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Mother's death and after

It was at this point of time the great tragedy befell our family. My mother fell seriously ill with what in today’s medical parlance is called brain hemorrhage or brain tumor. I remember seeing her writhing in great pain and no one was able to help her as no one knew the nature of her sickness including perhaps the good doctor Dr.Narayanaswamy. I remember my uncle (husband of my mother’s sister) who was a firm believer in occult practices volunteering to help. He would stab a few nails on the coconut tree on our back yard and whenever the pain appeared he would hammer a few knocks on the head of the nail murmuring a few mantras which he would say would drive away the devil that causes the pain. We youngsters watched the magic with awe and would pray and hoped that it would work because such was the agonizing pain my mother was going through. It was of no avail and the pain only persisted. With scarce medical facilities that were available for what they were worth in those days in a small town like Calicut, her sufferings only increased and despite a stint in Bangalore’s famous Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital she passed away on the 28th February 1946. I remember that day. I was confined to the bed with a bout of typhoid and was weak. I picked up the virus when on a visit to our native place (Alampallam) with father a month earlier. For over four weeks I was in bed and on the day my mother passed away I had to be bodily lifted and brought to our mother’s bedside as she had insisted on seeing me. She asked Radha Mama to take care of me before she breathed her last. This tragedy was a turning point in my life. I was just completing my high school and my father was transferred to Bangalore. Left with no maternal support we, a brood of six children, all below the age of 15, were left at the mercy of relatives to be taken care of. My younger brother, Krishna Murthy (Kitchu for us) and the last child Vimala who was barely two years old were left at Calicut in the care of my grand mother while I with two brothers, Rajan and Chandru and sister, Lakshmi (Ammudu for us), moved over to Bangalore with my father to live with my father’s younger brother who had promised to take care of us. Rajan and Chandru were admitted to a neighbourhood boys’ school while Lakshmi was admitted to a girls’ school. My first year in Bangalore was wasted as I had to rewrite my SSLC exam because of the leak of a question paper. In 1948 I enrolled in the St.Joseph’s College. Thus the next phase in my life started in the garden city, Bangalore in the year 1947-48.

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