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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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    Dear Sir,

    Thank you for your feedback.

    In my younger days i have seen marriages where the brides parents struggle hard to please the grooms side and I remember during the wedding of my elder sister, how stressed my parents were.

    But today when i see the youngsters attitude to marriage, I wonder why people were not so strong those days. Why did education take a back seat while bringing up a girl.

    I am glad things are changing (but not changed). When my daughter got married her In laws kept insisting i should get her a apartment, which i refused. Both of her in laws were educationists, imagine how narrow the mind is.

    Thanks & regards
    Mistt and Thyagarajan like this.
  2. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    Life with Nagaraj – Chapter 13

    When Swarna arrived at her new home the arathi was taken. She stepped inside. She was amazed to see the size of the house. About a hundred people could be served food in the hall of the house. There were 2 kitchens, one in which coffee was made and the other where cooking was done. Chandru had not exaggerated when he said it was like a palace. She saw the luxuries like the sofa and cot with soft mattresses, the swing in the living room adding beauty to the place and the tulasi maadam in the centre of the house where there was an open space.

    People not invited to the wedding were coming to see her. This was more out of curiosity to see who could have married such a man. Little did they know that she was a victim to their richness and not married out of love.

    All her sister in laws and brother in laws and their families grouped in places around the house and kept talking and joking. No one ever thought of including Swarna in the conversation or asked her to come and sit with them. Swarna kept sitting in one place feeling totally out of place. She was also very sad thinking about her home and her Mom. Nagaraj sat with her for some time and lay down and slept. Her mother in law lay on a mat and slept. Swarna too was extremely tired and exhausted. But how could she express her desire to lie down in these new surroundings. She kept yawning.

    Swarna wanted to use the toilet urgently, but how to ask? She kept looking here and there from her seat to see if she could spot something like a toilet anywhere. But she could not locate anything. Finally she called one child and asked ”Can you tell me where the toilet is” This child immediately shouted “Kalyana ponnu wants to use the toilet” Then one of her sister in law took her to use the toilet. The toilet was located in the end of the back yard. This was a long lane and end connected to the next street and had a back gate. There were small houses on either side of the back yard and these were given on rent. All the people came and stood at their doorstep to see Swarna. Swarna thought to herself “Oh, they get rent too” She was mentally calculating the amount of rent they would get till they reached the toilet.

    The toilet was a dry latrine, very common in those times. Every morning one guy would enter through the back gate and clean this toilet by removing all the dirt and dumping it into a bucket. He would wash this toilet with bleaching powder. This man would not be allowed to enter anywhere else in the house. When people saw him on the road, they would quickly move to the side to let him pass. It is hard to believe today that we had people doing such kinds of jobs to make a living. This was later abolished by the Government in 1993.

    One of the sister in law, saw Swarna sitting uncomfortably and told her “See this is your house, so go and change from this bridal dress, wear something light” Swarna quickly went inside and opened her bag and sat and cried for a while. She changed into another saree and went to the backyard to wash her face. She felt much better after splashing lots of water on her face.

    Once inside all of them were sitting and discussing how the wedding was conducted and what a poor family they were.

    Many further things discussed hurt Swarna very much; they spoke like she was not present.

    As the evening came, Swarna was asked to light the lamp, which she did dutifully. Then her mother in law said “Chuma don’t keep sit, plan what we should have for dinner, see how much food is there in the kattu chandam kodai”

    Swarna was shocked that she was ordered around and that too, a few hours after she had come. She silently went into the kitchen and opened the packages. One of the packages had lemon rice which was spoiled. It had a strong smell of rotting. One of her sister in law came near her and asked “What everything is spoilt is it, I thought so, and your people would not have used good rice to cook this”

    Swarna was hurt but did not want to stay silent and said “The cook who did the cooking for the wedding, the same person cooked this item, the weather is so hot that it would have spoiled”

    Sister in law in an angry tone “I too know it is hot, I have been cooking for so many years, so don’t lecture me”

    Swarna kept quiet. She then opened the curd rice packet and put it into a vessel. She was about to add water and dilute it as it had thickened when her Mother in law came and said “Don’t add water, add some milk. We only add milk.” The other sister in law standing close by said “don’t bring your house ideas into this house” Swarna laid the leaves and the food about to be served. Swarna first served water into the tumblers. Then one of the brother in laws said to Swarna “You go and sit let my sister serve the food” Swarna replied “It is ok, I will help out “

    The minute Swarna started serving; this brother in law got up and went away. Immediately one of her sister in law came and told Swarna, “Go and sit, he told you in a polished way that he did not want you to serve, you did not understand” Then addressing her brother “Dey Nirmal, come eat I will serve you”

    Swarna was offended, her heart was heavy and any minute she would burst into tears. She sat still controlling her tears. Once everyone had eaten, she removed the leaves, cleaned the place and ate by serving herself.

    Her mother in law then told her, “Keep all the old food outside the kitchen, we will throw it out tomorrow, wash the kitchen and then you can go to sleep”

    Swarna did as instructed. She was overcome by all the talk and ill feelings that everyone had towards her. She finished her work and came out of the kitchen. Her mother in law said “Nagaraju is in that bedroom you can go”

    “OH that is it” She thought, no milk in a glass, no fruits and no flower decoration as she had dreamt. She walked fast and entered the room where Nagaraju was fast asleep. She closed the door and sat for a while and wept at her fate. She too lay down and all the fatigue made her go to sleep very fast.

    To be continued.....
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2021
  3. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    At times, I felt am reading novel of Dr Lakshmi In Weekly magazine Ananda. Vikadan. (\\\"லக்ஷ்மி\\\' வாழ்க்கையிலும் எழுத்திலும் மருத்துவரே!- Dinamani)

    A dull phase in life for Swarna. A few hours before reaching her new home, she was somewhat in limelight. Now through her, we were reminded by you of our national mission called
    Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, or Clean India Mission.

    While doing engineering in 1964-67 , to save hostel fees our residence shifted close to the college from city. In that house we had, only the dry toilet as described in the story - at the far end and top open. It was a night-mare to use this toilet especially in night having a queasy stomach. One Has to pass through eerie dark space with wild growth and plants carrying bucket of water.... very nasty to use.

    Looking forward to DIL VS MIL, FIL, SIL,BIL VERBAL pyrotechnics BATTLES & tortures.
    Thanks and Regards.

    umaakumar likes this.
  4. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Sir,

    Thank you for your feedback. Today many of our youngsters have never heard about the dry toilets. I have seen it just once, when i visited my ancestral home for my grandmothers demise. My sisters and me refused to use them, and it was s difficult time for my parents. What more there were lots of pigs around and you had to chase them out before you went in. How disgusting.

    While writing this story i wanted to include this part about the toilet so that youngsters will know that such thing existed and it was a fellow human who did the cleaning without gloves and other sanitary things.

    Thanks & Regards
    Thyagarajan likes this.
  5. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    Swarna finds love – chapter 14

    As was her habit Swarna got up very early. She went out of the back door and reached the toilet before anyone else got up. She had her bath and washed all her clothes and dried it. She was surprised that no one had got up yet. As she was walking in, her Mother in law got up and said “you need not get up so early every day. The milk man will be coming soon. Here take this vessel and keep it out, while you are waiting for him wash the courtyard and draw the kolam”

    When the milk man arrived and she bought the milk and came in her mother in law was in the kitchen and asked her to make coffee for everyone.

    After tasting the coffee her Mother in law looked at her and said “You need to learn lots.”

    Swarna next sorted out the vegetables and started cooking. All the members of her husband’s family did not do anything to help. Everyone walked in and out of the kitchen. Swarna was used to cooking for only 2 to maximum 3 people and she did not know the correct measures. She was too scared to ask because everyone was not treating her right. They thought just because she was married and had come as a daughter in law, she had to know everything.

    Swarna made Pongal, chutney and sambhar and told her mother in law the food was ready. As usual when it was time to eat, she was asked to wait in the kitchen and the serving was done by one of the sister in laws. When Nagaraju was eating, he said the Pongal was good and immediately it brought out a comment like “Yes wife’s cooking will be good. It is not even a day yet and how he has changed”

    She was too tired of all the work and cooking for so many people.

    Three days were hectic like this until one by one everyone left. After they left the house became very silent and work became so much easier. Her mother in law would give her constant advice on how to cook and what quantity. She would also help in cutting vegetables and did all the small work.

    The first Friday after everyone had left; her mother in law gave her a heavy gold chain to wear. She said her daughters did not know about this and she had bought it for the person who would marry Nagaraju. Swarna was thrilled. She had never worn a chain that heavy.

    Her Mother in law then told her “No need to wear that yellow string, you can now wear the thali on this chain”

    Swarna was surprised and asked “Is it not compulsory that married women need to wear the yellow string??”

    Her Mother in law said “No not necessary, what is important is that the thali should be around your neck, being on a chain or on a yellow string is personal choice”

    Swarna was surprised that a lady who was older than her mother had such a modern view of everything. When Swarna’s face showed her feelings her Mother in law said “See we have to change with times, Brahmins are not respected anywhere now, most of the government jobs are going to other caste people, which has made youngsters from our community to move to other parts of India and abroad looking for good jobs. Our girls have also to move there with their husbands, if we insist on all traditions to be followed, then we will be foolish. You have to change with time and circumstances. Girls now a day are wearing only a 6 yards saree, unlike me who had worn the 9 yards from the time I got married. We need to make adaptable changes to our lifestyle”

    Swarna was surprised that there was so much freedom to choose in this house. Her mother and grandmother always wore the yellow string.

    It was now more than 8 days since she was married. She was feeling happy and more relaxed. She liked her Mother in law who was not a dictator. She would just mind her business.

    More surprising for Swarna was that her Mother in law though had attended only primary school would go to the bank on her own. Go to the fields during harvest time and supervise things there single handedly; take care of issues relating to the tenants. Was a money lender on a small scale. When it came to accounts, she would do all calculations mentally. She would go to the post office to make trunk calls to her sons or daughters when required or she felt like talking to them. This old lady had progressed so much from the olden ways.

    Nagaraju made his first move towards her on the Sunday morning. He came into the kitchen when she was cooking and suddenly hugged her from the back and kissed her. She was instantly alarmed at his behavior. He lovingly said “Swarna you look really beautiful, I love you so much, but I was waiting for you to settle down before I showed my love”

    Swarna did not know what to say and started blushing.

    Then Nagaraju went to his mother and said “Amma I want some money, I want to take Swarna for a movie today “

    He then came to her and said “Get ready after lunch we will go for a movie, it is a new release”

    Swarna was delighted to get out of the house. Immediately after lunch she got dressed in a new saree and went to her Mother in law and said “I will go for a movie and come back”

    Her Mother in law gave her some money and said “Buy some flowers for your head, Nagaraju might not know”

    But Swarna was surprised when Nagaraju took out a string of jasmine from his cycle box and gave it to her when they stepped outside. Off they went for the movie. During the interval Nagaraju bought her some goli soda.

    After the movie instead of going home directly he took her to a lake and both them walked hand in hand. Swarna was embarrassed as so many people were known to Nagaraju and they smiled and asked him “What new wife!!!! Hmmm”

    After a long walk both of them went home. As they stepped inside her Mother in law asked her “Why are you both so late, the movie would have got over long time back, you should have been home at least one hour back”

    Swarna looked at Nagaraju who just went inside to change and she said “Amma he said we would go to the lake so we went”

    Her mother in law with a very concerned look said “OK, but next time don’t go wandering after dark, it is not safe”

    Swarna quickly changed her clothes and started getting dinner ready.

    That night Nagaraju was highly love strung. Swarna never thought he would be that kind of a person. For all his looks he was a romantic. He kept saying he loved her very much.

    On most evenings after he came back from work he would take her for a walk around the town showing her around. He bought small gifts for her. Slowly Swarna started liking him. So what if he looked like a mad person, he was a nice person at heart. It looked like there was a lot of goodness stuck with the ugliness outside.
  6. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear @UMAKUMAR
    I enjoyed lucid narration and the surprise development. The protagonist here is the Swarna - her MIL & husband Nagaraju treats her sweet.

    A nostalgic passage for readers I suppose. I wonder and try to recall .....

    A Kamal movie comes to mind .
    Looking forward to more of vaity clean...
  7. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    Good Mother in law – Chapter 15

    Her Mother in law was a good person, but ruled the house. All his salary Nagaraju would give to his mother. She would take every paisa. She would give him money to buy vegetables required every day and from that he would save some to buy small things like candies and flowers for Swarna. Whenever he wanted to take Swana for a movie, he had to ask his Mothers permission and most times his mother would not approve and there would be a showdown.

    Swarna hated these events and hoped her Mother in law would be more liberal and let her and Nagaraju have their way. She always wondered why Nagaraju had to give his salary to her. On many occasion she brought her feelings on this subject, but Nagaraju said “Think it is your mother, would you behave like this if it is was her, learn to adjust and live”

    This put a stop to Swarnas lamenting. She understood that there was no use talking to him on this subject again.

    It was over 4 months and one fine Sunday morning, Chandru and her Mom came to see her. Swarna was too happy to see them and was almost doing cartwheels. She wanted to show she was very happy.

    Swarna’s mom saw her happiness; she saw the glow on Swarna and understood that she had overcome her initial dislike for her husband. Her Mother in law was very hospitable and told Swarna to cook a feast for them. Swarnas mother came into the kitchen to help her and gather all the news about her in-laws. Her mother asked her “OH I can see that you like your husband very much now”

    Swarna started blushing and said “Yes he is not like what I thought”

    This made Sarasu happy and she said, ”See I told you every dark cloud has a silver lining”

    Swarna replied very happily “Yes very true, he is nice and so also my mother in law”

    This did not end Sarasu’s curiosity and asked “What about his immediate relatives”

    Swarna said “Amma I was with them only for a few days, they did not seem too good; they treated me like a servant in their house, that Nirmal did not want to eat if I served him”

    Sarasu consoled her daughter “OK forget all that, what is important is your husband and mother in law, after all the others will come once in a while to visit. What is this chain you are wearing?”

    Swarna very proudly displayed it to her mom and said “Oh this is what my mother in law gave me. I have worn my thali on it, see how heavy it is”

    Sarasu was happier for her daughter “See you are glowing like that chain, which mother in law will do all this for her daughter in law, you are truly lucky”

    Swarna was beaming and went about her cooking gathering all the news about her friends and neighbours. Sarasu told her there was one letter from Visu enquiring about how the wedding went and that he was fine. Chandru was doing well in the shop and he had received an increment. But that increment was going towards paying off the loan they took for her wedding. So much information was shared between mother and daughter that they did not realize that a whole day had passed. It was time to bid good bye. Sarasu while leaving invited her with her husband to their house for a couple of days stay.

    She told her Mother in law “You also come with them” Her Mother in law said “I will not be able to lock this house and come, I will send them next Saturday evening, but let them return before Sunday night”

    Swarna gave her Mom a sad look, her mom said “It is OK, listen to her”

    Her Mom called her aside and said “Don’t feel so sad, after all your home is this now, when I wanted to go to my mom’s place your dad never allowed me. Even for the 2nd and 3rd delivery I was not allowed to go”

    Swarna bid good bye to her brother and mother. She was very happy they had come to see her and she was waiting for the date to go and see them. After seeing them her longing to go there became stronger.

    As Swarna was getting used to the new home, she learnt a lot of things. All the food had to be cooked in the correct quantity. Like any other staunch Hindu lady her Mother in law most of the times would keep chanting Gods name with the beads in her hand. If she found anything that was cooked unhygienic, she would not eat for the rest of the day. The cooking method was also different from her house. There were a lot of new things that Swarna learnt.

    When she got her periods, there was a small room in the backyard where she was confined. She could not move out of that place for 4 days. She was not allowed to draw water from the well. Someone else did it for her.

    Though this tradition was followed even in her mothers and grandmother's house, they did not have a separate room to sit. They would sit in one corner of the house, being fed by other members. Here too they were not allowed to draw water from the well. Swarna found the room too scary as it was filled with mice which kept running here and there. While she was sleeping it would run all over her. She would sit outside this room most of the time because she was scared.

    At one of these times her Mother in law saw how scared she was and she scolded her “Why did you not open your mouth and tell me. From now on you can sit in one corner in the hall like you used to do in your house. You can sit on the veranda too. And one more thing is you should tell me if you have a problem otherwise how I would know.”

    She came to know that for 2 generations of women in this family had sat in that room during the time of their periods.

    Swarna was relieved.

    One Saturday morning, her mother in law called Nagaraju and told him “Today is half day for you, you take Swarna to her house and come back by tomorrow evening”

    Swarna was so happy and waited for Nagaraju to come home. She had already packed all the required items. So off she went to her mother’s house. It was exciting till she reached there and had a cup of coffee. Though she wanted to discuss lots of things with her Mother and brother, nothing came to her mind when she saw them. She felt totally uncomfortable though it was this house that she had lived in before. She could not sleep on the floor after having slept on the mattress. She kept tossing and turning. She could also not sleep without a fan.

    The next day as Sarasu was cooking she kept lamenting about how lonely she was. She said “I wish I could see Visu. I am longing for him; there is no one in the house after Chandru leaves for work. So whole day I am sitting and feeling bored”

    Swarna quickly asked her mother “Now that I am married why you don’t ask Chandru to get married”

    Chandru on overhearing this “There is no hurry for this. I know when to get married”
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  8. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    Swarna becomes a mother and chandru finds a bride – chapter 16

    Five years went by in this way and Swarna made lots of friends in the neighbourhood and a lot of relatives visited them. She now knew everyone and with her mother in laws permission visited them often. Life for her was hell only when she had visits from her brother / sister in laws and their family. She hated them as they treated her like a servant.

    One morning Swarna was very sick and could not get up. Her mother in law helped her out and did all the work giving her complete rest. Once Nagaraju left for work she slowly asked her “From all your symptoms it looks like you are pregnant, don’t worry take rest and after a month we will go to the doctor”

    Swarna realized what her Mother in law said was true. She should be over 2 months now. She was elated that she was going to be a mother. She wrote to her mother.

    Sarasu came after a few days and showed her happiness by bringing some eats that Swarna liked and as they were all chatting her mother in law said “If you want to take Swarna to your house you can do so now, before her pregnancy advances. Bring her back in about a week or so. I want my grandson to be born here and not in your house”

    Sarasu was taken aback by this “For first delivery the girl goes to her mother’s house, it is always the custom, and we would also like to have her with us during this time”

    Swarnas mother in law “I too know the custom, but Swarna will not be comfortable in your house anymore. She is used to staying here and I will take care of her like a mother”

    Sarasu said “I know you will take good care of her but when I am there why someone else should take care of her, will a mother in law equal a mother”

    Swarna saw what her Mother in law said was true. She told her mother “Amma I am not coming there; the doctor here is good and I will have my child here”

    Sarasu was upset and said “What doctor, don’t we have good hospitals near our home”

    Swarna’s Mother in law in reply said “I am not saying there are no good doctors there, but we have been regularly taking her to a doctor here and we would like her to have the baby here.”

    Swarna said “Amma I will stay here, you need not worry about anything”

    Then her mother in law said “See my daughter in law understands me perfectly. I will have the baby shower in the 7h month; you can all come for the celebration”

    Sarasu was very sad, but Chandru consoled her on the way home.

    Swarna delivered a baby boy at the nearby hospital. In all the 9 months her Mother in law took very good care of her.

    Her Mother in law was very happy and would take extreme care of the child, only giving him to Swarna for feeding. Swarna too blossomed as a wonderful mother. She loved her son and she doted on him.

    Pregnancy and Motherhood are life changing events for any. It says motherhood makes one unselfish. She was no longer the center of everything, it was now her son.

    Swarna’s mother came for the naming ceremony along with Chandru. They named him Krishna. A lot of women from the neighborhood were invited. It was a grand affair. Sarasu was so happy to see her grandson. The talk of everyone was “Whom does the baby look like” Some said like the mother and some said the father. Sarasu said “He looks exactly like my husband”

    Now Sarasu asked Swarnas Mother in law “Now that the baby is born, please send Swarna with her child to our house for a few days”

    Swarnas mother in law said “The child is too small now, let him grow up and get stronger I will send him.”

    Sarasu was disappointed and said “This is my first grandson and I want to play with him and see him grow”

    Swarnas mother in law did not give up, she did not want the child to go and said “You come whenever you want, you can even spend a few days here with us, there is no formality and I too would love to have you here”

    But as per tradition, the girls parents were not to come and stay in her in laws house, so Sarasu in a very sad tone said “Ok I will come when time permits”

    As Krishna was growing up she did visit, but not so frequently. The letters kept going to and fro about his pranks and growth.

    As Swarna’s life was progressing the other side Sarasu was forcing Chandru to get married as he was about 33 years of age.

    When she kept pestering Chandru he said “My rules for getting married are very simple, I will not demand anything from my in-laws. They must be ready for a registered marriage. I will not invite anyone. Only you and my boss will attend the wedding. The girl's family should agree and only their parents need to be present. If you find a girl for me like this I am ready to get married”

    Sarasu said “Dey let me start giving your horoscope to someone”

    Chandru was against this and said “What horoscope, if our heart and mind like each other that girl will be mine, no need for matching horoscope”

    Sarasu who was still very rigid in her traditional views said “It is not good to get married like that, horoscope matching is required”

    Chandru immediately asked her “Did they not match yours and Appas horoscope??”

    Sarasu said “Yes they did’

    Chandru looked at her and asked “Then tell me Amma, Did anyone say he will die so young”

    Sarasu thought for a while, she knew what he was getting at “No they said I would be happy with him and all the phases were matching perfectly. But there is something called fate!!”

    Chandru then said “see, if matching horoscope and fate are 2 different things, then I will go with fate”

    Sarasu in a very dejected tone said”Ok but I wonder where you will find someone with your similar ideas”

    Chandru said “if there is that one women who is born for me, then we will find her”

    After a few months they did find that girl.

    Chandru did not take his mother to see her, he went alone. He refused to have coffee in their house. He told her father how he would like the wedding to be conducted and they agreed. Her name was Usha. She was also from a similar financial background as Chandru. Her Mother had lost her fight to cancer and all of their money was lost in treating her.

    Chandru came home that evening and told Sarasu “I went and saw that girl today. I liked her and you can fix the date of the wedding”

    Sarasu was not expecting it to happen this way and said “Dey why did you not take me, I would also like to have an opinion on whom you are getting married to”

    Chandru “am I getting married or you?”

    Sarasu then asked “Seri did you ask her for a photo at least”

    Chandru walked to the tap to wash his face and said “No, why publicity with a photo, I like her and you can see her after we fix the date.”

    Sarasu walked to the kitchen to bring his plate and serve dinner and “Ok if you have done everything, then why should I break my head, that is all you have for my feelings, fix the date, you can do it yourself”

    Chandru sat down to eat and said “OK as you wish, I will ask the girls father to fix the date”

    Sarasu wrote a detailed letter to Swarna about this. She told Swarna she would come with the invitation to invite her, and she has to come a few days in advance.

    Chandru told her about the wedding date and Sarasu got busy cleaning up the house for the new bride. As the days neared one morning she asked Chandru “We have some poojas to do before the wedding, I cannot do these as I am a widow, I will ask Swarna to come with her husband to do all these. Also we need to intimate your appas side of the family”

    Chandru “What pooja and what intimation, I told you no one will be invited and that stands final. What is this about you being a widow. You are my mother first, so your blessings are enough for me”

    So Sarasu was afraid if she went against him he might not get married so she fell in line and went as per his wishes.

    Chandru took Sarasu to see Usha the coming week and the date was finalized.

    Chandru told his father in law to go to the register office and find out the formalities required. Usha’s father said “We will go in the morning to the register office and get you married as per your choice, but we should also visit the nearby temple and get the blessing of our Deity. Hope you will agree to that”

    Chandru said OK and the wedding went as planned.

    The only guests at the wedding were Sarasu and Chandru’s boss and Usha's elder brother, his wife and father.

    They visited the temple after which they had lunch in Usha's house and took Usha to their house. Chandru’s boss was very happy that he had an employee with such a good heart.

    Usha came home, and the neighbours took the arathi. And of course, whether you inform or not, people's curiosity gets the better of them and one by one they visited Sarasu to see the new bride and get all the gossip.

    To be continued…..
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  9. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    I liked further developments that illustrates how the thinking turns progressive with passage of time.
    Certain passages are delectable.
    Looking forward to progress of Usha -Chandru-Sarasu axis.
    I felt I was watching some ole Bengali movie.
    OP is a veteran story-teller.
    umaakumar and Rihana like this.
  10. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    USHA – Chapter 17

    Sarasu was happy that she had company at home. For the first 10 days or so she was fine and doing all her usual work and generally being nice to Usha. She told Usha she had lots of time to learn things and not to hurry up.

    Chandru as was his habit would reach home only by 10.PM, then by the time he had his dinner and slept it would be beyond 11.30 PM. Usha after sometime told Sarasu “Amma you go and sleep, if Chandru comes I will serve him dinner and take care”

    But Sarasu did not like this and wanted to be on top of things and said “Why you want to show that you are his wife is it, I am fully capable of staying awake and feeding him, who do you think has been doing this till now”

    Usha did not want to give in and said “I am not saying you did not do it, but now that I am there I thought I will ask you to rest “

    Sarasu was very angry by now and got up in a huff “Give me rest permanently and you can take care of my son”

    Usha was also irritated by now and said “Why are you talking like this and what did I say, OK no problem you can take care of your son”

    So saying Usha went and lay down to sleep.

    Sarasu did not know why she felt so offended by this small talk, but she wanted to dominate the house and she felt Usha was taking away her space and her son away from her.

    After Chandru came he asked “Where is Usha?”

    Sarasu in a very critical way asked ‘Why can’t you see me, sitting her like a stone”

    Chandru “I can see you and cannot see Usha that is why I asked”

    Sarasu in a very sorrowful voice said “she is trying to be very controlling, I scolded her and that is all she went and slept, I asked her who will feed Chandru and she said what are you there for, you do it”

    Chandru “She was probably upset, I don’t know what you said”

    Saying this Chandru ate what was served and sat for a while with his Mom and went to sleep. He never bothered to ask Usha what the problem was and Usha too never said anything.

    This was just the beginning of fault finding by Sarasu. She one day commented “Usha you know in our family, women get up as early as 4 AM and wash the courtyard, unlike you, who gets up at 6.30 AM”

    Usha “Is that so, but I cannot change my habit, I will only wash the courtyard when I get up”

    Sarasu again very angrily said “What is this you are speaking disrespectfully to me”

    Usha replied “I never said anything disrespectful; I said I cannot get up at 4 AM, anyway you are getting up early and doing it so why should I bother”

    Sarasu raising her voice some more “Oh so you want me to do all the work, then what are you there for “

    Usha was also fuming by now, but she did not want to equal her mother in law and said “Amma why are you starting all this nonsense early in the morning. Let me light the lamp and pray first”

    Usha went lit the lamp and started praying, when chandru got up and came, Usha offered him coffee. Sarasu started complaining to him about Usha. Usha never interfered or said anything, she just went about her work. Chandru told her “Amma what is the need to wash the courtyard and draw the kolam so early, let her do what she wants, you are now old, so sit and relax. Let Usha take care of everything”

    They say a women’s battle is won with tears, Sarsu’s eyes filled with tears and she said “are you trying to tell me I am old”

    Chandru “No I am telling you to let Usha be herself”

    Chandru got dressed and went to work.

    Sarasu kept grumbling all day long saying Usha had got a grip on her son and nothing can change him now.

    Not only was Sarasu feeling she had lost her son to Usha. But often as she sat she compared Vaithy, her husband to Chandrus.

    Chandru would every day bring jasmine for Usha which she would wrap in a wet cloth and put it on her hair the next day. Whenever possible he would buy her sweets that she loved. He would love to eat what she cooked and always say the food was very nice. He would give money to Usha to buy the household articles. Usha would go to the market everyday and buy what she needed to cook, which gave her time away from Sarasu’s bickering and also to meet some of her friends. Chandru had never complained when she wanted to go to see her father and also gave her some money (however little) to buy something for them.

    On top of all this on their first wedding anniversary he bought her a gold chain, and she in turn had saved up some money from what he gave her and bought him a watch. Sarasu was red with anger when they fell on her feet for her blessings before going for a movie to celebrate their day.

    She kept wondering how Vaithy had fathered such a son, who was so hen pecked.

    Usha was very balanced. She understood Sarasu perfectly well. Whenever Sarasu made a hue and cry for small things she would think “Let her complain to Chandru, I will take care of her then” but Usha, like reading her mind would never say a word to Chandru. He on the other hand balanced himself between wife and mother very well. Though Sarasu was unhappy there was no major conflict and fights in the house.

    Usha did not want to take command of the house. She helped when necessary, and did not interfere in Sarasu’s routine. She supported Sarasu in every way she could and also was very loving towards her.

    Usha was extremely smart and would know how to save money in every single way. They saved money and moved into a slightly larger house, and bought a television for the house. Television had just come in and Sarasu was awestruck by it. She wondered how live characters could be on the screen from somewhere across the globe. Now they watched movies and other things every evening.

    One evening Usha’s brother came home and said “Appa is not well, he is in hospital”

    Usha told him “I will come tomorrow morning, Chandru is not at home, and we will try to come together”

    Chandru told Usha to go to the hospital and tell him if any help was required. This further enraged Sarasu. After Usha left she asked him “What do you mean by help, are you going to give her money”

    Chandru “If required I will, where will her brother go for all the expenses. Usha is also the daughter so she too has a share in their welfare”

    Sarasu “Po da, nowhere is a son in law responsible for the father in law. Once they have given their daughter to us that is it, and where will they get a son in law like you, who wanted a beggars wedding.”

    Chandru was angry and said “Amma enough, don’t start, first be human”

    With that he left for work. Sarasu mumbled and fumbled the whole day.

    Usha returned after 10 days saying her father was discharged. Immediately on her arrival Sarasu started “You know a woman's place is her husband's house, why did you stay for so long”

    Usha said “there was no one to take care of my father at the hospital and my manni has her son, to take care of, so we shared the work and I was at the hospital most of the time, while she cooked and brought food to the hospital”

    Sarasu “Oh Oh, what was your brother doing”

    Usha said “Amma you know he has to work, otherwise he will lose his salary, so we told him not to take leave”

    Sarasu said “Yes, yes, where will you go for the money, he is the only human on earth who expects his sister to come and take care of the father, it is never heard of in any household. Everywhere the wife is by her husband’s family only, you never thought of your husband for one minute while you were there, and this old lady had to do all the work”

    Usha said in a soft way “ Amma that is old fashioned, when there is an emergency the daughter too has her responsibilities”

    Meanwhile the TV program started and Sarasu was so engrossed in watching it that she forgot the argument completely.

    So time passed by for Usha, Chandru and Sarasu.

    Others in the family – chapter 17

    Visu (sarasu’s second son) in the meantime had progressed in his job very well and studied further. He was going abroad on and off. He had married Gujarati woman who was a government employee. She was the first woman in the family who was out of caste and who was working. This they came to know through letters, though it came rarely.

    Sarasu was not happy at all and who ever asked her about Visu she said “He is married to a north Indian, he never asked us, I wonder how he is eating the chapathis she makes all day”

    Kicha (Sarasu’s brother) on the other hand had grown in his job. Sarasu’s mother had fallen sick and was bed ridded and his wife was taking care of her. His eldest son had completed engineering and was going to do his MS in the USA. The second son was studying to be a chartered accountant. Kicha had bought a house in Chennai and was planning to move there after his retirement.

    To be continued………
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