Musings for a responsible society

Amidst the dark and grey shades increasingly engulfing, invading and piercing deeper and deeper, let me try to enjoy the little smiles, genuine greens, and the gentle breeze. Oh! Creator! If you don't exist, my vain!
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The Heartbeats of Love

All She Needs is Love   Part-VII

The Heartbeats of Love

Mariamma peeped through the windows of the bedroom to see the guests of the day. Two men in their fifties, one lady of around 40 years, and a young man in his early twenties were sitting on the veranda accompanied by Joseph, who is a marriage dallal (whose job is to introduce prospective matches to the parents of the men and women of marriageable age). 

Joseph is a familiar person in the household, as he used to come with marriage proposals for Mariamma’s aunt. After undergoing several such ordeals, nothing fructified into a marriage and Mariamma’s aunt decided to become the bride of the Lord. She joined the Congregation of Mother of Carmel, which has its origin in the year 1866 at a small village called Koonammavu in Kerala. Mariamma’s aunt was happy at the convent, and she got the opportunity to study in English School and became a teacher in the St Aloysius Upper Primary School.

Dallal Joseph objectively moderated the proud presentation of family virtues by both parties. While Mariamma’s Appachan mentioned about the number of persons from their lineage who were selected to be priests and nuns, the elderly man from the other side, Thomman, did not want to
be far behind. He went several steps up in their lineage to link his  ancestors to be the ones who received St Thomas, the disciple of Jesus in AD 52  and constructed the church in Nilakkal in AD 54 in a place near to Sabarimala hills.

Mariamma’s mother served them the snacks along with the bananas from their own garden. Mariamma’s Father and his elder brother Ouseph keenly watched the guests engrossing themselves in relishing the avalosunda and rusks brought from Thomas Chettan’s house. 

Once they were through with eating even the last piece of avalosunda, Mariamma’s Appachan called out for coffee. Now, it was the turn of Mariamma to come out to serve the coffee to the guests. 

While serving, Mariamma’s appachan announced to the guests: ‘Mariamma is serving you the coffee made by her out of the milk of our goat. Taste it and tell how it is!’. 
All men had their eyes on Mariamma and not on the coffee pots. Mariamma glanced at the young man sitting on the corner stool. He took the pot without looking at her.

Dallal Joseph came back after leaving them upto their boundary. Mariamma quietly prayed. She wanted them to say that they don’t wish to pursue the proposal. Not that she didn’t like the young man, but she didn’t want to get uprooted out of her lovely garden with trees full of sweet mangoes, loving twins, cow, goats, neighbours and the kurisu palli. But, at the same time, she got an instant liking for that young man who sat on the corner stool.

 Dallal Joseph told loudly to Mariamma’ appachan: ‘Aruvithara people liked the family and Mariamma. They expect at least 5000 chakram and 5 sovereign. They say, it is not necessary to show the girl to Devasyachan. We need to inform them our decision. That’s it!’

Mariamma got confused. Who is Devasyachan? Was he not that round faced handsome young man who took coffee from her without looking at her? She didn’t want to clarify with her parents. It was Ouseph’s wife who told her that marriage is proposed with Devasyachan the elder son of the Aruvuthura couple who came to see her, and not with the young man, who came along with them. He is their second son.

Suddenly, Mariamma became silent. She felt a little unhappy. She never wanted to marry till a few hours ago. Has one glance at that young man changed her totally? She couldn’t sleep well that night. She forgot the twins, mango tree, goats and the cow. She tried to guess the name of that young man.  And she hated the character named Devasyachan.

 First time, on that fourteenth birthday she felt that she is no longer a child.  She did not take the slate to scribble as she used to do. She forgot Lukose Sir too!

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  1. Historicising grandma is a difficult exercise,where one is to cautiously adjust to emotions and feelings and look at a figure who is part and parcel of your life.We have seen a number of grandmas,but how many of us tried to understand them more than a common-sensual process.Here,I see the work of a sociologist(historical sociologist)in contextualizing the grand mother in time and space.Well done.Others may follow the initiative and take up cases from their personal spaces,because several such spaces constitute the public domain.We have written volumes on Lakshmi Bhai and Accamma Cherian,there are other great heroines left untouched because they were or are not known.Let us make them also known.Listen to their voices for history;vioces from the margins:histories too from the margins.
    Sebastian Joseph
    Asst professor in history
    UC College,Aluva


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