The Houses I have lived in

March 11, 2007 at 4:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Yesterday, we formally endered our new home, warmed milk, evoked God’s blessings and remembered Kala who was instrumental in Raju’s making this investment.  It will be a few days more before the house is finally ready for occupation and hopefully by next Saturday, the 17th March, we should be moving in with bag and baggage.

This set me thinking about all the houses I have lived in,   as a young boy, bachelor and as married man and now a widower.  I have mentioned about most of them earlier but now I am bringing all to a head.  All these houses have different connotations and evoke different memories.

I have a vague memory of having been told that as a baby in arms and as a very small child I was in a house in Palani, in South Tamil Nadu, famous for its Murugan Temple.  The only reference I remember hearing about Palani was that when my grandmother was pregnant with her youngest son, the family saw a cobra on the wooden beam under the ceiling and prayed to God that if the snake didn’t harm anyone, they will name  the child in the memory of that Cobra.  Of course it did not harm anyone and the child was named Nagasubramanian.

I had lived in Madurai for eight years and had my elementary and middle schooling there.  Madurai is where I had one of my very few friends, and he was Sankaranarayanan.  He belonged to Naidu caste and I think their mother tongue was Telugu.  His was the only family all of whom as a unit used to sit and do Yogasanas every morning.  If I remember right, his uncle, Periyappa in Tamil, was a Deputy Collector or something, and his father was in Customs and Excise Department. I used to visit him at home often and we went wandering to the Railway overbridge and beyond.  I renewed his friendship later when we met in Madras.  I lost a baby brother who succombed to some fatal fever. 

I and my next sister Soundaram studied in Madurai because my parents were away in Chittaranjan, where my father was working in the Locomotive Works.  My sister Annapoorni  spent perhaps a couple of years there.

 My college years were spent in Madras, with just a year’s stint in Kanchipuram where I went to College for my Pre-University Class.  I remember a house in Villiwakkam where we lived.  I cannot exactly remember which year.  But I know that I lost a baby sister named Bhanu while we lived in Villiwakkam.  As a matter of fact, though I am the eldest living child  of my parents, I am not the first child because my mother had an abortion earlier.  I was equally at home in our smaller house as well as in my Periyappa’s larger house.

When I completed my Master’s course in History and was awaiting my results, I registered in the Employment Exchange and immediately asked to take up an entrance exam to enter Defence Account Services.  Having cleared the exam, I got my first appointment as Temporary Upper Division Clerk, in the Defence Accounts Department, Poona.  In Poona, I lived first in Jew Street and later at a nearby street, both in Rasthapet.

My life having taken a sudden flip, I returned to Madras and lived with my parents and sisters until around a year after my marriage.  Then Kala and I set up separate house and lived at four different addresses in Tondiarpet, returning to my father’s house for a period just before my mother died.  We sent our son Raju to live in his maternal grandparents house in Delhi when he was around 2 years of age.  We recalled him home within a year.  He started going to school.  We had to sell our house because there was a legal attachment on the property and we had no other financial source to pay off debts.  Back to Tondiarpet.

We had slowly managed to invest in a house of our own in Maraimalai Nagar, where we lived for about eight years, and returned to live in the city only when Raju was nearing the end of his school life.

We stayed in Babu Rajendra Prasad Street in West Mambalam, Madras for a few years, during which time Raju joined IIT and Chitra attained puberty.  When our landlord wanted to sell his house to someone, we shifted residence to Chromepet.  In this house we never had shortage of water.  But this is where Kala’s life took a worse turn, with her knee problem getting more and more painful, finally resulting in her undergoing surgery to fix metal knee joint on her right leg.  She had a near fatal accident which worsened her travails, and she had to eventually resign her job.

By then Raju found his job placement and been in Hyderabad.  I was trying to get relieved from my job, and sent Kala and Chitra off to Hyderabad to live with Raju.  I could get relieved only after six months, and joined my family.

We were living in our first rented house in Hyderabad for a year after which we shifted to our present premises.  In the meanwhile Kala had been consulting the Ortho Specialists and had her knee transplant removed, her kneecap removed and her leg fused  into a straight stump with no joint action in the middle.

Though our stay in Hyderabad started on a happy note, because of Kala’s on and off hospitalisation, surgeries, corrective surgeries, incessant consultations, the deterioration of her health and her ultimate passing away, all this took the pleasure out of  our shifting to Hyderabad.  Kala looked forward to a happy time relived in Hyderabad but fate or God or the times, willed it otherwise for her.

But the happy ending is that as per Kala’s wish Raju had invested in a house of his own and in a few days’ time, we will be at the end of our quest for a Zion of our own. 

I always miss someone whom I needed most.  I missed Kala when her dream house nearly was ready.  I miss Chitra’s presence when we are going to shift to our own place because she is living so far away and can visit us only once a year.

I am happy for Raju, because like a true man, he is married to a good woman, and to make her happy he has built her a house she likes very much.  Ultimately it is their happiness that counts most.


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