KURUMBALAPERI DAYS - CONTINUED
During my stay in the summers, invariably there would be a family function. It was ancestral puja. In the family garden next to the house were the cemeteries of my great grandfather and great grandmother and there used to be this function every year. If I happened to be there during that function, I would not take part in any of the rituals and would keep myself quite away from it, since as a ‘true christian’ I was not supposed to be part of such rituals. The teachings of Christianity were so much rammed into me, I used to say that it was all for evil spirits. So my relatives used to keep part of all the offerings separate for me before the rituals. Such was my faith. Sadly such was the teaching of Christianity !
When my chithi got married, she was sore about one thing. The groom was less qualified than her. But this feeling was there in her only till the day of her wedding. The very next day she took it on her stride and never felt anything about it. Her relationship with her mother-in-law used to be much talked about thing in the whole village. They used to sit together for hours and chat about anything and everything. It was she who managed the family as well as the school that was run by the family. She made everyone working for her feel that they should never hurt her feelings. Such was her way of dealing things and people. It was not by her powers but by her love she was able to administer.
After chithi’s marriage my visits to Kurumbalperi became very rare and short. In stead I used to go to chithi’s village, Sivanadanoor, another hamlet some five or six kilo meters from Kurumbalperi. Chithi’s husband was a jolly good person as far as I was concerned. For most in the village he was a terror but I used to be casual with him. Probably he understood the love between me and chithi and permitted me to be so with him also. He had many ‘firsts’ – the first home to get electricity, the first to get a big German – Grundig - radio with lovely piano buttons and so on. I always used to admire his wardrobe. It was not the variety but the sheer number. He used to wear white khadhi dhoti and shirts. But they were washed so well that they used to be so white and well pressed. He used to change two sets of dress everyday. It was an odd thing in a village that too so long back when people of those villages of that time, never even bothered what they put on at all.