I was married to man working as driver in Dubai. We have two girls , still in school , when the sad news reached that he died in an accident. All the villagers came to offer condolences and we had to wait for two days , for the dead body to be brought here for cremation. I felt numb ad could not cry. I have become a widow at twenty five

Through the good offices of the villagers , I was employed as maid in a play school , walkable distance away from home. The play of urchins enlivened my heart and brought money also , thogh not much. Some months passed . One day, Leela , m y child hood friend, came to see me. It was then that the sorrow eating my heart , burst out and I wept on her shoulders…

“Come Medini , do not cry. Come with me to Bombay ; I will fix you up in the factory where I am employed . Get ready . Let us go as soon as my leave is over.”

We bought some cloths , umbrella and a bag and went by Mangla express. It was my first journey outside Kerala and I was thrilled to see the scenery . In Bombay it was raining heavily and I found it difficult even to walk.

The next day I joined as clerk in the stores section of a factory manufacturing tyres

.. My salary was two thousand ; my friend and I stayed in the same room.. My boss was a Marathi , quite elderly and well behaved. I wrote a letter to mother-in-law at home.

On Sundays , we went to the Mahalakshmi temple . A lot of people visited the temple daily. Leela has many friends and all expressed sympathy for me . They all told me to marry again. I said:”Who will marry a widow with two children?”

“You are young and beautiful ; many will offer their hand .”

“But now , my priority is to settle my children , “ I retorted.

Some two years passed smoothly ; then came the bolt from the blue-my daughter is missing. When the phone came , I applied for leave. My boss booked a seat by the next available flight and I went home much vexed and ready to receive any bad news. It was my second daughter that was missing . They had informed the police. Our neighbours believed that she has run away with the auto driver. I was relieved ; love marriage is no crime . But , at least , she could have chosen a man with better status.

I went to the sea shore with Surabhi , my first daughter . “Suru , do you think that I neglected you and did not give enough love?”

“Oh no ; we love you Mom. It was my sister who was neglecting her studies and went to see cinema with the driver. I cautioned her , but it was of no use. Most probably , she may be pregnant. “

“After plus two , I shall take you to Bombay . there are good colleges there. “ We sat there until it was dark. The sea consoled me. Soon the lovers came with a marriage certificate and photogra of the couple. We received them gladly and then she went to her husband’s house ; she was only fourteen years old and stopped going to school . Their family was quite well off .

I returned to Bombay. Leela consoled me:”Marriages are made in heaven, she is lucky to be in love. I envy her.”

My boss too shared the same sentiment. He still look smart and once told me:” Madam , I like you . You know I am already married and divorced. Do not ask me why. Think of my proposal with a cool mind . If you are ready … “

I cut him short:” Nothing till my daughter is settled.” He looked disappointed.

Almost at the same time , a man came and talked to me in Leela’s room:”I am your husband’s friend. I had come to your marriage and liked you at that time itself. Leela told me all about you . I am ready to marry you.” “Thank you ; wait till my daughter is settled; at least, till she gets a job”

When I brought her to Bombay , I took a separate room and saw Leela rarely. After studies , she too was employed in our factory as a clerk and all went well until…

I had taken half a day’s leave due to a headache . When came to the factory , I heard voices of laughter from the Boss’s room. I went near and slightly opened the door. My daughter was sitting in his lap , with her legs on either side of the chair and they were kissing…

I quietly withdrew and ran to see Leela . When I emptied my heart , I felt relived. Leela :”I shall write to the man who proposed to you.”




Our only daughter had to be taken to our family Doctor for a check up , because she had occasional memory loss . She may suddenly forget what she was doing . Sometimes she could not answer the teacher what was being taught .She was in her tenth class and her teacher called us to explain this.

The Doctor examined her and advised consultation with specialists. After a series of tests , scanning etc. they came to the conclusion that it was a rare case of cancer. My wife began to cry. Of course , our daughter was not present when he disclosed this. “Madam , do not think that there is any immediate danger to her life. It is just the beginning . There has been many developments in this field. Be brave .”

We decided to withdraw the girl from school. My wife began to coach her at home , as I was too busy in my work in a multinational company.

We decided to keep this a secret and began the search for a boy for her. Brother-in-law had many contacts at home in Keralam . (We were in Delhi) My wife went home and soon the mission succeeded . The boy was a bit more aged, but had a big estate and was wealthy.

They saw the girl and my daughter too liked him.

I took leave for two weeks and the marriage took place without much fanfare. My wife remained there with my daughter as we had no house in Keralam.

Exactly after one year I became a grandfather! This was a great relief for us . The new born was named Subhash. He had no defects and all were happy. My daughter continued to take medicines secretly .

Now my wife decided to come back.

After about seven months , I received this letter.

“Dear Papa ,

My husband asked me what medicine I am taking . When I said it was for my mental health, his father became angry. ‘Why was this fact hidden from us?’, he asked. My husband too began ill treating me . It is intolerable here. Please take me home.

Your loving daughter Renu.”

So she was brought back. Then came a divorce notice . In the circumstances , we agreed and Renu became a grass widow. My grief was short lived. The boy became a source of joy. Our Doctor said the boy will not be affected by its mother’s illness in any way. My wife became a devotee of Lord Ayyappa . there is a temple in Noida. She used to take Renu and her son there daily . On Sundays I too would accompany them . Many Keralites come there . One young man became very much attached to the mother and son. He was unemployed . I arranged a job for him in my company.

My wife said:”This boy is educated and well behaved. Shall we propose alliance with him?”

“What is the hurry?”

But he himself told us:“We are in love .”

“Do you know about her illness?”

“It is not her fault. I shall keep her happy . Her life is in Lord’s hands.

We thanked Ayyappa !


My wife has been complaining about her stomach trouble, for the past one year. The doctors in Mother Hospital , Trichur failed to correctly diagnose the cause of the illness .
At the suggestion of my daughter-in-law , she was referred to Ashwini Hospital near Trichur North bus stand , where , after extensive tests , it was found that her stomach is being eaten away by ulcer . Tomorrow , is the surgery. My daughter Leena has come from Delhi and is with her mother. Let us all pray for her health!



As the only daughter of wealthy business man , I was much pampered by my father.

After graduation , I did not know what to do. I hated business. My friends and I used to spend time , in restaurants and cinema halls , avoiding boys , who are interested only in sex and wine.

At that time , a Madrasi was appointed as accountant in our company. He is small and very gentle , always smiling . My efforts to befriend him failed , as he is always busy in his work.

One Sunday, I invited him to have dinner in a restaurant. Then I learned that he is from Kerala. He said it is actually Keralam and Trichur is his town. I said I am eager to see that area and extracted a promise to take me there, when he went home the next time. My friends asked me whether I am in love. I laughed:”He is like an innocent  boy , may be younger than me.”

It is difficult to get leave for Sanku (Sankaran is the full name) except in exceptional circumstances. To attend his sister’s marriage, he was allowed one weeks’ absence and I told father that I too will accompany him. To save time, we went by plane. It was nice to see Keralam . We got down at Nedumbassery and went by road to Trichur. All the villages are continuous ,  and looks like a forest. His home stands on the edge of a rice field . Both his mother and sister talks broken English but do not know Hindi at all.

The marriage was at Guruvayoor , the famous temple town  and took only a few minutes . The couple garlanded each other , that is all. The dinner was in a hotel. I took video of the proceedings and the scenery, almost everywhere we went, as the whole country is a picturesque scene. “Sanku, it is a pity you have to work in Bombay. Can’t you get a job here?” He smiled. I have never heard him talk. “Yes, Sir or Yes, Madam”-that is all he ever said.

“Do not call me Madam , I am Meenakshy. Call me Meenu.”

He smiled . I began helping father in his business. From eight in the morning till ten in the night , we three were working hard. Fther increased Sanku’s salary to fifty thousand . In addition to keeping the Accounts and preparing balance sheet for auditors to check , he found ways to save Income Tax . So his salary was less than what he deserved.

For my work , he gave me ten thousand. I learned the ins and outs of the company and father was pleased. We did not realize the passage of time. I became thirty and felt that I should marry. Sanku never opened his heart. On Sundays we used to go out. Once my friend Susheela saw us and called out. Sanku remained there but I went to her.

“Have you not been married ?” She asked . I told my difficulty. “You are a fool. Try him in the bed room. Remove your cloths. Any Vishwamithr will fall to your charms.”

I tried that also. But he remained calm. I removed his underwear ; the thing remained small and sluggish. I went to a Doctor alone. He wanted to see Sanku also. Then he gave some advice and medicines and things to eat to increase semen. After about one year , I became pregnant . I told father I wanted to marry Sanku.MINUTES,COUPLE


It happened way back in 1993.
I was re-employed in Konkan Railway at Karwar. Our office was in the town itself. I was alone, my wife having gone to Delhi, to help my daughter, who had given birth to a girl.
After office hours, I wandered aimlessly. The sea shore is very near and offers fresh air, and its attraction never ends. Then a visit to the temples of Shreeram, Hanuman etc. The last item is food in any restaurant. That day there was a bhajan and I joined the crowd of devotees, without any purpose, just to while away the time.
The idea of writing never occurred to me in those days.
When I reached home, a rented house, some distance away from the town, it must have been past eleven.
I tried all the three keys in my pocket, again and again, without success. (This inability to open a lock persists to this day!)
What could I do?
In desperation, I approached the neighbor and he promptly came to my help. His first attempt succeeded and I thanked him profusely.
Did he think I was drunk?


His origin is obscure. Some say it was Paru who discovered him.
Paru is the sweeper, who, while cleaning the premises of the grocery shop in the village, saw some movement in a bundle of cloths. On closer examination, it was a baby, hardy a day old. She took it home and looked after it.
They called him chekkan, child, until someone called him idiot.
He did all things, without any remuneration, ate anything given to him, always smiled and never quarreled like other children. Ask him to bring your baggage, left behind some three miles away; he will run all the distance and carry the heavy thing on his shoulders. If you give him money, he will accept, otherwise also he will smile and go about doing other errands. Only an idiot will behave like that; so the word Pottan became his name.
Paru had her own children going to school. So she sent Pottan to school. Teachers told her that he cannot understand a word. So there too he was sent to bring tea, water etc.
Pottan went to all feasts and ate till his belly bulged like a balloon. There, too, he worked like other laborers.
No wonder they liked Pottan.
If you get an impression that Pottan is an uncouth figure, you are sadly mistaken.
Far from that, he is fair and handsome. So it is not surprising that a young lady took a fancy for him. This is how it happened.
One day, this girl arrived at the grocery shop, Pottan’s home, having got down from the bus, with a lot of baggage. Puttan promptly took all that and having placed each item on his head, shoulder and two hands, looked at her, indicating with his eyes- where to go?
“Who are you?”
“All people know me; I am Pottan.”
“Idiot? I wanted to know your name.”
“I have no other name.”
She, Madhu, told that her father will return shortly from Dubai and set up business there. She gave him a hundred rupee note and Paru was very glad to have it.
Slowly their attachment thickened and she took Pottan as her escort, wherever she went.
She was a graduate and computer programmer. She slowly taught Pottan to speak and understand English words. She tried to make him understand the working of computer.
Pottan now approached eighteen years of age and was appointed as peon in the Panchayat Office.
He was given the name of Gautam by Madhu, because he cannot be a Pottan in office records. In fact, all were surprised by the change in the boy, who now commanded respect.
It was a great relief for Paru, who was struggling with four daughters, all growing too fast. There was no help from her husband who was a drunkard.
When Panchayat elections came, Madhu contested as President, because it was reserved for women. Pottan, as he was still called by the villagers, worked hard and Madhu won by a comfortable majority.
Madhu’s father came and established his own business in the town. Gautam was the natural selection for the post of office boy.
All went well for a period.
One evening, Madhu and Pottan were returning from the town. It was Sunday and there was no bus for the village. They decided to walk.
The half Moon shone brightly and a breeze cooled the hot atmosphere. Madhu held his hand and they sat down in an isolated spot. Intoxication of youth overcame them and the girl guided the inexperienced boy to explore her body, with its hills and valleys and hidden tunnel, waiting to be filled with his vigour….
Suddenly some one flashed the torch light.
The next day, they discussed it. Madhu told him to go away for the time being, but he refused.
Within a week, some people, armed with lethal weapons, attacked Paru’s house, pulled Pottan out and beat him to death….
Post script.
Madhu shifted to Paru’s house and in due course, delivered a bonny baby. In its birth certificate, its name was Ashok and father’s name Gautam.
Madhu never married and looked after the child and Paru’s family.


I worked in the newspaper industry for fifty years.
In the beginning, at the age of fifteen, I worked as a boy distributing paper. I had failed in the seventh standard and left school. A friend in the industry told me to go on reading whatever came in my hand. He gave me some books. I got books from the village library.
As my friend had contacts with a printer, he gave me a job as type setter. A number of letters of the alphabet is arranged systematically in compartments of a board. The required letters are arranged in reverse order and fixed to the printing board. TIGER is arranged as REGIT. Then printing ink is smeared and pressed on the paper, which will be printed with the word TIGER.
It is a tedious and messy work, but better wages with less manual work is the attraction.
My friend got involved in revolutionary activities and they wanted to print books explaining their ideology. Here my experience became handy. I was asked to do things in secrecy.
Then I started writing. I came in contact with leaders of the movement and became a functionary in the party. When the ban on our party was lifted, we all came out and moved openly among the people, arranging meetings, selling books in festivals, staging drama for propagating our thinking. Soon I came into contact with ladies too, but marriage was discouraged by the Party. I remained a bachelor.
When I was sixty, my friend died suddenly and I became an orphan, intellectually speaking. The failure of our movement also was a disappointment. I decided to seek sanyas (become a saint) and wandered in the Himalayas.
I had not seen the South and wished to tour the land on foot.
One day I reached an unknown village by the side of the river Shipra. It was a charming place with few dwellings, all very poor and hardly any government building, even the post office being far away. I took bath and ate something from my bag, which contained few cloths and no money. I slept under a neem tree.
When I woke up in the morning, a mall girl of some nine years or so, was standing by my side.
She smiled and said Namaste.
May God bless you, my child.
Ma told me to come home and have your break fast.
As I was hungry, I followed her. Presently we reached her home.
They gave me tooth powder made of some herbs and water in a bucket to take bath. After that I was given pooris and potato curry to eat.
Maji did not come out until I had finished eating. She now came and bowed at my feet: Swamiji, bless me for a boy. I am expecting delivery in a month.
She was fair and had thick flock of hair, brown in colour. I placed my hands on her bowed head and chanted a Samskrutham verse from the veda . When that was over, she placed hundred rupees at my feet and got up. She said:
I know that sanyasis do not stay at one place; but it is my humble request that you stay, at least till my delivery.
I did not have the heart to refuse.
The next Sunday, her husband, who worked in a government office, came. He was very jolly and talkative. He too repeated his wife’s plea and insisted that I stay, as their honoured guest.
Next day, I went around, accompanied by the bright lively girl, who told me all she knew about the place and the people who lived there. She was curious to know about the outside world of which she knew nothing. One day I took her to a temple, some three miles away. There I chanted sahasranama (thousand names of Lord Vishnu), sitting in front of the deity. People placed coins and some notes in my lap and sought my blessings. During the Himalayan tour, which lasted a dozen years, I read a lot of books in the ancient language of our land. And learned many passages by heart.
When we reached home, I handed over the money to Maji.
They made saffron cloths for me, to make me a Swamiji. A number of people, especially women, began coming to visit me. I patiently heard them and they, in turn, gave me money or fruits. My reputation reached far and wide, after a boy was born to Maji. They even started work for constructing an ashram for me. I insisted that it should be a humble hermitage, built with bamboo and thatched with grass roof. The mud floor was to be plastered with cow dung. Food was still brought from Maji’s home, until a very young girl joined the ashram as my disciple. She served me and cooked food for the inmates of the ashram.
I surveyed the area and found a depression in the river bed, where dirty, stagnant water collected even in summer. I suggested making an earthen dam at this point. The river bed here was widened and deepened to store a large quantity of water in the rainy season
At that time a man gifted one crore rupees to the ashram. He believed that his business increased hundred times after I blessed him. With this money the construction of roads also was done along with the dam.
Achary Vinoba Bhave, who stayed in my Ashram for one month, gave me all the land which he got from bhoodan movement during his stay.
I decided to have a goshala (cow shed) and a farm. All workers got food in addition to wages. The gas from the cow dung was used for making biogas. Electrification of the village was done by solar power.
The number of inmates also increased as the ashram expanded.
Maji’s daughter was married off to a wealthy businessman. Her son became an engineer. He took keen interest in the affairs of the ashram.
I missed the company of Maji. The quiet old days of my stay at her house was something of a dream now. But I realized that a lot of good things can be done in my new role.
Already, there are demands from the South, for a branch of the ashram to be set up near Chidambaram. One day, I set out to the South, for surveying a suitable place, accompanied by Maji, her son and daughter, who was very eager to accompany us.