Not On Assignment

A journo's jottings under no deadline pressure (since Jan 1, 2010)

A timeless tale

with 2 comments

He was a father of seven daughters and a son. When his second daughter eloped with a boy from another community, he was devastated.
This was the early sixties, when inter-community marriages were very rare.
The father had a massive heart attack and died before any doctor could be summoned.
The family fell on bad times. Only the eldest daughter was working – as a municipal school teacher.
A neighbour of theirs told Dad about the family.
Dad was then in an influential position in the engineering firm he worked for. He got one of the daughters a job. The next year, another one was absorbed on the rolls. Eventually, three of the sisters would be working for the firm.
Our families grew closer.
When my younger brother was born, the widow and her eldest daughters did not allow Dad to take even a day’s leave from work.
“What are we for?” they protested. “Don’t worry, we will take care of your wife and the new-born.”
Often, when they worked late, the three sisters would stay over at our place.
I was then in school and I picked up my basic Marathi from one of them. Another sang and taught me Vallav re nakhwa the evergreen Hemant Kumar – Lata Mangeshkar Marathi Koli song.
But perhaps the one most attached to our family was the third-born, SM.
SM always made it a point to attend each and every function in our family. She helped us kids in our studies and accompanied Mom on her shopping expeditions.
She worked hard and rose up the ranks in the engineering firm.
Then she got married – coincidentally to a worker from another engineering firm. There was a big age gap between the two. The boy was also a little shorter than her. Relatives mocked the “match”.
But he was a good man, a good husband, and later, a good father.
He was also from a well-to-do family that had ancestral property in their native Ratnagiri.
Here in the city, he owned a large tract of land adjoining his house. He cashed in on the property boom and sold off the house and the plot to a real estate developer. In return, he got four flats and monetary compensation.
After years of struggle in her childhood and teen years, SM now started leading a comfortable life.
But even though she saw riches, she did not change as a person.
She continued to regularly visit my parents.
Last year, when we celebrated their golden jubilee anniversary in a city hotel, she and her husband were among the first guests to arrive.
There, in the presence of about 150 of our relatives and family friends, SM applied tilak on my mother’s forehead and touched my parents’ feet.
And last month, she invited both of them to the lavish two-day wedding ceremony of her son.
It was a wonderful opportunity for my parents to catch up with the sisters, their children and in some case, grand-children.
They came back with vignettes of joys and sorrows, marriages and divorces…
To this day, they continue talking of the re-union.
Thank you, SM…


Written by Raju Bist

March 24, 2010 at 11:09 pm

2 Responses

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  1. that’s a nice story


    April 28, 2010 at 5:11 pm

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