MY STORIES—CONTINUE- My grandma
BY SATHEESAN RANGORATH
After a long bus and train journey, we were tired and were not in a mood to enjoy the shower of love from my grandma and my aunties. I have six aunties and three uncles from my mother’s side all the aunties were married and having several children.At that time, I was having about twenty-five cousins. Now the number is increased to hundreds their children and grand children are in the family. If we all join that will be enough crowds for a marriage or celebration. My grandma was a brave woman. Grandpa was a good farmer and was looking after the farming of the joint family. At that time, he was running a good business too. Unfortunately, I have not seen my grandpa as he had died at a young age due to small pox. After his death, the control of farming was taken over by next heir to the joint family. It is often a miserable story for the wife and children of the deceased, as they will not be treated well due to greed and selfishness of the successor. If the new head of family were kind enough then widow and children would be looked after respectfully well otherwise, their life will be pathetic. Children will be ill-treated and forced to work hard with out proper education. Fortunately, my grandpa had constructed a house of his own for grandma that saved her from depending on the joint family for all her needs
Soon after grandpa’s death family started using her in place of maidservant, which she did not like and decided to move away to the small house that my grandpa had built for her. With her seven teenage daughters and three boys who were studying in their lower classes. Eldest two daughters were studying in seventh and eight classes. During that time, it is a rarity among girls to study more. Most of them stop their education in the fifth standards. Fortunately, before dying my grandpa had arranged marriage for two of his eldest daughters, one of the fiancées were working in Air Force and the second fiancé was employed in Federation of Malaysian states (FMS). My grandma took initiative and married her daughters as arranged by borrowing money from her husband’s friends. She also bought two buffalos. By milking the buffalos, she made enough income for the family’s day today needs. Her eldest son took the milk to near by houses before leaving
for school.. by the time her eldest son graduated from the school she had had married her six daughters to various working men, most of them were teachers one was a stenographer in a foreign shipping company and another farmer and a third one an estate manager in Malaysia. Her son’s in-Laws were very considerate and helped the family in its bad times. It was during the 1940 s. second world war had broken out. Its impact was severe in the family as the scarcity was ruling the world all over. Those Who were agriculturists, had at least enough food for them to feed their children. In Grandmother’s case, it was a very pitiable time, as she had to look after a big family.With six girls. She often used to narrate stories of her time relating to her miseries.
Family had food only one time that too boiled rice with a lot of water in it (We call it in local language “KANJI” Boiled Moringa leaves with salt and green chilies was another luxury during that time... Every thing was distributed through rationing. Money was in short supply and purchasing power was poor. Some how my grandma managed the affairs of the family. My mother used to tell a story of her marriage during this time.She never had a second change of cloth or under garment during her marriage. She had to borrow her sister’s dress for her marriage as wedding finery. There was no jewellery for her to wear.
My grandma was a beautiful woman; a five feet six stout, even during her sixties, she was looking very cute Wheat complexioned with smooth skin. She had long dark hair, which she used to tie In a particular fashion that fall down to her, back. She had wide eyes and s beautiful eyebrows. While laughing her dimples opened prominent. She used to wear a golden beaded Chain, which her son bought for her when he got his first salary. She used to wear a five studded nose ring and her ear lobes were bigger, falling down to her neck on both sides.During those times, respectable women used to grow their ear lobe holes bigger so that they can put a golden stud fit in nicely. That was the fashion during that time. On her fore head, she used to apply vermillion dot after her paryers. by chewing betle leaves with aricanut and line her lips turned red having peculiar shade.She was so majestic that I used to watch her with love and affection. She was a great lady. I had a special place in her mind which I may discuss later.
After reaching home my mother completely disappeared in to the crowd of her sisters.She was busy talking and chatting with her sisters. My self and sister were lonely at that moment of time as we both were seeing many children as our cousins. Many of then had their supper and was retiring to their bed. We were a bit shy too in being mingled with them. Strangely, my sister stayed with me completely as she had no alternative. My father was also busy chatting with his co-brothers. One thing I under stood it is going to be a memorable vacation as I have a lot of prospect to explore and exploit form the Surrounding of my village. I already started to like all my cousins. I was also not in a mood to be introduced to them right away, as I was dead tired.
After supper, we went to bed in a room, which had a wooden sealing. The cot had decorative art work on head rest and legs are carved in beautiful designs> I never Been on cot and cotton filled bed before as we used to sleep on the floor in Mananthawady. Therefore, that itself was a wonder for me.That night I slept well dreaming about the valley and waterfalls of Western Ghats that
We had travel all the day through. I imagined about the monkeys that I had seen,On the way. Was wondering what they might be doing. I thought about the beautiful night sky and mist of mananthwadi. Forest and plantations drenched in moonlit in addition, fireflies fly allover wildly. Then I head the howling of wolfs and foxes that I used to listen during night when I was in bed. I remember how I clutched on to my pillow when I heard peculiar sound of owl’s cry. Al though I missed those things but prospects of a new day pushed me into deep sleep.