Monday, April 27, 2015

W -Whitefield -2009

Four generations: Three continents: Two world wars: One village   
These are tales spanning four generations spread across three continents in between and after the two world wars of people who set forth under different circumstances from one small village called Agaramangudi.   

The story line traverses through different time lines, locations or incidents with no particular order. The only order being the alphabetical one – A to Z meant purposefully for the A to Z challenge. These posts can be read as standalone posts, but would be best comprehended if you read them along with their prelude provided as a link.

W- Whitefield   -2009

As she lay in the nursing home with a listless overworked  nurse injecting her with more sedatives   to subside her moaning, Susee would scream  out for help before being sedated by the medicine. Jaanu looked into her eyes and held her fragile bony shoulders.  The stench of urine from the uncleared bedpan underneath the bed over powered the smell of medicated talcum powder that kept the bed sores away.

Jaanu knew, that, had she been able, her grandma  would have protested. She never used any other talcum powder other than the ‘Gokul  Santol’. This certainly was not smelling like Gokul Santol.

Nee Jaanu thaney’  ... Are you not Jaanu ? she asked after staring at Jaanu for a few minutes,  trying to juggle her memory hard enough to remember the face that was looking at her while holding her shoulders .
‘Aamam paatti ‘, ‘That is correct grandma’ replied her granddaughter, now old enough to be the responsible adult  and her caretaker. 

When the doctor pronounced the onset of Dementia a few months ago, no one imagined it would be so emotionally draining for the family.  On most occasions she hardly recognized  her own daughter and son. She would alternate between  fits of rage and bouts of wails leaving them clueless about what she was going through. Her daughter and son, were emotionally drained  and physically worn out doing their best, trying to be the caregiver for a mother whom they had known to be nothing but a dignified, compassionate,  strong and  loving woman all her life. It was heart wrenching for them to see their mother in this condition.  

Susee’s was a life from Riches to Rags.  

A couple of years ago when she was still able to walk and manage on her own, Her son took her on a trip to Agaramangudi. The Mangudi where she had set foot as a 16 year old young innocent bride of Subbu.

Sri Lakshmi  Nivas – 1914.

Susee noticed the inscription atop the huge mansion that was built in 1914. It stood at the end of the Agraharam just before the Mango Orchard and the private pond where the women folk went to bathe and wash clothes.

As she stepped into the house, the fragrance of fresh Jasmine wafted through the Veranda from the climber that had spread across the entrance of the house. Everytime she smelled fresh jasmine flowers, it would bring along soothing memories of the day she arrived as the bride at Sri Lakshmi Nivas.

Valadhu kaala eduthu vechchu vaamma ‘ ...Set your right foot ahead  and step into this auspicious beginning ...echoed an old woman’s voice.

A 16 year old Susee put her right foot forward and entered Sri Lakshmi Nivas for the first time.
She would spend the next 40 years, nurturing and nourishing hundreds of human beings, overseeing along with her husband an entire eco system of the Agraharam life,  unperturbed by the second world war that was brewing all over Europe or by the Indian independence movement that would lead to India’s independence in 1947.

Little did she know then that there would be other bloodless mutinies much closer to home, that over a period of time, would completely alter the social structure of the quaint Agraharam of Agaramagudi and that Sri Lakshmi Nivas would be rummaged to rubbles.

Rummaged to rubbles – that was exactly what was happening when their car alighted at the far end of Agraharam. It was a heart wrenching scene what with the bulldozer stomping across whatever little was left of the ruins of Sri Lakshmi Nivas to clear way for god knows what else.
As the marble structure that held the inscription ‘Sri Lakshmi Nivas’ fell, many things fell apart and cracked. One of them was Susee’s heart and her spirit to live. 
There could not have been a worse timing to visit Agaramangudi.
Her son tried to rummage through the rubble to get his mother the marble inscription of Sri Lakshmi Nivas, but the construction  workers forbid  him from entering the site.  They said they would try and find it for him when they cleared the place if there was indeed anything left of it.  In any case they said the chances were slim since it must have broken unrecognizably into pieces.

It was Susee’s heart that was now broken unrecognizably into pieces. Her soul  knew that the inscription was intact, albeit scarred, somewhere deep down in the rubble.


It was the year 2009.  Jaanu, after being laid off from her job in London in the recession of 2008 was on a career  break, back in India, biding time and tracing her roots.  A travel across her grandfather’s ancestral village, she felt would be a good way to heal her while at the same time help her trace her roots.
She rummaged about the ruins.  Amidst the thorny bushes that were scratching her all over she could recognize the rusted iron circumference of the gobar gas plant that once stood at the backyard.  
When tip toeing on the cement blocks which had slippery fungus grown all over them scattered among the weeds and thorny bushes she stumbled upon what she had been searching for.
                                              Sri Lakshmi  Nivas  -1914

Inscribed  in marble  under the green and black slush filled with mud and excreta.  She picked it up and cleaned it. She had heard of how, witnessing the fall of Sri Lakshmi Vilas,  had devastated  Susee's spirit. She could not wait to go back and show her ailing grandmother, what she had managed to salvage for her.   

This would have made a perfect gift for Susee for her 85th birthday.

Whitefield : 2010

Nee Jaanu thaney’... Susee juggled her  memory to recognize her granddaughter . It took her a herculean effort to try and speak, perhaps to  affirm to all those around her that she was alive and well.     

In the beginning, the memory lapses were intermittent, but now the memory itself was intermittent.
This was perhaps one such moment.             

Jaanu, took out the marble inscription and held it out before Susee’s eyes.

Susee's eyes expanded  in awe when she saw the familiar inscription. 

‘Valadu kaala eduthu vechchu vaamma ‘ ...Set your right foot ahead  and step into this auspicious beginning ...echoed an old woman’s voice.

Perhaps her memory cells struggled and brought back the memories of 1942, of Agaramangudi where she stepped into Sri Lakshmi Nivas as a young 16 year old bride.

Perhaps not.  This time it was a different beginning, perhaps into a different world.  

That was the last time her memory cells juggled and struggled. 
The next day the doctor in the nursing home, on his daily visit scribbled on the note pad and confirmed the last stages of dementia.  After a couple of days she was declared brain dead.

Her physical body died 9 days later.

To be concluded Z - Zephyrs of change 


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