Babu’s house at Janakipuram was leading and reputed house in the village,known for its joint family system with as many as 12 members in it.Perhaps, there was a function in the house.Yes, it was the betrothal between Mohan, the first grandson of Ramakrishnan and one Latha from Chennai.Both were employed as software engineers in a leading multinational company in Chennai.You could have smelt the sumptuous feast from the house that had tempted your nostrils.The guests who attended the function,after finishing their delicious meals, took leave with betelnut leaves in their mouth and a tamboolam, in their hands.The marriage had been fixed two months hence.It was the first marriage for the younger generation in the joint family.
It all began in the marriage.The seeds of dismemberment soaked in acid were already sown by the bride’s mother as follows:
“You are bound to look after your husband only.It is not your fate to be a servant in the joint family.Mind it.If you have a separate family at Chennai, it is well and good.After all life is to enjoy.Please see that your husband tow your line.That’s all I can say.”
These words were enough to inflame the bride to dismember the joint family.Having their work place in Chennai, Mohan could easily convince his elders to set up a separate family in the city.When the entire joint family went to Chennai to set up a separate family for Mohan and his wife,they did not know,a dent was already made in their joint family.
But the bride was very clear.Having already cajoled her husband to her line,she used her sharpened tongue as her weapon to severe the threads of the well knit joint family in no time to strengthen the nuclear family of her own.Her words deeply wounded the elder members of the joint family.After setting up a separate family in Chennai, by purchasing a new flat for the newly married couple, they virtually severed their connection with them. .
Thus the newly born nuclear family with only two members began its life in right earnest.Being newly married, the couple were in the family way to whom the sex was the primary concern.But the couple pretended to forget that they were Indians living in India, that had the second highest population in the world.So very soon,the newly married couple were ready to add one more member to the population of India and the gestation period rightly began for the newly married bride within months.She suffered with giddiness,frequently vomitted and rushed to the doctor to check her up.On getting confirmed that she was pregnant, the woman suffered all alone, without getting any help from any elder or from any quarter.Her husband besides attending his wife, shuttled between his office and his home, mostly having his eatables in the office canteen.Unable to cook, the pregnant woman simply had whatever her husband provided.Then followed the routine medical check ups and the periodical leaves, etc…
Very soon the two member nuclear family became a three member nuclear family with the arrival of a new member, a newly born baby.The couple heaved a sigh of relief for a while.Then their real woes began.The women member of the family who gave birth to the baby, did not want to mother feed her baby for long, else she would lose her beauty, despite the specific advice given by their doctor to mother feed her baby for atleast for a period of six months.She stopped the mother feeding after a month.Her husband concurred in her decision.They decided to feed their baby through cow milk or artificial health drinks.The husband ran to mals and the department stores to buy health drinks for the baby.The wife, after stopping the mother feeding, atlast managed to find out a suitable bra for her from a Naidu Hall shop in Chennai, to restore her beauty to the predelivery stage.As the child grew, the husband even suggested that they might call up his mother or any elder member from the joint family to look after their baby for a period of atleast one year.The wife strongly objected and turned down the idea.The very next day, they decided to admit the baby in a nearby screech spending a considerable amount.The couple left their baby in the screech at 0900 a.m and then picked up their baby at 0600 p.m.
The child mostly resided at the screch.It was pathetic to note, whenever, the grand parents of the baby came to see the baby, they could see the baby only after the baby came out of the screech.Unfortunately, the baby did not enjoy their company much and so it did not have any affinity with its grand parents.The baby knew its parents, and then it knew more about the employees of the screech.
Now the baby was over 2 years old.By that time, the mother of the baby was now conceived for the second time and she was awaiting the next baby.Frankly speaking, the carrying mother was weak and not able to look after herself.She had no time to look after her first baby.Hence, she along with her husband decided to dump the baby in a costly montessory school whose school bus would pick up the baby and then drop her back after the school was over.The purpose of admitting the child in the montessory school was primarily not to prepare it for any competitive exam but only to while away its time at the school.
After the arrival of the second child into the nuclear family, the couple struggled like anything to rear both of their children.When the first child was grown up, they admitted the child into a nearby boarding school, while the second child was shuttling between the screech and home and then took its asylum in the montessory school.When the primary school was over, the parents admitted the second child also into a boarding school.
Fortunately, the nuclear family restricted itself with two children, mainly because, it could not afford to have any more or rear them up.In fact, the couple had neither time nor energy to have another child.
However,after a period of ten or fifteen years, the mother of the children developed breast cancer, for which, the family spent heavily and even got indebted.The husband, out of family worries had blood pressure, diabetes and other ailments.
The two children who had their education in their boarding school from their childhood days, realised well that they had got to be self-reliant and so they studied well and came up with flying colors in their studies, one of them becoming an engineer and another one a doctor.Having been deprived of love and affection for a long time, both the children, when grown up,fell in love very soon.With their parents approval both of them got married.
The Engineer was far away in Pune with his wife.The doctor was in Delhi practicing medicine with his wife, who was also a doctor.
Both the husband and wife, the architects of the nuclear family, retired from their service.The wife had to go on voluntary retirement on medical grounds.Both of them were in Chennai, in their own flat, speaking over phone with their sons and daughters-in-law frequently.They almost forgot the joint family at Janakipuram from which they sprang up.The wife was in her advanced stage of breast cancer, despite successfully undergoing a surgery for the removal of her right breast, in her son’s hospital at Delhi.
Every day, the aged parents were looking at each other rather meaningfully.In particular, the husband was consoling his wife,”Don’t worry,my dear; I will take care of you, until my last breath.”The ailing wife, reclining in her bed, smiled at her husband rather weakly.