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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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    The Visit --- Chapter 32

    When Krishna came home that evening he asked “Amma did Visu call you”

    Swarna said “What is this calling someone without respect, say Visu maama”

    Krishna said “I don’t need to respect someone I don't even know, tell me what he said”

    Swarna updated him and said he was expected to come the day after. She was very happy to be seeing him after so many years.

    Krishna said “I don’t understand how you can feel like this towards him after he abandoned the family for so many years. He is a stranger”

    Swarna said “How can one forget one's brother, we were family and I still remember him as a boy coming back from the hostel and how much we used to laugh. Those were such wonderful times, we had no care in the world”

    Krishna was annoyed and asked her “Amma don’t you feel bad that they all let us down, if they had helped do you think we would have suffered so much, they are all coming back to us and talking to us because we have money, at those times when I was growing up, they were scared we would ask for help if they came to see us”

    Swarna said “Dey, we should let bygones be bygones, if we think they are bad they will be bad. It was their circumstances that made them like that, so we should not take grievances forward, we should forgive and forget”

    Krishna got a call and walked out to talk to them. But he was in a very bad mood. That night he could not sleep and kept watching TV. He told Suchitra about Visu’s visit and how he did not want to do anything with his uncle. He said he is extremely bitter about the past and no matter how many years go by he would never forgive anyone or forget them either. He told her of Swarnas reaction and said he was very angry about her views.

    Suchitra convinced him saying “You know in my house my Dad insisted that my mother should have no connection with her family. Her in Laws harassed her and insulted her parents so much that they stopped visiting. Her brothers, for most part though they knew it was harassment, never intervened and came forward to see her. Later on after everyone grew older, my mother started speaking to them secretly on phone calls. My mother has very great love for her brothers. If at all she hears they are coming, she would tell so many lies to go and see them, people of the older generation are like that, and since Amma is here and has nowhere to go, we should not object to her brother visiting her. We will be in office anyway”

    Krishna felt better after hearing Suchitra’s views and on the day of Visu’s arrival, Suchitra told the cook to prepare a variety of dishes. Krishna and she left as usual to their respective offices. Krishna told his mother “Amma if Visu calls, I will arrange for pickup, call me if you need anything.”

    Visu arrived at Swarna’s house and Swarna was so happy, tears rolled down her cheeks. Visu had bought a dozen bananas for her. She called Krishna who told Visu that he was held up in some work and could not come home. He told Visu to stay, have lunch and spend as much time as he wanted with his sister. If he is planning to stay overnight then they would meet in the evening. Visu said he would have lunch and leave as he had taken a taxi from Chennai and had to return.

    On coming back in the evening Krishna asked his mother “Amma how was the meeting with Visu, what did he say and what did he bring for you”

    Swarna was beaming with happiness and said “Oh, he told me about his wife and children, he showed me their photos on his notebook. How nice to see his children. They are all grown up. He told me about his work and how he settled in America. He went to America when his children were toddlers and the kids have visited India only a couple of times and she went on and on…..”

    Krishna “Amma ok what did he bring for you”

    Swarna proudly pointed at the bananas on the table. Krishna and Suchitra burst out laughing. Swarna never understood why they laughed.


    To be continued...........
     
  2. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    A matured level headed Suchitra portrayed well.

    Real affection for siblings did not expect any material thing. Lord Krishna says instead ostentation offerings of mere tulsi or few drops of water would satisfy me.
     
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  3. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    Empty nest ….. Chapter 33

    Swarna had aged and had reached 75 years. Thankfully she had no health issues. As was her habit she had her dinner at 7 PM, went to sleep after watching the serials on television and did not wake up.

    Maya and Mohini rushed for the funeral. They had a large number of visitors and condolence messages.

    Once Swarna was gone, the house became more silent. Krishna and Suchitra till now, were busy with their respective work. They had lots of investments and they did not have to worry about finances. They had deputed most of their work to their successors and spent less time on day to day activities of their business. This gave them a lot of time to be with each other. They had a lot of bonding which they had missed during their younger days. They went for walks in the morning and spoke about things that they had never discussed earlier. In the evening they would sit together in the pooja room and recite the Mrityunjaya 108 times. Suchitra started making dinner again. It was like reinventing the wheel for her as she had stopped cooking many years back.

    Both of them missed their children. They had always wanted their children to take over their business and develop it, but realized it was not to be.

    They visited their children once a year for about 2 months and the children visited them for about 2 weeks in a year.

    The thoughts on both their minds were about Maya’s wedding. But every time they brought it up Maya would leave in a huff. She was almost 28 years old. When they visited her during their scheduled visit, they came to know she had decided to get married. They met him and he seemed to be a nice person. He was in a good job, he was in another state and there was a travel of 8 hours between their places.

    Krishna asked her “Enna, you did not find anyone close by”

    Maya said “Appa I cannot look at state and everything when I fall in love, I liked him, dated him for a couple of years and we are getting married”

    Krishna asked “That is all OK, where will you both live”

    Maya laughed and said “Appa he will live in his place and me in mine, we will meet whenever convenient for us”

    Suchitra asked “What rubbish arrangement is this, why do you have to get married to someone like this”

    Krishna also joined “yes, what is the use of getting married, is he a crorepati, he is after all working, he can look for a job here or you can go there and set up your dance institute.”

    Maya was now getting angry and said “Appa and amma enough of this, we will figure out something later. Let us get married first.”

    Suchitra and Krishna conducted the wedding and blessed the young couple.

    Since both of them went on a honeymoon, they left for Mohini's house. Mohini lived in another state. A few days after reaching there they realized that Mohini had an American boyfriend.

    He came and met them during the first weekend. Krishna innocently asked this boy “So when are you two getting married”. This guy was taken aback and said “We have just met you see”

    Suchitra kicked Krishna under the table and Krishna just shut up.

    After he left Mohini asked her father “Appa don’t you know what to talk, I have just met him”.

    Krishna said “I thought I am going to have an American son in law, and you going out with him implied wedding subsequently”

    Mohini said “Appa you are old fashioned, and who said I am going to get married, I don’t believe in marriage”

    Suchitra said “Then what do you want to do”

    Mohini laughed out loud and said “Amma marriage is not everything, it does not mean anything to me. I have my 4 dogs for company, a good job and a social circle, why do I need to get married”

    These ideas of their children did not coincide with Krishna or Suchitra's ideas. There were frequent arguments between parents and children because of this.

    So many times they just did not give their opinions and listened to everything that their children said. They kept their thoughts to themselves.

    A few more years later when Suchitra and Krishna called Mohini and said they would be coming, Mohini said “Come, if things work out well, I will have a surprise for you”

    Krishna asked “What surprise”

    Mohini said “If I tell you it will not be a surprise, come here and you will know”

    Krishna and Suchitra kept thinking what could be the surprise. Their only thought was that Mohini had found someone and wanted to introduce this person to them. They called Maya to find out and Maya just asked “Amma how do you expect me to know”

    To be continued...........
     
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  4. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    The surprise – chapter 34 (concluding chapter)

    When they arrived, they saw Mohini waiting for them and she had a stroller. Suchitra at first could not see clearly and Krishna wore his glasses. Suchitra and Krishna were very shocked and thought to each other “Oh God, a baby, is she married and hidden it from us” Mohini reached out to them and hugged them and said “See this is my surprise” Krishan peeped into the pram and saw an African child fast asleep, he looked questioningly at her and she hugged Krishna and said “Don’t look so shocked, we will go home and talk, you both must be very tired”

    When they reached home they came to know Mohini had adopted this child. He was HIV positive. His parents were dead due to AIDS. She wanted to give a good life to this child. Suchitra and Krishna were not too happy; they asked her “Why adopt such a child?” Mohini said “I wanted to make a difference in someone's life and I love this little one.”

    Krishna asked her “What if you get married and the guy does not accept this child”

    Mohini said “Appa once again you are talking about marriage, I don’t believe in it and will not get married, and my Son is my life now”

    Though they realized Mohini had chosen her path and was very happy with the child, they could not accept this whole heartedly though they played with the child, and took care of him.

    On their return to India they realized they had done their best for their children and they now could not connect with their thoughts.

    Many more years passed thus. Krishna and Suchitra were getting older. Their trips abroad became fewer. They would visit once every two years. Even on these trips, Suchitra was helping with household work and was not bored, Krishna was very restless. He missed his home and his social circle.

    In India, Suchitra kept herself active by visiting the temple morning and evening for about an hour. She tried her hand at gardening. She tried new embroideries, though her vision was not so good.

    Krishna and she went for their early morning walks and evening too they went for a stroll. They had dinner together and spoke lovingly about their children. Whenever they saw a lady with a child they thought of their children. But Suchitra often told Krishna “It is their life, we should let them live it on their terms”

    Mohini brought her son to India and spent about a month with them. Maya came with her husband for about a week. Life went on.

    One day when Krishna was walking with Suchitra, they were talking about the day he met her and how she hid behind the door, and were laughing together, when he felt uneasy. Suchitra called an auto and took him to the hospital, the children were informed and came rushing. They were with Krishna till he was fit to be discharged. But on reaching home Krishna collapsed and passed away. Suchitra was devastated. The children were with her. It was a grand funeral for Krishna.

    Suchitra was left alone. Though Maya and Mohinii wanted her to come with them, she felt she would be intruding in their lives. She had her neighbourhood and friends here. Everyone knew her, and she felt she was surrounded by good people. In the USA she had to be at home most of the time, and had to make new friends. Moving around without a car was not easy. Both her children were very busy with their jobs and life was very fast for them. She kept thinking on those terms and declined to go with her children immediately. She said she would let them know of her decision.

    Now that there was no Krishna, Suchitra grieved for him and every minute of the day was filled with his thoughts. Even while she sat for food, she would think of him. She was very sad and lonely.

    Many times she would think about whether she had made a mistake in giving her children so much freedom etc. She often thought about her parents and their fights and of Swarna and the stories she heard about Swarnas mother and father. She was not sure whether the truly liberated woman was herself or her children.

    She donated lots to charity. She knew her children were never going to come back. She cleared out all the books from the shelves and donated them to a government library. Most of her utensils and kitchen items were given to poor women who were starting their new homes.

    Thus, went life for Suchitra for a year.

    As bold as Suchitra was she realized there is no use in holding on to things. Her children were her life, all along she had encouraged them to be bold individuals and now by her staying in India and worrying would not help her or her children in any way. She felt she was being selfish in not being a part of her children's life.

    She called her daughters and told them she is going to move in with them. This time she would apply for a green card and make a life abroad.

    She set her finances in order and flew to the USA. The first thing she did on reaching there was learn to drive. Once this was done she decided to move around exploring places. After a couple of months she had made a group of friends in her age group and they started a support group for elderly Indian women. This kept her busy and along with this she supported her children in whatever way she could. Not to interfere in their affairs was what she learnt in the first few months.

    Life was peaceful for her. She had chosen her path well and was happy with no regrets about the past, present or future.

    P.S: The women in India have truly progressed from the times of Sarasu. I am glad, we see more Suchitras in today’s India.


    The end
     
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  5. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    Dear All,

    Thank you so much for your likes and comments on my debut story.

    My special thanks to Mr. Thyagarajan for his comments on every chapter. It truly made me very happy and wanting to write more.

    Some of my friends, to whom i was sending the chapters through mail, could not believe that such things like Sarasu's life and swarna's wedding could have even taken place. I am sure such times existed. I have heard a lot of things about living in those times from my Dad, Mom and grandmom.

    Many of the parents who have sent their children abroad in the early 70's would relate to the characters of Maya and Mohini. Childrens attitude to life change completely once they go abroad.

    Hoping to get comments on the entire story.

    Thanks & regards
    Uma
     
  6. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you Uma for this wonderful story spanning so many decades and generations. I can relate very well to it as it almost exactly mirrors my family stories that I remember my grandmothers recounting, right from the days of their own grandmothers. In many ways women have come very far, yet there are still enough vestiges every now and then to remind us how close we still are to the past.
    It is also striking that patriarchal as our society has always been and still remains it is the women who have been the backbones of many families. In the words of an unknown author
    “Here’s to strong women: May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”
     
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  7. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    Deleted being unedited.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2021
  8. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    Your splendid narration and style reminded me of Dr. Laksmi of South Africa in 1960s who was writing serials for Tamil weekly magazine ANANDA VIKADAN .

    You had written in a gripping manner that the reader would remain agog for the next chapter to appear in post here. I admire the entire narration and for better effect dialogues in first person italised and within quotation marks without the need to use any bombastic English that would sustain interest.

    It was not just a story for entertainment but to mull & compare those leisurely days of simple living & high thinking with present haste in high living and simple thinking!

    []She was not sure whether the truly liberated woman was herself or her children.[/QUOTE]

    After reading chapters 33 (empty nest) & the concluding Chapter 34 (The Surprise), it gave a feel as if I had emerged from a theatre/cinema hall in which part of screen images in black & white and the rest in Eastman colour.

    This also reminded me of my reading huge a triology by 1960-70 Jewish author Harold Robbins where too the story begins from ancient to modern to ultra modern. The books are The Adventurers(1966), The CarpetBaggers (1961) & The Inheritors(1969)*.
    • *A son brings his date to home and introduced to his dad. Next morning theson could not believe his eyes when he saw his dad with his date returns from church after their marriage. With the way Hollywood stories and movies taking shape, Harold Robbins could conceive the society Would turn into.
    I liked the idea in the story and the reason stated therein by Mohini for adoption of (aids affected) African toddler during her relationship with African boy friend. It is not shock or surprise to me. I heard in Australia families with more children get enhanced subsidies and one is not surprised to find every next white family, in addition to their own would have atleast two to three adopted brown children with or without any terminal diseases.

    I enjoyed the idea of of bringing the victims of Macabre AID into the story. I read a news report how an association in India is helping matching for marriage
    AIDs affected adults after subjecting them to DNA and genome tests. I presume it is in DELHI or & BANGALURU.

    At one stage in later life, Suchitra broods about liberation of women and turns apprehensive whether Maya & Mohini settled in US are truly liberated!

    I used to hear a joke : A spouse telling her partner “Your children & My Children are playing with Our children”. But this state of affairs may be far and few between, not necessarily prevails in one part of the world.

    About valuing dog has a real companion over understanding spouse, fashioned in western countries, I remembered life of my class mate friend and his spouse.
    Two brilliant sons of my class-mate are in US. Within three years of their employment in US, they invested substantial savings in real estate in Chennai and in that they built a fantastic independent house facing the sea (Bay of Bengal) with class features and amenities. My friend was inviting to visit is new mansion which was long pending. It was far away from city. I heard friend in new palatial house had no neighbours. His better-half felt lonely despite companions of different breeds of dogs. She cried over phone and I suggested my friend to come back to city or find accommodation in senior citizen homes.

    But sons continued to insist them to carry on there. Despite dogs, a thief managed to enter their house and taken away valuables without harming my friend and his spouse. Now that palace - sons constructed with their savings - in a desolate place there are no takers. UNDER ONE PRETEXT OR THE OTHER sons gone to US COULD never return to India. This weighed heavily on that couple within space of three months both expired.

    Thank you for mentioning my name in your post concluding of story.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2021
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  9. Mistt

    Mistt IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi @umaakumar gaaru,
    Sorry, I'm here like I had reached the venue after party was over:smile:. I have started to read your story today and finished 4 chapters and enjoyed it throughly. You were connected the story with emotions and as we all know that there is no relation without a emotion.
     
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  10. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you for posting the story, Uma. I can imagine the effort it takes to write such a story and post it chapter by chapter. I read many of the episodes on my cell phone between midnight and 5 am. : ) Each new chapter became something to look forward to.

    Very true. His comments were as good to read as the story's events. They often reminded me of the big events of my childhood, and how all the elders used to sit and talk after the wedding or the function, and we children used to hear bits and pieces as we ran about playing.

    Oh all the life events described are quite close to reality. The age difference in marriage or the poor girl marrying a guy who is not good-looking by society's standards, the new bride reconciling herself to her fate and taking it upon herself to improve things in her new family and house ... all of these were quite common decades ago, and must still be common outside of urban areas.

    I was reminded of Shyamala Gopalan (Kamala Harris' mom) when I read the chapters with Maya and Mohini.

    Thanks again. It was a wonderful journey to read about the story's characters while relating them to many real-life people who now reside only in memories, some getting quite faint with time.
     
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