Monday, September 28, 2009

My Son's Marriage

The most debated topic among Indians is marriage-not politics, not sports, but it is marriage; arranged marriage vs. love marriage; inter-caste marriage vs. intra- caste marriage; inter-class marriage vs. same-class marriage and the new addition, courtesy article 377, homosexual marriage vs. heterosexual marriage. The debate goes on and on.

Some debates start after the marriage and the biggest for Men is generally Mom vs. Wife. The debate is to determine whether the ‘Man in the middle’ is a ‘Mama’s boy’ or ‘Henpecked’. There is no mid-way. What is interesting is the mother’s point of view. Mother thinks that, if it’s a love-marriage, the daughter-in-law (DIL), who is already one -up, has scored several points over. She feels a sense of defeat, as if the whole world has plotted against her. The love-marriage makes the son ’henpecked’ even before he is a husband. On the other hand, if it’s an arranged marriage, the mother feels a sense of victory. The DIL ought to be indebted to her, since her generosity resulted in the latter getting a husband. Since it was she who approved, the Mother is in charge.

It is really interesting to hear mothers speak about marriages. They seem to have a very clear conscience about the decisions they make. They are justified in whatever they say and whatever they do. One such interesting story comes from the house of Mr.Sukumar.

Sukumar lived in the Jayalakshmipuran extension of Mysore city for the last 30 years. He and his bride, Kamala had set up their home in the 1970s. They were very happy that just two roads away was the ‘Rayara Matha’, a couple of furlongs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furlong) away were the famous Eshwara Temple and at a kilometer’s stretch Lord Vekenkateshwra resided. He worked in Canara Bank and rose through the ranks. Basically they were typical middle class Brahmin family of Mysore of yesteryears. A few years later, Raghavendra, their eldest son was born in ‘Cheluvanba’ Hospital and he was followed by Gayathri, who was delivered in ‘Kamakshi’ hospital. After many more years, they had a third child, Aditya. Raghu and Gayathri went to Chinmaya Vidyalaya, which was near their house, but Adi was sent to the St. Joseph Central, a convent, which reflected the changing fortunes of Sukumar.

Kamala was an educated women stuck in the transition. Her modern outlook was masked by the fear of society. She proved to be a very good mother. The definition of a good mother being, inculcating good values to the children, running the house efficiently and serving the husband and children well ( I don’t approve this definition; but they are the society standards). Her single most desire was to see her children “settled well” and she strived hard for it: sat up with them when they studied late nights, prayed for them day and night, provided snacks and food right at their study tables, waited up till they reached home and what not. Raghu reciprocated by getting a good rank in CET and joined E&C in SJCE. Gayathri did even better in her CET and had a chance to go to Surathkal NIT. But, Kamala put her foot down and made her too join SJCE, since she didn’t want her daughter to go out of sight. At the time of writing this story, Adi was still studying in the 10th standard.

Raghu did the unthinkable. He fell in love. Ramya was his junior in college and also his colleague in office. They just hit off right from the beginning and the usually reserved Raghu opened up to her. Kamala had her suspicion, but could not get it confirmed. She never pressed Raghu because she knew the answer and didn’t want to hear it. She liked Ramya, but at the same time “that girl” wasn’t her choice. She kept thinking where she went wrong with Raghu, why was he behaving the way he was? The day finally arrived when Raghu convinced Sukumar and Kamala to go to Ramya’s house.

Ramya came from a business family. They were a Brahmin family too, so Kamala didn’t have the caste criteria to reject her. Instead, while on the way to Ramya’s house, she kept reminding Raghu that, since the girl is from a rich household, she won’t know how to cook or run a household and she would expect him to hire a lot of servants. But Raghu kept mum. By now, he had realized that whatever the girl is or isn’t, his mother is going to find something or the other wrong with her. Sukumar never uttered a word. He was still in a mood of denial. He couldn’t digest the thought that his son had a choice. How can he? What does he know? Were the questions running in his mind. He was upset with Kamala that she was trying to reason with Raghu. You don’t reason with kids; you just tell them what to do. But, still he was there, on the way to strike an alliance for his son.

“When kids themselves have decided what can we do”, “Nowadays our duty is only to put ‘Akshathe’ on their head” and similar things could be heard from the drawing room of Ramya’s mansion in ‘Kuvempunagar’. Kamala wanted Raghu to wait until Gayathri’s marriage was fixed. But Ramya’s parents weren’t ready to wait. “Before anything more happens, let us get them married” was their reasoning. The marriage took place two months later in ‘Police Bhavan’, one of the biggest marriage halls in Mysore. Kamala and Sukumar were very disappointed that the girl’s people missed out many rituals and didn’t conduct the marriage to their liking. What was supposed to be the crowning moment of Kamala’s life, turned out to be a damp squid.

Ramya and Raghu occupied the bedroom on the top floor. Kamala was right at least partly about Ramya. Ramya didn’t make an effort to adjust to the new household, instead tried to lead a separate life of her own. She behaved like a paying guest in her own place. Kamala waited for Ramya to make the first move and Ramya did not move an inch. Meanwhile, Gayathri had moved to Bangalore for her job and Kamala all of a sudden felt really alone. Ask your wife to wake up early, why doesn’t she come downstairs much and many such whys were asked by Kamala, to which Raghu had no answers. Finally, when he did speak up, it was to say that he wanted to move out, at least for a few years. Kamala had not just lost the battle but the war itself.

Raghu got a rented place about 2 kilometers from his parent’s house. Ramya realized that moving out wasn’t that a great idea as now she had to help in cooking, cleaning and all the other things. Raghu was prepared for it and took it in his stride, but Kamala was distraught. She decided to involve herself in finding a match for Gayathri. She was saddened that Raghu wasn’t searching, Raghu on his part said that he didn’t want to interfere in Gayathri’s affairs. Kamala blamed Ramya for Raghu’s non-indulgence.

It was time to sleep but Sukumar wanted to finish reading a book he had started. Kamala turned towards him and said, “Look at that Ramya, she is making our son cook and clean. And this fellow is doing it! I never made my son enter the Kitchen.” Sukumar’s reaction was “Huh, what can we do?” Kamala wasn’t done, “I am sure that she made him shift the house, or else why would he want to leave the house? She filled his head with these things” she ranted. “All this is because of your upbringing, whenever I said anything, you supported the children, now suffer.” Sukumar never missed a chance to bring this up. “That Ramya’s mother always is at their place. She is the one who fills her head with these things. If I had selected the girl, all this wouldn’t have happened I knew from the start that this girl wasn’t right for Raghu”; Kamala said, venting her frustration. Sukumar intervened,” Forget that. Now tell me what about the boy we have seen for Gayathri. I really liked him. What about you?”

“ Well everything is okay about the boy. But the only thing is that he stays with his parents. I don’t want Gayathri to have in-law problems you know”, Kamala said before switching off the lights.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great write up Chaitanya!

Santa said...

nice blog.. dude sukumar's lines were awesome.. especially:

How can he? What does he know?

lolz.......

In ur next blog I want u to come out of Mysore.. Something real big... unique.. :)

Keep going..

KN said...

Ch.
A lot of people might think that you have divulged their own life story. So, better put an addendum, "that any resemblance to the personal life of anybody is purely coincidental and unintended!"

Kng

jayashankar said...

Good write up maga... koole conclusion... :)

Chaitu said...

@Santa... Mysore is just a place I am familiar with... this could have happened anywhere.

@Appa: I dont really think people would want to stake claim of the story as their life unless it is going to make money...

@Gowdre: Thanks kandri...

Pranesh said...

u can just make so many stories out of that marriage stuff... great one.. esp the ending...

Sanjeev said...

Chaitanya, nice post maga... :)

tejas said...

dude,i could sorta picture the whole characters,this is an unavoidable situation in any house..particularly B's. all the best!!! ;)

Chaitu said...

@Sanjeev
Thanks man for the feedback.

@Mickey
Dude good luck to you too

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the warning!!!

raghudeep said...

Nice!!!! really realistic and hillarious!

GunnerCesc4 said...

Nice one... But was bit disappointed that it ended so soon :)
was waiting for the story of their second son but it never came up !

GunnerCesc4 said...

A touch of RK Narayan ?!!
Keep it coming :)

Chaitu said...

@Suhas
Bahala dodda mathu... I wanted to end it there and let people imagine the rest :-). Nimma manenalli yenadru ide case?

GunnerCesc4 said...

Aagbahudu munde ... but ishtella scene aagalla :)

arwenevenstar said...

That last line cinched it. :)

r a j said...

"Kamala waited for Ramya to make the first move and Ramya did not move an inch"
Haha.. typical of many heavy expectation relationships. Nicely captured.... you could be a good divorce lawyer.