Kalavathi: Kala for me and for many relatives, friends, colleagues and even to my son who never addressed her as ‘Amma’ which means Mother in Tamil. Kala’s father is S. Ramamoorthy Dixit, an octagenarian, a Ganapadigal, is retirednow, after serving in the Archaeological Survey of India office. He is a Post Graduate majoring in History. My mother in law is no more, bless her soul. My father in law now lives in Delhi with his son, daughter and daughter in law. His other two daughters are married and they also live in Delhi.
Kala was the first born in her family. Her sister Vijayalakshmi is ten years younger to her, followed by Dr. Murali, M.D., D.M., and Lakshmi, M.A., M.Ed., and the last one is Sharada, B.A. (Sanskrit), who is 20 years younger to my wife! Kala’s father called her “Gundu” affectionately. She was his pet. The family is originally from Karur.
Kala attended school and college in Hyderabad. She had grown up there for twelve long years. She spoke, wrote and read excellent Telugu. She always addressed me “Emandi” which is the respectful way of addressing a husband in Telugu. She studied in Reddy Women’s College and obtained a Honours Degree in Botany and Chemistry.
She could also speak fluent Urdu, had a passable grasp of Kannada, and was good with English. She could sing well. She dressed well, moved easily with people holding her audience clinging to her words, eager and appreciative, and oh God, was she voluble. She can talk thirteen to the dozen, all full of sense, and ready with a good laughter.
Just around that time when her parents started to match alliances for her, they moved to Madras. Our houses were near each other in Triplicane – hers on Big Street and ours in Tiruvateeswaranpet. The only occasion we met each other before marriage was at our engagement function.
On this occasion, just to boost up my self-confidence, I took my cousin and nephew along, and they were both more handsome than me. So Kala was not sure which one was the prospective bridegroom. Anyway she must have been told later that the lean one with a tiny neck is the one. Both of us readily agreed for the alliance, and the process for the conduct of the marriage started rolling.