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My maiden visit to USA – Chapter 11

” Oh, no. I never wanted you to break away from your family ” the bride’s mother assured Muthamma” the children will anyway, live separately and we will not be visiting sambandhies every alternate day , but at the most, once or twice a year . We will eat and come, then or eat in a hotel”
‘Get up, every one,” Raju commanded, if I stay for a minute more here, it will be bad for that woman.”
Surprisingly, the most important person in the meeting, Gowthami came forward and requested all of us to be seated.
”I apologize for my mother’s utterance unacceptable to any one, all the more, me ” She pleaded with folded hands. ” If my mother or any one from our family doesn’t want to visit or eat in your house, they are welcome to do so but I will not allow the disintegration of that closely knit bird’s nest. If my father were alive, he would not have allowed mother to behave the way she did . If you are satisfied with this assurance, you may proceed. I will be happy to become the daughter-in-law of your house.”
All of us were impressed by her matured talk but Amma wanted time to think over the issue. ”Thanks a lot Gowthami. We will come back shortly.
“On reaching home, Muthamma made a strong plea to allow her to live separately in a nearby house. Every one unanimously opposed. But she was firm . After a prolonged discussion, a compromise was reached. Muhamma and me would be shifting to the first floor of the same house.
Raju- Gowthami wedding went on well and they both left for USA. The irony of the destiny was that for Gowthami’s delivery of her first baby it was Muthamma who had to go to USA for help and not her mother or mother -in-law.
” Our way of living here will upset my mother and she will be like a fish out of water here ” said Gowthami,.” I don’t want Raju’s mother too here, as her absence will upset the household there ”
” We are shortly to land in the Heathrew airport from where I will be taking leave of you.
” BB was in a hurry to complete her life history, ” so let me be concise”
“When I went to UK for higher studies, the immigration officer at the Heathrew airport, while scrutinizing my papers, looked into my eyes carefully, looked at the address page of the passport and looked at me again. “Could you please wait for a while ?” he requested, ” I would like to talk for a minute ”
He did not appear to be very emotional as I was, when he revealed that he was none other than my own father. ” How is mom ?” he inquired, ” I will meet you in your apartment; I have noted down the address ”
He came to meet me with his wife and two children and we met often. I used to spend some week- ends in his house or he and his family with me . All those were fine. But I never had that emotional attachment with my biological father, as I had with my foster father or foster mother”
“I will try to get you some Indian food from my friend’s house, close by,”
BB said after leaving us at the Gate of departure of our flight to USA and returned with a few packets of the food we cherish most in a foreign country-‘thayir saadam!’
That was so delicious that my memory box opened automatically and a shining jewel fell out of it- P.B. Shelly’s ‘The Cloud ‘
BB and me sang in chores a few stanzas from that immortal poem. A few co-passengers also joined us and Ammalu and Parasu too, when we started dancing ::
“I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother’s breast,
As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder.
I sift the snow on the mountains below,
And their great pines groan aghast;
And all the night ’tis my pillow white,
While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,
Lightning, my pilot, sits;
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
It struggles and howls at fits;
Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move
In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
The Spirit he loves remains;
And I all the while bask in Heaven’s blue smile,
Whilst he is dissolving in rains”.
“Take care of him ” BB requested Ammalu, affectionately combing my hair while taking leave of us, ”he is still a child in mind”
“And a monster in behavior,” Parasu joked.
“You didn’t tell us about your mother’s reaction when she heard of your meeting with your father?” Ammalu asked BB, while she was about to leave. ” And did she come to meet him in London ? ”
”Muthamma had become more or less like a sanyasini, especially after my Appa’s and then my Amma’s death” . The ever jubilant BB became gloomy , for the first time. ”She never moved out of her house except once, during her advanced age. That was to go back to the hut where she was born, where her mother and other ancestors were born lived and died , where she brought me to this world.
Her sojourn there was too short. You can even say that she went there only to die and she died there-in that small bamboo hut, which she refused to part with, even for joining her husband ”
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