All she needs is Love: PART V
Communist Gospel according to Saint Lukose
Mariamma’s absence in class for three days made Lukose Sir worry. He enquired from her friends.
They said: ‘Mariamma has stopped her studies. Her mother delivered twins and Mariamma has to look after them’.
That was a shocking news for Lukose Sir. How can a bright student like Mariamma drop out from school? That too, a girl aspiring to be a judge! He decided to go to Mariamma’s house and meet her father.
Mariamma was washing the clothes of babies and the mother when Lukose sir walked into her house. As the well and the washing stone was quite in front of the house, all washing and brushing were done in full view of all the visitors. Men folk performed their lavish bath (twice daily) in full public view. Ladies bathed in the late evenings as darkness engulfed the area or, carry their buckets to the thatched shed behind the
Mariamma was singing loudly her Malayalam poem that she learned in the school while beating a thick white bed sheet against the big black flat stone. Lukose sir was amused to hear her singing the entire poem by heart. He coughed loudly to draw the attention of Mariamma or of the people inside the house. Mariamma didn’t hear the announcement of Lukose Sir’s arrival. She was enjoying her singing and clothe-beating.
Mariamma’s father was taking a nap on the parapet. He woke up, surprised to see Lukose Sir standing right in front of him. He disliked Lukose Sir. He strongly felt that Lukose sir is a communist. He found him many times talking to his labourers and forcing their children to go to school instead of working in the field. And Lukose Sir rarely comes to church, except on Christmas day and Good Friday.
‘Come sir, what’s news? Come inside and sit’ Mariamma’s father invited Lukose Sir.
At that time, Lukose sir was closely watching Mariamma and her rhythmic clothe washing.
‘Mariamma..’ Called her father loudly.
Mariamma quickly turned back and saw her Lukose Master. ‘Oh sir..’ She shouted loudly with joy and rushed to the veranda.
‘Please come inside sir!’ She was very happy to see sir. And she knew; only Lukose sir could convince her father to send her back to school.
Lukose sir went inside and sat on the mat put on the parapet. Mariamma’s father and Lukose Sir started chatting on various topics such as the weather, political reforms initiated by Sri MulamThirunal and the administration by his successor Maharani Pooradam Tirunal Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, who was a regent for her nephew Chittira Tirunal. Lukose sir criticized the reforms of Sri Chittira Thirunal, the new king for his slowness in administrative reforms and development, as compared to her predecessors.
Mariamma brought a large steel tumbler full of butter milk to Lukose Sir. She knew that sir woudn’t take tea or coffee. Lukose sir drank the entire butter milk in a single sip. After clearing the throat, he asked the most important question to Mariamma’s appachan (dad).
“Why, Mariamma is not being sent to school these days?”
Mariamma’s dad gave an immediate reply as if he was well prepared for the most expected question.
“I am not sending her to school any more. She has learned to read and write. That is more than enough.”
“ But she is one of our bright students. And she is aspiring to become a judge!’ Lukose Sir said.
Hearing that, Mariamma’s father started laughing rather loudly. Mariamma found it very sarcastic. Lukose Sir also didn’t like that response even a bit.
Mariamma’s father abruptly stopped his laughter and said: “If she goes to school, who will look after the twins? Who will assist her mother in the domestic chores?”
Lukose sir didn’t give any answer.
Mariamma quickly picked the steel tumbler and rushed inside the kitchen. Lukose Sir heard her sobbing inside.
Without giving any reply, Lukose sir got up. He took his umbrella which was hung on the rafters and started walking out disappointed. He could only sympathize with Mariamma’s plight and her father’s rigid plans.
Mariamma’s father said: “See Lukose, leave my daughter. I don’t intent to make her an Anna Chandy or a Sarojini Naidu. She will grow up learning all house hold chores and will in a few years’ time grace another aristocratic family by being a good cook and mother. Please don’t bring in your communist ideas to my house. We are happy as we are.”
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