Every rock has a sculpture within, if you know to carve it out ”

Meera offered some fruits and Arathi to God accompanied by ‘ Jaya Jagadees Hare!’ song.

Athai hugged Pitchu and Liz, in the typical Hyderabadi style. ” Welcome my children” she said when Pitchu fell at her feet and blessed, ” be happy always and make your parents too happy as far as you can ”

” I have loved you as a baby and I continue to love you ” She said wiping his tears.

” Athai, I am sorry to give you the trouble of coming over here ” Meera pressed athai’s legs and added,” but being the senior most in the family, your guidance is a must for us, before we take Liz to mama ”

” Nice of you Meera ” Athai encouraged her, ” though much younger to Perias, you are much wiser than him ”

After flashing a mischievous smile at me, he asked Pitchu, ” when did you meet Elizabeth ?”

” They did their PG together and are colleagues now” It was Meera who replied to athai. ” They live together for the past few months but are NOT married ”

Meera paused and looked at Athai face. It became cloudy for a moment but soon regained its clarity.

“So, Perias, as usual, your information was half-cooked ? ‘kudukkalae potta karappu’- one who is always in a hurry for nothing ” Athai looked at me and continued, ” how is that even your son was in the dark ?”

” Athai, we didn’t inform him too” Said Pitchu.

Meera further explained that boy and girl living together, before wedding is common in western countries, the idea being that it would help them to come to know each other better.

Then, she quoted from the starting scene of ‘ King Lear’ to explain how it was common, even in Shakespeare’s time, for the women to have children before a formal marriage. In fact, in her own family there were some couple, who had lived together, before marriage and they were leading a happy life now.

“Whereupon she grew round- wombed, and had indeed, Sir,
A son for her cradle ere she had a husband for her bed.”

Athai did not utter a word. She opened the fridge and enjoyed some coke and asked, “Shall we go for a walk?”

We all walked down to the garden in front of our house and sat on the lawn.

Athai is an old matriculate who did proud to her teacher Sri. C.S.Sesha Iyer of Motilal High School,Palakkad, when she conveyed to Liz, what she wanted to say, in a clear language, though at times, she had problem in following Liz’s accent. In a few words, she made Liz to understand that though her people were orthodox and traditional, they were pure in thoughts, adaptable, tolerant and forgiving and would be happy to welcome Liz as their daughter-in-law. Pitchu is an intelligent boy who loves his family and therefore he would not take any decision which would go against the interests of the family, because of the unceasing flow of love between them.

As expected by them, she finds Liz friendly, charming and intelligent. Being from a different country and of a different culture, differences are bound to be there and she is sure that Liz, with her intelligence and academic background, would be able to adjust and accommodate the wishes of the family members.

That was a wonderful presentation and only athai could do it so well. Seshumama would have come no where near his sister and Alamu mami’s ability, less said, the better.  If Elizabeth were introduced to the Seshu couple first, they would have, because of their attachment to traditional values and affection to Pitchu, discolored the reception and disfigured the matter. Pitchu and Liz would have found it very embarrassing. Therefore, I appreciated Meera’s foresight in requesting athai to come to ‘Anantha Jyothi’ and arrange this meeting,.

Pitchu and Liz were very much impressed by the initial treatment they had from the senior most member of the family and Pitchu knows that athai has the final say in the family.

” Look, Meera, you and Elizebeth are of the same age and she will follow your language better” athai told Meera.”as a third person but well wisher of our family, your suggestions will be most unbiased and acceptable to all of us; I hope Elizabeth also will welcome my suggestion.”

“Well done Athai ! You should have been in our External Affairs Ministry” I thought.

“Elizabeth, don’t come to any hasty decisions”, Meera said without beating around the bush.
” Pitch’s dad and mom are very conservative, orthodox and traditional minded and more over, they are very proud of their culture and beliefs. Pitch loves his parents and any acts which hurts them will be unacceptable to him. You may wonder why parents should have a say at all in the weddings of their children. That is our tradition. Marriage is sacrament for a Hindu.The wife is his partner in life and no religious rituals are performed without her. She is his counselor in counsel, servant in action, mother in affection and companion in play, according to our holy epic, Ramayan. it is in the heart of every Hindu boy that he should live with his wife till the end of his  life; and for the wife, husband is her world. When they are preparing for such an important event in their life, the parents, who have nothing but the well being and happiness of their children in their mind and  who have undergone the experience of living together as man and woman and therefor are expected to know the current of married life better, take the lead in finalizing the match. In many cases their decision works well and helps the new pairs. Please remember, that in the arranged marriages, the parents’ roll ends with proposing and suggesting. The final decision is always with the boy and the girl.

Apart from this, Pitchu is the eldest son of the family and according to our custom, he is next to his father in carrying the family tradition and burden. He has two sisters to be married and two brothers who are yet to complete their studies and has therefore to support his family, not only morally but financially too.
.
Under these circumstances, it is for you to take a decision whether you would like to go ahead with the proposal which Pitch has made. No doubt, for Pitchu’s family also it is a hard decision to take and the society will not approve of this alliance; but that is secondary.

So, take as much time as you want, if necessary go back to US and discuss with your people, weigh the pro and cone and come to a conclusion .

If I have talked more than necessary, I seek the Pardon of athai”

Athai and Liz smiled; Pitchu simply nodded his head.

This sleepy , care-free girl, who takes life very casually, who spends her leisure hours reading novels, singing and dancing, has overtaken the 80 year old lady in putting things in the proper perspective, very diplomatically and most unambiguously.

It was Judge V.R.Krishna Iyer who said, “Every rock has a sculpture within, if you know to carve it out.”

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