two months visitors stopped. People who had helped during the bad times and promised to visit and help even after did not turn up at all. At times when they saw Chandru at some common place they would just pat his shoulder and ask how they are all.

    The family was left to themselves. Things were not rosy and cosy. The salary Chandru was bringing in was very small and they could not manage to buy provisions for an entire month. Kicha sent money only when they repeatedly wrote to him asking for it. Chandru's job was also very tough, he was an assistant in the shop and had to do all kinds of work starting from dusting and cleaning the shop once it opened.

    Most of the times when things were less, Sarasu would go and borrow from the neighbours saying she would return it later, but she was finding it hard to return. Neighbours were turning her down.

    They were getting short of paying the rent too. They were defaulting often.

    Many times, when people visited Sarasu they suggested she go and do some work to supplement the income, but her mind could not accept the idea of working. Even when someone said they would help her find something, she refused.

    One year passed and the house owner requested them to vacate. He did not want to hurt Sarasu as he had seen her walking into this house as a bride and she had lived here for about 18 years, but could not give the house free. They asked him for 2 months’ time. The hunt for a house began.

    No matter how hard Chandru tried, he was not able to find a house for low rent. The houses had one problem or the other.

    Finally, one evening Chandru’s friend told him about a house. Chandru hurried and saw the place. It was a portion of a big house, the owner, a non vegetarian, lived on the other side. What worried Chandru most was that his Mom, who had never left her home for anything, could adjust to this surrounding where all kinds of people lived. The entrance to the lane where this house was situated had butcher shops.

    He went home that evening and told Sarasu “Amma I have found a house for us”

    Sarasu was excited and happy that the search had ended “Where is it. Is it good”

    Chandru was hesitant to tell her about the owner and surroundings “Yes the house is very nice. It has a bathroom inside; the rent is also very less. I will take one hour permission and come and take you to see it”

    Sarasu felt proud to see the maturity in Chandru at such a small an age. She said “If you like it you should have paid the advance, why should I see it”

    Chandru did not want to tell her anything till she saw the place and he said “It is better you see it, I am scared you will not like it”

    Sarasu was little concerned and said “Why are you saying that”

    Chandru finally told her “Amma you have always lived in the agraharam and appa never let you go out, you have not seen the other side of the world or met any person away from the agraharam, The house owner is a non vegetarian and lives in the other portion, he is a nice person and is old. But I want you to see this house”

    Sarasu “Eswaraaaaa…..how will we live next to his house.

    Chandru was annoyed and hiding his feeling said “Amma how many houses I have seen. But there has been no success. So I thought this would be good as it fits within our budget.

    The next day Sarasu went to see the house. Sarasu closed her nose and closed her eyes and walked through the butcher shops. They saw the house. The house owner on seeing Sarasu felt very sorry for them and further went down on the rent. Sarasu was given no option but to agree. She was a little scared of how Swarna (a girl) would live in this place. But Chandru assured her all people are good and it depends on how we are to them.

    Sarasu now came out of the well that she lived in. She saw what it was outside the agraharam. She would keep all her windows closed the minute she got the smell of non veg being cooked. But that was only occasionally. People around here were very friendly. They treated her with great respect. There were no restrictions to the time she could go out. No one ostracized her when she came out when their husbands were leaving for work. She started moving around freely. She slowly learnt a lot of things about various religions and languages. Most important of all she learnt going to buy things from the shop on her own.

    Sarasu now saw how the world had changed. How when she was stuck inside the house, she had not realized what the changes were around her. She saw how women were progressing all around her.

    Swarna discontinued her education after high school. After all, what was the use of studying when all they did was get you married. She had all the dreams of any teenage girl. She would secretly read love novels and wonder when her prince would come to meet her. She was waiting to meet Mr. Right and be kissed like they do in movies. She was going to movies with her friends and saw romance on the screens. She dreamt her Prince would be the most handsome man on earth. She dreamt of living in a palace and ordering people to work for her. So on and so forth were her dreams.

    Swarna now took over the entire house work. She helped in cooking, going to the shops, cleaning etc. She had ample time and would spend time chatting with anyone she sees on the road. She would always keep her ears glued to the songs being played in the shop close by. Many times we would find her humming all the movie songs while doing the work. She borrowed all the tamil weeklys from her neighbours and read all the articles and stories.

    In the meantime, Visu got an excellent scholarship from a college in Madras and took the blessings from his mother. He was very diligent and did not go wandering but excelled in his studies. He never asked for any help from Chandru or anyone else. Though the fees were taken care of by the scholarship, any other needs he had, he would do some small work here and there and take care. He had only 2 sets of clothes and did not crib. He kept his needs minimal. During holidays too he preferred staying in his hostel rather than going home because he had to spend for the bus fare and in the hostel his 3 meals were guaranteed. This brought about a distance between him and his family. Though he liked all of them and respected his mother, he did not develop closeness and did not speak to them except for what was necessary.

    Time rolled by and Visu did his AMIE while working. He got a good job in Gujarat and left. He promised his mother that he would go there, get settled in his job and write to her.

    Chandru started growing in his job.

    Swarna too was getting older. Swarna’s life slowly moved on. As the years rolled by all her friends had gone for their higher education and some were getting married and moved to other places. The girls who had got married earlier were now with children of their own. Every time Swarna met them she felt awful because the first question any one would ask her was “ When are you getting married’ Slowly she dreaded meeting anyone.

    Sarasu was also asked by many why she is not getting Swarna married. She kept saying with a sigh “who will marry someone who has nothing in her ears, nose, neck and hands”.

    From being a teenage girl with a lot of dreams and growing up hoping things will get better everyday, Swarna almost gave up on the fact that she would get married. Every day was a disappointment and she was getting weary of her daily routine. She was picking up quarrels with everyone for small things and sometimes people dreaded talking to her.

    To be continued………
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  8. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    Proposal for Swarna……… Chapter 11

    One fine morning, the sun had just risen. Swarna went out in the mist washing the courtyard and drawing the Kolam. It was a routine and she saw the sun rising and its first rays falling on the earth warming everything around it. She stood for a while watching its rays on the lovely orange sky. Looking at it with her many darned half saree and she thought how beautiful nature was, she for a minute forgot all her loneliness in this house and though her mother and brother were there how alone she was. She quickly shook herself from her dream and went inside to start her daily routine. She had to finish cooking before Chandru left for work.

    Just as she went inside to heat the milk to make coffee, she heard someone at the door. Guests had stopped visiting and were very rare. Her thoughts immediately went to Visu. Visu had not written to them for a while and no money order came from him. She heard her mom open the door and welcome someone in. That person said he had a Pooja close by and thought would visit them. He was one of her father’s friend. Her mom called out to Swarna who came out and asked “Mama, how are you, will you have coffee”. When she went inside to make the coffee, this man asked ”Swarna is getting older, don’t you want to get her married”.

    Sarasu heaved a sigh and said, “who will marry a poor girl.”

    To this the friend replied “You know when the right time comes everyone rich or poor gets married. They would be someone born for her “ Then he added “I have come to talk to you about this”

    The friend started saying “The boy is from a nearby town, he is about 43 years old. Comes from a well to do family, he is eldest amongst the 8 siblings, all his younger ones are married and settled, the youngest one is yet to be married but settled in a good job”

    Sarasu thought something should be wrong and asked “Then why did they not get him married first”

    The friend then added what should have been first told “I was about to tell you, he had some sickness, so they did not want to get him married”

    Sarasu was alarmed and said “Enna mama, what sickness, is he normal, will it stick to Swarna”

    The friend very convincingly said “I will not bring this proposal if he was not normal; he is a normal person just like you and me. He goes to work in a printing press, has been working now for 20 years. Only this that one by one his siblings got married and now they are talking about him. His father is no more, so his mother says he would need someone after she is gone”

    Sarasu was not too happy and asked “What was his father doing”

    The friend nodded his head and said “His father had a very big post in the government and everyone in the family is very well educated including the daughters. You should see what a big house they have. Nothing lacking”

    Sarasu on hearing this was doubtful “You are saying all this, Will they agree to wed our Swarna”

    The friend took his coffee tumbler and started drinking and after a swallow said “See we can propose, but the final decision is with the Lord above, I have checked the horoscope of both of them and it is matching”

    Then Sarasu thought for a while and said “finish your coffee it is going to get cold. Let Chandru get up I will discuss with him and ask him to meet you”

    Swarna was standing at the kitchen door and listening to everything, she was happy and almost felt like this was the moment she was waiting for. She started humming a romantic song to herself and started her cooking.

    Chandru got up and went about his morning routine. He sat down with his coffee when his mom started:

    “Dey this morning that uncle Samy from the sabha came home”

    Chandru looked irritated and said “What work does he have, he would have brought some useless gossip with him or to invite us for some pooja”

    Sarasu was annoyed that he said this and said “No, he brought a proposal for Swarna”

    Chandru was all the more annoyed and got up from the chair with the tumbler in his hand and said “ Amma how many times to tell you that we cannot get her married until I make more money and save some”

    Sarasu said “Every time I say something you do not listen, first let me tell you what he said, these people are not looking at dowry or do not have any demands. They just want a nice girl “

    Chandru could not believe this and said “that means there is something fishy in this proposal, what is the boy doing”

    Immediately Sarsau cheered up and “He is working for a printing press, he is 43 years old”

    Chandru who was about to swallow one more mouth full of coffee stopped and gasped “What 43, there is more than 15 years difference ma!!!

    Sarasu readily had a reply “So what in those days it was common to get girls married like that, age does not matter. If he will keep her happy it is enough”

    Chandru sat down again with his hand on his head and listened to the rest of the details. Though he was not happy about the age difference he kept listening to his mother who concluded “Dey, this is god sent, let us not think of anything. Try and take a loan or something and get her married. In a few more years no one will want to marry her”

    Chandru was still not happy and said “Before I go and talk to them let me ask Kicha mama for an opinion”

    Sarasu wanted to hurry up the matter and thought good things should never be delayed and said “First let us go and meet this boy after that seeing their response we will talk to Kicha”

    That evening Chandru took permission from his shop and went and met Samy mama. Samy mama gave all the details to Chandru and the address for him to visit.

    Chandru knew it was not right to go without consulting his uncle, though his mother said not to. He felt the elders should be informed first and not later. Kicha might want to come too. So he went to the post office and placed a trunk call and gave all the details. Kicha was also happy and immediately said, “good things should not be delayed; you go and see these people and tell me what they say.” Don’t talk anything about the dowry part; if you are happy tell them to come and see the girl and after that we can discuss other things.

    Chandru left to visit the bridegroom. His name was Nagaraju. He was very shocked and taken aback on seeing Nagaraj. At the same time he was happy and gaped at the huge house and the luxury in it. Nagaraj’s mother seemed to be very nice and did not mince words. She told Chandru what she wanted and she said she would come with her son to see the girl after proper intimation.

    Chandru went home. Sarasu was eagerly and excitedly waiting for his at the doorstep. Chandru removing his foot wear said “Wait for me to at least come inside and sit before I give you the details”

    Chandru then sat down and said “The house is very big. It is like a palace. The family has a very big name in that town. That lady was very good. She did not look troublesome. She said she did not want any jewels, but only an ear stud for the bride. She wanted us to conduct the marriage in a decent fashion. Apart from that nothing”

    Swarna wanted to eagerly hear about the guy and did not want any other details, while Sarasu asked “Were you able to see the boy”

    Chandru looked at his mother and said without blinking his eye “ Yes I did. Swarna can live like a queen“

    Swarna was very delighted and happy. She immediately went into making plans like how she would dress as a bride. How would her prince charming be and how she would love him.

    While Swarna was in her dreams, Chandru caught a moment with Sarasu and said “The house is very big and they seem to be living in luxury. Swarna will be very happy there, but the bridegroom is not OK, I did not want to say this in front of Swarna”

    All of Sarasu’s excitement vanished in a moment and she asked

    “Dey what is this, tell me in detail”

    Chandru then in a whisper told his mom “The bridegroom has very long teeth, his eyes do not focus properly, though his vision is good. He cannot speak too well, we will take time to understand what he says, He rides the cycle to work and buys everything for the house. His mother gets pension but is totally dependent on him to do regular shopping. He is fair, but looks slightly mad. This is a major problem, and that is why they are looking for a girl from a poor family”

    Chandru also added “I am not too happy about this and do not know if we are doing the right thing for Swarna”

    Sarasu thought for a while and said ”let the boy first come and see her. Where are we going to get a better match for her. If something good is there, something bad will also be there. Swarna will forever not have any cash problem and can live in a huge mansion like a queen. So what if the guy is not good looking, with time everything will become alright.”

    Mother and son kept very silent about this. Swarna was unaware. She was very happy that she would soon be married. She was walking around in a dream thinking of the big house she is going to live in. She would not have to worry about anything; she could buy what she wants. She need not worry or bargain with the vegetable vendors for the price or think how they are going to manage the next meal. She would wear a saree each day and never repeat the same one. She did not have to stitch any torn clothes. Many were her expectations

    The letter came announcing the date for the boys visit to her house. Kicha was urgently summoned. Nagaraj came to see her. He came along with his mother, sister and brother in law and their 2 children. Swarna was dressed in a saree which was the best one in the house and was wearing borrowed jewelry. Everyone was welcomed at the door and when the sister walked into the house, she made a face seeing it.

    Everyone got talking on various matters. Finally, Swarna was asked to come. She walked in with her face down blushing at the prospect of meeting her future husband.

    Nagarajs sister told her “Look up and see my brother, feeling shy is like the olden days, today we expect the girl also to see whom she is getting married to” Swarna slowly lifted her face and looked up. She was alarmed to see her future husband. How could she live with a guy looking like this? Her dreams came crashing down. How could they even suggest a person like this. Tears flowed down her cheeks. She walked in with slow strides. Once inside she sat in the corner of the kitchen and sobbed.

    But who asked for her opinion?. Kicha was busy discussing the details of the wedding.

    Nagaraj’s sister seemed to be doing all the talking Swarna could hear her saying “We would have got better girls for him, but the sastrigal said Swarna is a very home loving person, and we liked your family, that is why we are here”

    Swarna thought “Then why did you not go to them, why me”

    She was asking next “OK tell us your plans for the wedding and we will then talk “

    Kicha did not want to divulge anything, so he said “You can see that we have nothing much to offer, if my brother in law was there he would have given her a lot, so if you tell us what your expectations are we can then tell you if it is possible or not”

    Nagarasj’s sister started the bargain “we want a decent wedding to be conducted”

    Kicha too got equal and said “That is ok and expected, we will do it, tell us how many people will attend the wedding, and we have limitations to that too”

    Nagaraj’s sister somewhat irritated said “What limitation, when you have a girl you did not plan for her wedding??. If you consider all our relatives the list will be more than 1000, but because of you we will come only with our limited family, you can say approximately 50 – 75 people will come from our side “

    Kicha was relieved, that it had come down from 1000 to 75 and said “That is OK, do you need hotel accommodation”

    Nagarajs sister in a very sarcastic tone said “I can see you are going to say NO for that to, don’t worry we will arrange our own accommodation”

    Kicha smiled and said “ That would be nice, then what about the ………

    Before he could complete Nagarajs mother stepped in and told her daughter “ Di, don’t talk too much, come to the point.”

    Then the mother in law to be told to Kicha “Let me tell you we are all very well to do. I will take good care of your daughter. We do not want anything expect a good marriage. Even if it is conducted in a temple hall it is fine. You must buy the one thali as per the tradition, I will buy the other one. As per tradition I will buy the wedding 9 yards saree. One more thing is that you should buy a safari suit for my son. Apart from this we do not want anything”

    Nagarajs sister in a very anxious way asked her mom “Amma what about the dowry, we should take little at least, what is a wedding without dowry, we too have expenses”

    Nagarajs mother with a final voice said “Forget all this. I do not want anything beyond this. I will tell you that we will all come on the day of the wedding in the morning. No need of previous day mapilai azapu, immediately after the wedding we will take the girl and leave, this will save you lot of expenses.”

    Kicha and Chandru were very relieved. They nodded happily.

    Nagarajs mother then got up and said ”OK then we will leave, please fix up the date of the wedding and let us know. If you call the post office they will send message to our house and we will wait for your call at the appointed time”

    Kicha and Chandru were happy and said “Ok, Give us 2 days time we will let you know”

    Just before exiting the front door Nagarajs mother said “We do not want to delay the wedding, so the date has to be early.

    To be continued…..
  9. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    Swarna gets married – chapter 12

    So Swarna’s wedding was fixed and everyone was happy except Swarna.

    Immediately after the guests left everyone started talking at the same time. Swarna came out of the kitchen all teary eyed.

    Sarasu asked her “You are very lucky to get a family like this, why are your eyes red, have you been crying”

    Kicha ignoring Sarasu told her “Your mother in law seemed very nice, you are very lucky”

    Swarna did not know what to say, no one asked for her opinion, but she slowly said “I don’t like the groom, he looks like a mad man”

    Chandru who was listening to this slowly added “I also felt like that, but where are you going to get a better proposal. You will be without money problem all your life”

    Tears rolled down Swarna’s cheeks and she said “But more important, the person I should marry should be nice, I am not marrying his mother and money, but him, I don’t like him, please don’t force me”

    In a very consoling way Kicha told her “Think of all the troubles you are facing today, it is because you do not have money. Think of the burden you are on Chandru. If we all had money, do you think we would have waited till you are 25 to get you married. See Swarna, money is everything. Don’t think of your husband, think of the comforts you are going to get”

    Sarasu also joined it “Looks are for women only, men not looking good does not matter, listen to your uncle, don’t be childish. Once you get married everything will be alright”

    Swarna, though not convinced, thinking of the situation had to agree. One way she too thought she would be financially stable, but she did not like Nagaraj one bit.

    Kicha had to leave in the evening and he told Chandru to fix the date of the wedding and intimate him. They made an estimate for the wedding and Kicha told them how much he can contribute. Chandru was crestfallen as it was hardly 25 percent of the total expense. Before leaving he told “Chandru ask Visu also to send some money, he is after all in a good job and can afford it”

    As Kicha was leaving Sarasu told him “Bring mummy for the wedding along with your wife and children”

    Very doubtfully Kicha said “My wife will come as we have to give away the girl, mummy is not all that healthy, she might not be able to travel so far, and someone has to take care of my children while we are away, they might be having exams”

    Sarasu wanted to see all of them and asked”Cant they bunk the exams”

    Kicha looked irritated and said “Don’t talk like that, how can they miss their exams, studies are very important and my children are school toppers, so they cannot miss school”

    Sarasu then thought she should not pressurize more that this and said”Ok do as you please “

    The wedding preparations began. A letter was written to Visu asking how much he could contribute. He wrote back saying he wishes Swarna the best and he can neither come for the wedding nor contribute as he had just switched jobs and it would be difficult.

    The discussion of how to conduct the wedding was the talk of the house. Chandru again took permission from his work and went to get the date of the wedding fixed. He had 3 options and the next day on the way to work he called Nagaraju and told them of the dates.

    Though the financial situation was not too good Sarasu said “we have to buy 5 sarees for the wedding”

    Chandru was too shocked and asked “What 5 sarees, that will be so costly”

    Sarasu thought for a while and slowly said “we need not buy everything in silk, we can only afford what we can”

    Sarasu thought for some more time and then added “If my mom is coming I would like to buy her a saree”

    Chandru again not liking the idea said “Does she not have sarees, do we need to buy her”

    Sarasu was more sorrowful and said “Not like that it is ages since I saw my mom and her grand daughter is getting married, this is the only occasion where I can give her a saree”

    Chandru was annoyed and quickly getting up added “Amma I am trying to figure out where to get the money, so please do not keep making plans for more expense”

    Sarasu too got up and in anger said “Every time you want to find fault with me, just like your appa”

    Chandru tried to console her saying “Amma you do not know how costly things are today, I am only telling you to be practical. Can we afford to spend lavishly?”

    Sarasu sat down and started cleaning the rice.

    Chandru started dressing for his work and said “I want to go and see if the wedding can be done in the sabha for very less amount, I am trying to arrange a cook, there is a place in the sabha for serving food. Swarna will pack everything and come to the sabha get married and leave from there to her in laws house, I do not have money to make too many trips to and fro”

    Sarasu looked a little doubtful and said “Should we not bring the mappilai to our house after the wedding to give him milk and fruits, as per our custom

    Chandru nodded his head and said it was not required

    Sarasu again said “What about Kicha, can we ask him to arrange a car and bring the bride and groom to our house for a short while”

    Chandru was now really angry and replied “Don’t we have any shame amma, you saw what he said when we spoke about the cash part, he could have paid for the entire wedding if he so desired. But he gave so little, he is holding such a high post in the bank, I will not ask him for any more help”

    The discussion went on and on till it was time to sleep. Swarna did not participate in any conversations regarding the wedding. Sometimes she thought it would be better to jump into a well rather than get married to such a mad man.

    The day of the wedding arrived. Swarna was not happy. She was not glowing as the brides do. She had gone for her wedding shopping with dislike. She selected sarees as per her Moms choice. Chandru had bought her some jewels in gold covering, so that she would look like a bride. The thali and the ear stud were the only items she had in gold. Kichas wife had brought all her used old sarees, so that Swana could take them with her to her new home.

    The bridegroom's family arrived in many cars, just half an hour before the wedding. Swarna noticed all the jewelry and the sarees each of her sister in laws were wearing. They were decked in gold. All the daughters in law were also wearing a lot of gold. All the men in the family had 2 rings on their fingers and a thick gold chain on their neck. It gave Swarna a complex seeing all the finery. She was the bride, with nothing on her in contrast to her sisters in law.

    Sarasu’s mother on the other hand was delighted and beaming. When she caught a moment alone with Swarna her mother said “see how all of them are decked, it shows their richness, you are really lucky”

    Nagaraju was all smiles, when the bride was called, Swarna did not like his smile. Tears rolled down her cheek. Nagaraju took out his handkerchief and gave it to her. All of the brothers and sisters booed him and said “See he has not even tied the knot and he cares for her so much”

    The marriage ceremony was conducted in the traditional way. Later this was followed by lunch after which the kati sadam koodai was given. Swarna bid farewell to her family with tears, at which one of her sister in laws in a loud voice said “You must be happy you are coming with us leaving your poverty behind”

    Swarna felt they were taunting her poverty, but just kept her mouth shut.

    There was no one to accompany Swarna to her marital home. She went alone. Chandru told her he would come after 3 days to see her. Sarasu wept to see her daughter leave. As Swarna left her thoughts were with the life she was leaving behind and the uncertainties of the future. She was afraid thinking what kind of lady her Mother in law will be. How would her husband treat her? Would he be violent. What a sin it is to be born a girl and that too in a poor family.

    Finally, one big responsibility of Chandrus was over. All the guests left. Kicha too was leaving the same evening. He had not brought his mother or children for the wedding. They sat discussing the expenses and seeing what balance needed to be paid etc. Sarasu then told Kicha “I feel like seeing your children and amma, why don’t you take me to Bombay, now I have no responsibility of taking care of Swarna”

    Kicha did not want to say yes or no and said “Seri Seri we will think about it, let some time pass and things settle, then I will let you know”

    Chandru knew his uncle did not want his mom to go to Bombay and said “Amma just now Swarna has left, she would still have not reached her husbands home, why are you talking about leaving me and going to Bombay “

    Sarasu “Not now da, later when things settle down, I also want to see amma. Appa is also not too well and I have not seen him, if we don’t develop relationships with children, they will not know who I am. They will not even know they have an aunt”

    Kicha then said “Appa and amma are not going to die, she is healthy, so don’t worry I will let you know when to come“
    Laks09, 1Sandhya, mbharani and 3 others like this.
  10. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear @umaakumar ,
    It looked as though I was in close proximity to entire proceedings of chap 11, 12 & 13 that has been narrated in a seamless lucid manner.

    It reminded me of several middle & lower middle class struggle to fore, as to how difficult it was during those days to gather funds to celebrate in a manner that would not offend the parties involved from bride & groom side.

    That harsh & sarcastic vitriolic comment of sister in law to the girl - bride- about leaving the poverty ridden home to join affluent members of boy’s - groom- side is realistic. It happens.

    I enjoyed every turn of event in this serial story so vividly described and narrated that all characters portrayed in picturesque manner and turned me nostalgic of those era.
    This also reminds of the struggle Supraja in the story in the link:

    Getti Melam - Supraja - An Apple Of My Eye

    God Bless Us All.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2021

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