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My wedding

After getting back to Bangalore in 1956 everyone’s thoughts centered on my getting married I being the eldest son of the family. Ever since my mother’s death my father and the children were dependant on others. If I get married we could set up our home and live independently. The process was initiated to find a suitable girl who would be capable of taking care of all of us. My uncles in Calicut were looking up for a suitable bride from our own family. I went over to Calicut to see a few cases. And after a few unsuccessful attempts we zeroed in on a case. Arrangements were made to ‘see’ the girl and a party consisting of self and a few relatives including my uncle Radha Mama visited the girl’s home one day in their native village in the interiors of Kerala in Trichur district. The two tier ancient tiled house was an independent one located in the middle of a vast wooded compound and built in the traditional Kerala style. We waited in the veranda exchanging pleasantries as the girl had gone away for her typing class. The family was related to us through Radha Mama’s second wife Rasamma. Eventually when the girl returned I stood stunned looking at her beauty. She wore a simple white saree and had done up her hair in typical Kerala style. Very fair in complexion and of more than medium height she looked an angel from heaven and captured my heart at the very first sight. She had completed S.S.L.C. and was taking lessons in typing and short hand. In order to start a conversation I asked for a glass of water which she brought to me coyly and when I asked her after a few preliminary questions whether she could sing she looked at her younger sister askance. However after a little hesitation and upon my insistance they sang a song together where only the younger sister’s voice was prominent. Later after many years of marriage I found out she could not sing a note for the life of her. It would be seen that they by design or accident sang a song –Kai Vidamaattan Kanaka Sabesan translated, it would mean that the Lord would not disappoint/abandon me. After exchanging the normal enquiries we agreed to cement the proposal of marriage. The girl, Raji by name, has an aged father who worked as a Karyasthan in a Namboothiri illam and mother. She was the fourth of seven sisters and a brother who was working in the Railways in Madras. We returned home very happy and satisfied. The marriage was fixed to take place two months later at the girl’s home in Velur, Vadakkancherry. But in the meantime I wrote a few letters to her and she also replied. This period in my life was perhaps the happiest. I was conjuring up a dream life for the two of us. I had undergone many vicissitudes in life ever since my mother’s death and had yearned for love. This had opened a way for my happiness. On 12th May, 1957 I married Raji at a simple wedding ceremony where only our close relatives were gathered. There was a good down pour of the early monsoon rains on the day of the wedding. And a new life began for me. After the wedding formalities were over Raji and me visited the famous shrine of Lord Guruvayurappa in nearby Guruvayur and prayed for a long life and happiness. Thereafter we traveled to Calicut to receive the blessings of my grand mother. There was no honeymoon or wedding photographs (video) on the marriage day as is common these days. However, we had our wedding photo taken at the Peethamber Studio in Calicut and we also had a big group photograph taken of the entire family in the front yard of our home in Calicut, Janaki Vilas. We returned to Bangalore a couple of days later. This idea of a family group young and old was repeated when Shilpa and Rajesh, my brother Chandru’s son, were married in 2005 at Calicut on my initiative.

On return to Bangalore we held a Reception in Hotel Sugananda for the Bank staff and a few close friends which was attended by over a hundred guests. The day would also be remembered for another milestone. On that day the local newspaper DECCAN HERALD (Magazine Section) carried a short article of mine titled “Life’s Little Tears and Titters” which was an account of the life of a beggar from a different and unusual angle. I got a few more admirers from among the guests for my writing.

After a few months of continuing to live in the same house which did not have much of the comforts of a home we shifted to a new house which accommodated our family consisting of my father, brothers and we, the newly married couple. While my father (in the Bangalore City branch) and I (in the Cantt.Branch) worked in the Bank, my brother continued in the I.T.I and now commuted to the factory by the company bus as the railway station was too far away from home. My little brothers were in College. My younger brother was married to his cousin, Radha Mama’s daughter, in 1960 and we all lived together as a happy family. My brother Rajan completed B.Com. and left for Bombay looking for employment and eventually settled down there. My youngest brother Chandru also completed his college studies and joined the State Bank of India after father’s retirement in 1962. Meanwhile a girl was born to me and Raji in 1958 followed by another girl in 1959. My brother also became a father to two lovely girls. The house was really choking with the children and it was great fun for the entire family. In 1967 a son was born to me and there was rejoicing in the family as he was the first male child after a succession of girls. There were further additions in the family when my brother got two more daughters in due course. It became apparent that new accommodation had to be found to accommodate all the members of the family. The joint family split up when my brother found a new house for his family and my youngest brother joined them while my father continued to stay with me.

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