SGR: 30 June 1942 to 30 October 1973
It was the lightning that woke her up. At least that’s what she thought. She could hear the rain and see the lightning through the small window in the bedroom. As she closed her eyes again, and curled up all ready to go to sleep again, she saw her father coming into the bedroom. He was leaning on her mother and saying Muddiyalay, oru madhiri irukku (Very tired, feeling unwell/uncomfortable). She went right back to sleep the comfortable sleep of a four-year old.
Till she was woken up yet again. She was angry then. She didn’t want to get up. But somebody was asking her to, calling her name and patting her shoulder. She sleepily opened her eyes. How funny!!! It was still dark. And there were so many people in the bedroom. The auntie from the opposite flat. Some man who was rubbing Daddy’s feet – Daddy was lying still on the bed. And someone else too. And where was amma? She was standing near the bed and was she crying? Where was her little brother?
But before she could go to her amma, the auntie grabbed her hand and said, come on, let us go and sleep in my house. No, no, I don’t want to, she said. I want to be here with amma. But somehow, nobody seemed to be taking much notice of her – not even when she burst into tears.
She didn’t remember where or how she slept in that auntie’s house that night. Nor did she remember what happened the next few days except for a few stray incidents. Lots and lots of people in her house, thatha, patti, mamas, mamis, periappas, chittis etc. The whole gamut of relatives and lots of other people she did not know.
Lots of men chanting and her father lying in balcony of their home. And horrors, someone cutting away his shirt. Actually cutting it. She ran forward, asking them to stop, but again, she was shushed, albeit gently. Didn’t they understand that they were ruining her Daddy’s shirt?
She also remembered a whole group of people going away from home, some of them carrying her father on their shoulders. And she was angry that her brother got to go out with them and she wasn’t allowed. She wanted to badger her amma till she was allowed to go with them. But she was told that she couldn’t,and once again her mini-tantrum was ignored.
As days passed, she simply accepted the fact that they were now living in Mylapore, with her thatha and patti, instead of in Ashok Nagar. She accepted that she had a new school and a new life. She accepted that her mother had to go to ‘office’ now daily. As children do.
Things went on as per normal.
Being a child, she also accepted the gradual realisation that came to her – that she would never see her Daddy again.
This is what I can remember about the night my life and my family’s life changed forever. Sometimes I wonder how I can remember it so clearly when I can barely remember anything of my life before that day…
30 October 2008
20 October 2008
8 October 2008
Happy Saraswathi puja to you all.
Ladies, and girls: check out our kolu (in its full glory below) and do drop in for manjal kungumam (haldi kumkum) and prasadam (sundal et al).
The men are welcome too!
this here is our wildlife reserve on the right and the farm on the left.
This is of course, Disneyland!!!! Don't miss the skating rink.
PS: In case you are not familiar with the bommai kolu concept, please remember that a willing suspension of disbelief is essential to enjoy the spectacle in its entirety.
2 October 2008
My first ever blog award! Thanks to Shyam for giving me this.I am touched and pleased!
And then, along with Navarathri rounds, things are happening so quickly now, they still haven’t sunk in. Life’s a bit of a blur at the mo.
I am moving from here. Moving, moving, moving. Just in case you didn’t get it, it’s time to move on from here, new job beckons. But before that, I am taking some time off to get to know I, me and myself all over again!
The countdown has begun!! Only today and tomorrow to go…
No more train into town at unearthly hours in the morning. Although I admit, I might even miss it and the fellow sufferers who travel into town along with me every morning. I will miss the sweet-looking old lady who has her hair up in a bun everyday and wears a skirt. I will miss the flat-faced bloke with green hair and jeans that just about manage to stay up on his waist. I will miss the guy with the earphones who looks like he has burnt skin. I will miss the mustached man who gets off at Ava daily. I will miss the middle-aged couple who hold hands when they get off from the train in Wellington. I will miss…
But, most of all, I will miss all the wonderful people whom I will leave behind when I walk out of this role. They are more than workmates - they are friends and I truly will treasure the time I have spent with them.
But for now, leaving, leaving, leaving, that’s the only thought in my mind. Freedom beckons…