Unlike a video game life will not present you with a beginner level to get accustomed to the rules of the game. However over a period of time, some get accustomed to the vagaries of life and learn to live with it (might be with a grudge), while others succumb. Until recently I never thought about writing about me, even this facile attempt is not to tell people about me. This attempt is to show my gratitude to those who shaped my life. Despite being extremely thankful, for some strange reason, I never conveyed my true feelings to them. This blog is an honest attempt at acknowledging, with great gratitude, the people who helped me during my hard times.
Truth is always stranger than fiction, and it is more interesting and adventurous, the simple reason being, fiction, unlike truth is consistent and follows a pattern. Though this is a highly cliched statement, it is true in my case. I will be honest to myself and make this section interesting by just writing down the truth and nothing but the truth.
I don’t know everything as I am not young anymore (young men assume they know everything, and until they change that perception they never mature), but the man I am going to narrate about was young, and he knew everything. He was born as the 4th child and the first male child of the family. There was a huge age gap between him and his sister and hence it was his sister who brought him up. The name of this person is Chandramouli, and he is my biological father.
He never had a good relationship with his father and mother, as his parents did not approve his career choices and political leanings. I am not judgmental here, and I really appreciate his motives, he was in Jan Sangh and fought against the emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi. He was in to full time politics even as a student. This made his relationship with his parents and siblings a strained one. He was never interested in marriage and always wanted to be a bachelor. Despite being well educated he did not pursue a career and against the wishes of his parents he got himself immersed in politics. While all his siblings established good careers, he continued to be a social activist.
It was at that point of time, he was forced by his elder sister to get married. He succumbed to the pressure and married a 20 year old girl who was a confused soul. They all lived as a joint family.
“Men marry because they are tired; women because they are curious. End of the day both are disappointed.” This happened so quickly. Ten months after their marriage they had a kid (me) . When I was 24 days old, my mother had a big argument with everyone in the house saying that she cannot take care of me. She added that she would die if she was forced to take care of me. She was successful in convincing my father and both left me (as a moth old baby) with my Grand Mother, and went to Chennai to pursue their career.
My grand mother raised me, and it was our cows that fed me. I am eternally grateful to those cows, they fed me when my biological mother was exploring the city life. Indian tradition has this saying ‘Mata, Pita, Guru & Deivam’ (Mother, Father, Teacher and the God), the entities (in that order) that guide us in our life. In my case it is just two entities my grandmother and God. It is never easy to raise a mischievous child, along with rearing cattle and doing the household chores in a village. She was a little more than a super hero, as she could do all those and more.
I don’t remember those days and I am narrating this from the things I heard from my relatives and neighbors. I used to be a highly troublesome and hyperactive kid. I don’t know if some of them were exaggeration as it is hard to believe. They say that I used to bring the fodder meant for cows and put it in the big containers with milk, while people attend to that, I used to put the left over ashes from the stove in to the idli dough, and when they attend that, I tilt the buttermilk container and pour out all the buttermilk in the kitchen. So, they (my grandma and her maid servant) never used to leave me alone. They say that I used to love the bicycle rides to our farm with my grandfather. As a 18 month old baby i climbed a huge ladder rested on a coconut tree and got trapped at the top, all our neighbors came to the rescue and my grand father some how saved me, and within a month he committed suicide (he lost everything to the floods that ravaged the farmlands that year) but I was not big enough to save him. My grand mother’s job became all the more difficult, there was no income but huge debts. But, as I said before she was a super hero, without any help from her children she bought more cows and increased her income through selling dairy products. She paid off all the debt and even bought new properties.
Meanwhile, I was quite happy, I had my grand mother, I would trade anything that I have today to relive one of those days. She used to scold me a lot, but I sort of loved it. I was like a prince ruling our backyard, with imaginary soldiers and with those cattle as my subjects. I used to ride a buffalo with huge horns, and also remember falling down from it. Watering the plants and see them grow, making cakes out of cow dung, climbing those trees – life was heaven. I was sent to school when I was 3 years old. The name of the school was Minerva, and by the end of that year, I was shifted to another school at the insistence of my aunt and did my UKG in a school called Raj Matriculation.
My grandmother found it difficult to handle my education, as the school was far away from our house, so my aunt changed my school again. She was then working as a teacher in a government school. She got me admitted in first grade in that school with Tamil as the first language.
My grandmother was like the fabled Goddess Annapurani, she fed everyone who came to our house. The kids in our neighborhood always come to our house to get some sweets made by my grandmother. I developed a good rapport with those kids, and had a great time.
My biological mother ditching me was actually a blessing in disguise, as I was very happy living with my Grandma. The first of many disasters that struck my life hit me hard that day, when my parents came to take me away from my Grandmother for reasons unknown. That was a doomsday, I cried, I begged and went and hid behind my grandma, but they snatched me away to Chennai.
With hindsight, I strongly believe in karma and rebirth. There can be no reason why a baby should be punished for no fault of his. That was just the first of the series of sufferings I experienced for no fault of mine.
Meet you in chapter 2