After one of many such discussions with the neighborhood Sheela aunty, Mrs. Krishnan stepped out of their house , headed back to her own house. She didn’t like to really look at flashbacks as they only got pains and sorrow and memories you want to forget, but this time Sheela had needled her enough to make her think of her past in those ten minutes of walk back to her apartment. Mrs. Krishnan was a lady who had seen a lot in life. It was only a few years back that she had got married to Siva’s dad – Mr. Krishnan and it was still fresh in her mind.
Having been the eldest of the four daughters of a government servant, she had to heed into the pressure from her parents to cut short her education than what she desired. After her Std. XII (The twelfth year of formal education after pre-school and nursery) examination, she was asked by her parents to get involved in the household chores of cooking, cleaning, stitching and taking care of elders. They wanted to groom her as fast they could so that all the generic requirements from a prospective boy’s side could be ticked off the awfully long checklist. Mr. Krishnan’s alliance came through the marriage bureau run in the local temple ‘out of interest’ and ‘wish of welfare for unwed brides and grooms’ by nosey, gossipy, chirpy and harmless souls of Kumbakonam.
As soon as the astrologer matched the horoscopes to the “T” and found it suitable for the next level of discussions, began the usual route of – checking family backgrounds, exchanging demands and can do’s for the wedding, the typical scene of family’s meeting and boy not talking to girl till day of marriage and finally a day of marriage with lots of commotion, fun and tensions. Mr. Krishnan had indeed not been a bad choice. She was lucky to have him and have known him for so long. When they were married, he was working as a clerk in one of the small private firms with enough money in the month for them to eat, have modest clothes, rent a modest 1 BHK and support her in-laws, who were staying with them. After a few initial tiffs, Mrs. Krishnan had realized early in life that she has to adjust per the wish of Krish (as she fondly use to call him when they were alone) and his folks and it would make life more complex if she put her wishes and way of doing things before theirs. Over the years the simple adjustments she made in her mindset and how she got along with her in laws in the first few years paved stronger ties, love and respect from them over the years. It was well worth the wait of twelve years post marriage.
Siva was born after five years of their marriage. Though they wanted to plan a baby much earlier, certain complicacies that arrive in an arranged marriage in terms of sexual relations forced them to finally get it right the fifth year. It was a torturous five years where they had to bear the unwanted views, opinions and recommendations to go to “seers”, “Tantriks” for having a boy child of so called well-wishers. After the first two years of crying and getting affected by all these taunts, Mrs. Krishnan was finally able to console herself and get in line with her husband’s judgment. Mr. Krishnan had told her that “Chellam (Chellam means “Oh loved one” in Tamil), we will have a child definitely. It will perhaps take time and God wants it that way. The Almighty is taking our test to see how badly we want the child. So our actual test is in the form of ability to withstand such comments from people around us without losing the grace and calmness. We should not be rude to them and just think that they are all God in the form of an irritant, trying to test us.”
The regimental and disciplined routine of regular prayers, abhishekam’s (anointing the lingam in respect and love) of milk at the local Siva temple, diet with no salt on Tuesdays and no sugar on Wednesdays to please the gods, over the next two years finally bore fruit. One day after having a checkup at her local clinic, Mrs. Krishnan got it confirmed from the doctor that she was one month pregnant. The Krishnan’s were indeed elated. Finally all the efforts had paid off and they got it right this time! Mr. Krishnan also now was promoted in his office to the role of an “Officer” with a monthly increment of 15% of his original salary, which was a decent amount.
As the months for her delivery neared by, Mrs. Krishnan decided to stay at her in laws place itself then going to her mother’s place (as is usually the norm) as her mother’s house was too small. Mrs. Krishnan’s two sisters were yet to be married and the third one was deserted after two year’s marriage and left at her parent’s house with her eight month old son. Mr. Krishnan was indeed a fantastic husband during those few months when she couldn’t do much of the housework and he had to put in extra hours in addition to his office work to keep the house running. Finally, in about a week after the eight month, she started developing discomfort and was rushed to the hospital. The doctors were worried that the baby may arrive three weeks early and may be premature. However, all the prayers that Mrs. Krishnan had prayed to Lord Siva didn’t go waste. The baby finally decided to arrive in the world exactly after four weeks from the time Mrs. Krishnan was admitted. So the baby was late by about two weeks than other babies and did not know then that it was destined to achieve greater heights in life only slowly and not as early as its other peers.
Mr. and Mrs. Krishnan were overjoyed and they decided to name the new arrival “Mudalipuram Venkatanarayanan Siva Rama Krishnan”, fondly called as “Siva”.
Suddenly woken out of the flashback, Mrs. Krishnan realized she is blindly staring at her door with the finger just placed on the doorbell. The ten minutes of her walk back home were over sometime back. She breathed a sigh of relief and nodded her head to as if reset her thoughts to the present and then firmly pressed the doorbell. The door was opened by the one who was born just a few seconds back in the flashback - her lovely son Siva.
To be continued…