Sunday, May 14, 2006

Savitri...Part I

The early morning light fought its way to the ground through the thick branches hanging out from the old banyan tree in front of the house. The sunlight wrapped itself around the branches, and the whole place bore a celestial appearance. Savitri walked upto the portico, opened the gate of the building, and watered the area with nonchalant ease. She had become accustomed to her daily chores, what with having performing the household duties with a dignified poise for the last thiry years. The pookara (flower seller) was punctual in his timings and at five in the morning, was ready to meet Savitri, his first customer of the day, with all the flowers collected from the nearby park. Savitri always made it a point to meet the pookara before he was swamped by the other ladies. That enabled her to get the flowers she wanted for the early morning prayers. She would then go inside to take care of the early morning chores. Senthil, the newspaper boy used to make his presence felt at almost the same time with a copy of Deccan Herald hurled perfectly that would get stuck between the window sills with a neat rustle, a perfect setting for Iyer to make his entry to the verandah. He would fold his dhoti to a nicety, spread the newspaper in front of him, read every minute detail from top to bottom inside out with a cup of fresh coffee brought by Savitri. Half an hour of the day's knowledge gained, and he would be ready to take to the streets in the name of early morning walk. That would mean a walk upto the Malleswaram Railway Station, and then once into the station, walk up and down the long platform as many times as the conversation with his fellow mates go on. Talks ranging from the current political crisis to the performance of the current Indian cricket team would fill the early morning talks. Then, a walk to the adjoining Raghavendra Idly store followed, with each of them occupying their usual positions on the wooden bench placed in front of the store. A bout of steaming idlies and chutney with everyday gossip was the norm of the day. If this was not enough, Iyer would be back at 8 in the morning to catch a glimpse of the morning news. It was also a different issue that they had all the time in the world, what with their only son happily married and living in a different city. He visited them once or twice a month with his wife and children to spend some time with his parents. It is never easy to leave your memories of childhood, the power of childhood keeps you pulling back, which is always a good thing. It helps you shy away from any wrong doings.

Savitri, in the meanwhile, finishes her morning prayers to the Lord. The old tape recorder chants out all the verses in a style that can be comprehended only by an ardent listener, but that does not perturb Savitri. By the time Iyer comes back home, she gets ready with her preparation for the morning brunch. It was pretty common for them to have their food in the morning for a meal which neither qualifies to be breakfast or lunch. Iyer is very meticulous in his food habits, so Savitri is very punctual when it comes to serving food for him. The vegetables are procured on a day to day basis from Ramu, who passes by the house with fresh vegetables laden on a mini-cart. Ramu has been supplying vegetables to every house on the street for the last 20 years and nobody bothers to buy anything from the market located on the 8th cross road. He was almost a part of family and would go out of the way to find out about the happenings in every house. It should hardly take more than half an hour to cross the street after selling his vegetables, but that was never the case with Ramu, who would end up parrying around for more than a couple of hours. He would have the details of every house in the street by the time he goes out to the next street. Ramu had always maintained very good relationship with the Iyer household. It was Iyer who translated his income into savings some years back in a cooperative bank. He had explained to him the importance of future and security, when Ramu had no idea of both the present as well as income. He lived out life one day at a time. Mornings would be spend selling the vegetables, and evenings in the arrack shop close to his house. All that changed after meeting Iyer. Now, he spends his evenings by driving a taxi, carrying tourists around the city. The initial investment was laid out by Iyer with the help of his friends from close business circles.

This was a routine which the Iyer family never deviated from. They had always got their priorities right and had planned out their life in such a way that it didn't bring hindrance to anybody, and also made sure that they were not at the receiving end of anybody else's. They also had the reputation of being a very likeable couple. Savitri, inspite of her busy household chores, always made it a point to devout time on temples and slokas. She would sit with her Thiruppavai, go through the various sthothrams, and keep herself awake in the afternoon, not watching the house-breaking serials, but spend time reading vedantic books. That in no way meant, that she was not interested in the latest happenings in the country. She would not miss a single one day match or a test match of cricket. She would engross herself completely, finishing her day's work quickly. Also, cricket match meant that Iyer would receive a good evening snack apart from Tea and boondi. They would be watching the match over a plate of bonda or bhajji. She would discuss the intricacies of the game and would give periodic opinions on the progress of the game.

But then, things had to change!!!!


1 comment:

  1. savitrim, senthil, ramu, most pathetic names that u could have come up with. and raghavendra idly corner? i would never eat in a place with that name. just kidding man!