MADRAS: CHAPTER ONE
A story which came to my mind set in colonial India. Hope you enjoy reading this.
He gazed steadily at the telegram unaware of everything, oblivious to all the world! There was a pleasant breeze in the verandah, Janani played with her marbles outside with her friends. The neem tree, ever lush, graced the front yard. But all was chaos in his head.
“Father died. Condolences. Position vacant. Apply per father’s wishes. Colonel Kishore”
His mind was half dazed, he still could not digest the fact but with the steady deaths that he’d already witnessed in the neighbourhood, and with his own matured manhood, he tried desperately to collect himself and take on responsibility now. Yes, Chandru was such an youth, he knew the burdens of living in a plagued nation.
He took a deep breath, shook away all uncertainity and distress and called out, “Janani”.
She left her playful prances and game and ran over to him with fond abandon.
“Give this to mother” he said in an unusually gruff voice.
Janani snatched it playfully and ran into the house. Sadly, he looked at her blue pattu pavadai and hair adorned with jasmines, she had been pampered and used to a happy life, indeed, Janani was born six years after him, by which time, their family had become quite wealthy due to his promotions and inheritance of a small fortune left by his aunt. She had never known a day of hunger, they had curd and milk whenever they’d wanted which was considered a luxury in those days but now it all must change drastically.
It may seem unusual to the readers as to how Chandru, a young youth could calmly contemplate all this after the death of his own dear father, but such was the lot of men in those days. He had long known about the consequences of such an instance and knew how to counter it and carry on or so he thought.
There came a wild wailing from inside the house and he rushed in, eyes welling with tears. His mother had broken down against the wall, rocking pitifully and tearing the air in front of her in an anguished frenzy and he broke down too thudding his back against the wall and swallowing hard! Janani just stared with big naive eyes, crying silently! Yes everything must change and he must go!