Stray thoughts in memory of my wife Nirmala who died in August, 2019.
My Life , My Wife.
Both are inseparable, this is what I believed through out. But destiny decided different. My wife Nirmala left my life in a huff in the second week of august 2019.
She came into my life alone and left alone.
No third person at her bed side except me at that miserable hour. Though the doctors at Apollo declared the death later, I still believe she breathed her last in my hands.
Rich tributes were paid in her memory at a commemorative family and friends gathering held during the ceremonial function. Most of the speakers who showered all praises on her belong to my side. This is a rare gesture she received from in laws side which she richly deserves.
Our marriage took place much against the will of her parents. At that time I was not even a graduate. Unsettled in life. A small job with a meagre salary. No parent on the earth would come forward to fulfil the wish of their only daughter who decided to sail in life with such a person.
But it became true. She married me rather than I married her. May be this is the reason for her to exonerate all my misdeeds as a life partner.
Now, I do not hesitate to say some good words or remember her good deeds. But I should have done this before she left from my life.
I am now leading a life almost in such a manner which she might have liked. In fact, she wanted to see me in the same way during her life time. But what is the use. Too late.
I have so many repentances. As a husband, I miserably failed to provide a peaceful and minimum comfortable life. My salary was Rs 275 when she came to Vijayavada to lead a life with me immediately after a simple, simple than the word simple, marriage at Tirumala on 16th December, 1971. When we shifted to Hyderabad to join in All India Radio along with two blessed kids, salary rose to Rs.500 or so. Those were horrible days for her to manage the house and an irresponsible husband who always think that a husband’s duty is dutifully ends with handing over his monthly salary to his wife on the first day of every month and forgets rest.
Then she thought that this is not the way to run the show. Since she sacrificed her education also for the sake of me, she has no other way to assist the family except opening a child care centre to assist the office going couples.
Thus she started a childcare centre by name ‘Amma Vodi’ (Mother’s lap) in our single bed room rented house in Vivek Nagar, Chikkadapally near Tyagaraya gana Sabha. In the initial days no parent came forward to join their kid in such a place where a bare minimum facilities are not available.
One fine morning, a couple came to our place in hurry and left her child saying they would return in the evening after their office hours to talk and settle the other matters.
Evening came. They did not turn up. 7 pm. 8 pm. Time was rolling fast. No sign of the kid’s parents. Worry started. If they do not come back what we have to do with this small boy whose name is also not known, or his parents details. But my wife was in a balanced state. She said with confidence.
‘I would raise this child also as a third one along with our two kids’.
I have no words to say.
At last the parents of the boy came late night with profound apologies for the delay and inconvenience caused. I got relieved.
The child’s name is James. He was the first kid in the centre for a long time to come. Slowly, through hearsay, the number started increasing. Some more admissions took place. My wife never demanded a particular fee. They used to pay according to their affordability. I remember vaguely that on an average the fee was Rs.30 per month per child. The strength grew up to 25 kids when we left to Moscow. Ammavodi remained as a proof of my wife’s will power and commitment for family. She employed two maids. During their absence (leave) she is used to do all the sundry jobs normally performed by every mother to their kids without any hesitation. She used to take care of them with lots of motherly affection. Even after decades, the parents remember my wife for the services she rendered towards their kids during the upcoming days. Her income on Ammavodi was sufficient to pay the school fee and books of Sandeep and Santosh besides riksha puller charges. (14-02-2021)
(Some more reminiscences next time)