Thanks, my friend, for staying with me on my life's journey.
I got married on 24th January 1973 to a wonderful person called Amrithavalli ( We shortened the name to Amritha as both of us did not like the ' valli' ). I was about 27 years and my wife was 22 years. We were second cousins, she being my aunt's grand daughter. Though we were in the same colony, we had not talked to each other before marriage.
After the wedding, we first visited Tirupathi (had to abandon our proposed visit to Tirumala due to Telengana agitation), and went on a long honeymoon covering Ooty, Mysore, Bangalore , Madurai , Trivandrum , Kanyakumari and Kodaikanal. On return from honeymoon , we had the mandatory lunches and dinners in all our relatives' houses and then left for Solapur . It would have been difficult for a new bride in a totally new environment to manage in the small sum of Rs. 400 , which was my net salary at that time. But Amritha coped very well and we were able to buy a fridge and some essential furniture. I also bought my first scooter, a second hand Lambretta. We spent only about seven months in Solapur, before we had to move to Vijayawada.
The six months that we spent at Vijayawada were noted for our extensive travels in the Inspection carriage (saloon). Cost of living was pretty cheap in Vijayawada. But since I was as mobile as the trains, we had to move to Secunderabad after six months.
Our life in Secunderabad was very enjoyable. If I am asked to name the best city in India for living, I'd say it is Secunderabad / Hyderabad. Raghu, my brother-in-law, stayed with us for about an year. One never got bored with Raghu around. I remember we used to laugh a lot at all sorts of silly things and had invented a few terms and phrases that got into the entire family's vocabulary. We saw a lot of films. Generally, we used two scooters for the three of us , though occasionally all three of us went on Raghu's scooter. We also had a lot of visitors and were visiting the zoo , museums, Golconda etc. so often that I used to call Salar Jung museum as Junk museum. My son, Harish, was born during this time. As is customary in the south, the first delivery was in the mother's place. Fortunately, I was in Madras at the time of delivery and so admitted Amritha in Railway hospital, Perambur. Harish was born on 12th September 1975. I got my transfer orders to Chittaranjan soon after and reached there in the winter of 1975.
Life in Chittaranjan was difficult, with a lot of power failures and with a small child. But again Amritha coped extremely well. Going to Madras was a problem as getting leave and reservation ( it was pre computerised reservation days ) were both difficult. The only saving grace was the presence of my eldest brother-in-law, Kannan (Narasimhan) and his family in Bhubaneswar on the way. N.Krishnamurthy, an year senior to me in service , K.Subramanian, Mohan Doss and I arranged pooled dinners and outings among the Tamilian officers. We also had an active Tamil magazine club. We were also seeing a film every Friday night. My parents visited us for the first birthday of Harish and we took them to Gaya and Varanasi.
In July 1979, I was transferred to Bombay on promotion. We stayed for just a month in Bombay. Then I went on training to Administrative Staff College of India at Hyderabad. During this period Amritha and Harish stayed with her parents in Madras with Harish joining a school in Tiruvanmiyoor. In October 1979, Amritha delivered a girl in Railway Hospital, Perambur, but unfortunately the baby died within a few hours. It was a traumatic experience and she took a few months to get over it.
In January 1980, I went to Kota on Westen Railway. It was an enjoyable two years. Amritha had a lot of domestic help at home, which included Gunasekharan, Bungalow peon and a maid in the out-house. We also had a very big garden which kept Amritha busy and happy. We used to play shuttle regularly in the open-air court that we had at home. We had an active officers' club and had dinners, housie etc. every Saturday. We also travelled a lot and saw the Taj for the first time. Less than two years later, we moved to Railway Staff College, Vadodara.
The six years that we spent in Vadodara was an enjoyable period for me as well as Amritha. She had good company with Mrs. Krishnamoorthy, Mrs. Jha , Mrs. Ramasubramaniam etc. She also took part in a few cultural activities that are part of any training institution. On 12th August 1984, she gave birth to Aarthi in the Railway hospital at Vadodara and was busy with the child till we left Vadodara in October 1987.
From 1987 when I moved to BARC till May 2002, Amritha and the children have lived in Bombay, though I went to Tinsukia between January 1996 and April 1998. We have lived in three houses in Mumbai - first in Anushakti Nagar from October 1987 to May 1990 , in Juhu from June 1990 to June 1995 and Badhwar Park , Colaba thereafter ( in fact four, if I count the stay with my brother-in-law, Narasimhan in Ballard Estate in May and June 1990 ). All the three places were good in their own way. Anu Shakti Nagar (BARC house) is an excellent colony with about 5000 flats and is very well-maintained. In Juhu (KVIC house) our house consisted of two small flats joined together and the location of the house was very convenient. The railway house ( in Colaba ) was on the 12th floor and had a beautiful view of the sea on all sides. Harish and Aarthi were happy in Anushakti Nagar, as they had good company. As far as creature comforts are concerned, railway is far ahead of the other departments. While Amritha had to do every domestic chore in Juhu ( with some help from me ), she had two assistants in Mumbai - Sunita and Gopal. Of course, in the 27 months that i was in Tinsukia, she had to manage the entire household including payment of electricity charges, banking etc. During that time, our family of four was residing in three places. I am sure that anyone else would have cribbed a lot. But she never did. Though it was a difficult period , the only relief was that I used to talk to her daily ( at 5.45 A.M. at quarter rate ) and the absence made us fonder of each other.
A lot of important things happened during our stay in Mumbai. Harish completed his schooling and did his graduation and post-graduation in Pune. He also got a job, first in Mumbai and was transferred to Pune in October 2001. Aarthi did her entire schooling from KG to 12th Standard in Mumbai (though in three schools and one college). she stood first in her school (St. Joseph's, Colaba) in the 10th Board examination. After getting good marks in 12th, she opted to study Graphic Design in Srishti School of Design, Bangalore.
In 2002, I decided to request my boss for a shift to Chennai so that we can take care of my bed-ridden mother and ailing father-in-law. Unfortunately my father-in-law passed away within a few days of my joining in Chennai. I was posted to ICF and opted for a railway house in Aynavaram. It is a spacious, though old, house with extensive garden area. We have a shuttle court at home. Amritha and I get up at 5.30 A.M. and walk in our compound for more than 30 minutes. We also play shuttle every day. Amritha is very happy to spend a lot of time in the garden. My mother (for whom I opted to move out of Mumbai) is with us from 1st June 2002 and my mother-in-law spends her time with us as well as with Amritha's siblings. So we get guests and also visit relatives. We find time to see films, concerts etc. We talk to our son and daughter twice or thrice a week. They also visit us as often as they can. Life couldn't be better.
Thanks to Amritha's excellent home management , I was able to acquire a house in Bangalore in 1990. I sold it in 1997 and acquired a flat in Pune. We have persuaded Harish (by agreeing to share a part of the capital expenditure) to acquire a flat in Chennai, where we hope to live after 2006. We have also collected a lot of wooden and cane furniture, more than 100 flowerpots and other articles ( more than three truckloads of them).
It is difficult to believe that our marriage is over 30 years old. We still enjoy the company of each other and have not allowed the marriage to become stale. In fact we had a romantic (surprise) outing to Kanchipuram and Ussoor (Hema's place) on our 30th Wedding Anniversary in January 2003. Every day we find something or the other to laugh about.
Our married life is a continuing love story.
I had made a Greetings Card for our 30th Wedding Anniversary listing some of the important memories for me. You can see Garden of Memories.
Hope you enjoy your journey with me.
Thanks & Regards,
Copyright © 2003 S.Parthasarathy. All rights reserved.