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Growing up family

Raji finished her collegiate education in 1999 taking a degree in Commerce from Mount Carmel College. For a while she was at home and was also trying for a job as going for further studies was not considered. Among other interviews and tests she wrote the recruitment tests conducted by the Banking Service Commission. She came out successful in the written exams and was called for interview. She did very well in the interview too. It would be interesting to note that from among a lakh of candidates she was one of only 100 successful ones. And after the interview she was one of only 14 candidates who were short listed. In September 1999 she received an appointment order from State Bank of Mysore but to our great disappointment she was posted to a small district town called Malavalli near Mandya, a three hour bus ride from Bangalore. I made a preliminary visit to that place with Nimmi to survey the town. It was a typical rural town and lacked in amenities we were used to. We found a place for Raji to stay and in course of time Raji and self came to the place with our minimum baggage to report at the Bank. After the probation period we hoped that we could try for a transfer for a better and nearer place. It was a vain hope that was doomed to be shattered as we realized as days passed to weeks, weeks into months and months to years. For full five years the poor girl suffered alone relieved only by her weekly visits home. And these weekly visits entailed a lot of trouble and tension for her. The routine was that she would get into a Bangalore bound bus at Malavalli on Saturday afternoon after office hours and after a three and sometimes four hours’ ride she would arrive at the Bangalore Bus Station at about 6.30 or 7 in the evening. From the Bus Station to home it was another hour’s bus ride. By the time she reaches home she would be dead tired. After a day’s happy stay with the family she would be packing again early Monday morning to begin her journey back. There was an early bus to the Bus Station from Banswadi and from there another bus to Malavalli to go straight to office before opening. If she missed any of the connecting buses she would surely miss office and face the wrath of the Branch Manager. Many a time I used to drop her at the Bus Station on my scooter. For a change either I or her mother took turns to stay with her for short periods. In that old fashioned town we had to change four or five houses as we were not able to get a decent and convenient house despite our try. Finally she teamed up with another bachelor girl and took a regular house for rent and lived there till she was transferred. The industrious and intelligent girl that she was, she utilized the time of her lonely days in Malavalli to study and pass the CAIIB exams in two parts at the very first attempt a feat very difficult to achieve by many. She also earned the goodwill of both customers and her colleagues by the excellence of her work. We were in the meantime looking for a groom for Raji and finally found one. After the initial discussions we were invited to visit Chennai where the family lived. A few more round of discussions later the alliance was formalized and the wedding date was also decided upon.

On 3rd February 2002 Raji was married to Abhinash in Bangalore. Raji left for Chennai the day after the wedding for her husband’s place. It was a heart wrenching moment for me as the girl was my first born (after a long gap) and was the apple of my eyes. And I had tears in my eyes when she finally left to live with her husband and his family. I mused –one gone two to go (my two other young daughters Supriya and Ambika). Or it may be not. When a son goes, he goes. Daughters are more apt to have a continuing relationship with their parents.

We had at that time hoped that Raji could get a transfer out of her current branch, Malavalli to Chennai so that she could join her husband under the “spouse” category. We resubmitted her transfer application but there was no immediate response from the Bank. She had to undergo all sorts of travails and mental tortures during this period. Her husband wanted her to resign the job but Raji was adamant that she would rather suffer punishment than resign. She went on a year long leave without pay too to stay with her husband. In October 2003 a child was born to her. It was almost two and a half years before she finally got her transfer to Chennai and in November 2004 she started her life at Chennai.

Supriya and Ambika were completing their degree courses in Mount Carmel College. Supriya graduated in 2004 and almost immediately she joined a reputed MNC (HP) after a campus interview which meant that she did not have to wait too long for a job. It involved shifts including night shifts. On the first day I took her to the Company Corporate office myself. Now it was the turn of Supriya to get married. After relentless efforts through the inter net we found an ideal boy working in the U.K. whose parents were living in Ernakulam, Kerala. The parents surprised us by calling on us one fine day to have mutual discussions. After seeing Supriya the mother of the boy was so happy and insistent to fix up the alliance early and so in April 2005 the betrothal ceremony was performed when the boy flew in from U.K. at his sister’s house in Bangalore. It was hectic time for me from then on. I fixed up the same mantap in Banswadi where Raji’s wedding was conducted earlier. With Raji in Madras now all the necessary purchases were done with her assistance. With all work going with clock work precision the marriage was performed in a splendid fashion. And on 9/10th July 2005, Supriya became the bride of Sundar. On the 17th July 2005 a grand reception was held in Ernakulam the home town of the mappilai. A week later my darling Supriya left me to join her husband in UK.

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