Shadi at Last
Chandra bade a tearful goodbye to the London branch of the Reddy family and returned to her father’s home in Chennai. A great celebration took place to welcome her home. Hameer had been in contact with Chandra’s father and all the formalities were complete between the two families. Chandra’s father consulted a priest to determine the most auspicious time for a wedding and the date was set.
It was a grand occasion. The Reddy extended family from India and other parts of the world were in attendance and were surprised at the opulence of the venue and celebrations which went on for several days after the ceremony concluded. The wealthy and well connected in Chennai were there to support Chandra’s family and the two families bonded well despite language and cultural differences. Aadi and Chandra were deliriously happy the families had bonded well together. But all good things had to come to an end.
Soon they were on their way to Mumbai where a bungalow had been purchased for them in an area of Mumbai frequented by Bollywood famous. Chandra’s family had provided the bungalow and the Reddy family furnished it to their choice and provided them a car each. Those who’d offered to act as agents in securing jobs for them had done a great work and both Aadi and Chandra were delighted with their respective jobs in banking and teaching.
Six months after they’d established in Mumbai, they received some surprising news. Uncle Kish had found a suitable match for Maloti and Maloti reported excitedly he was the man of her dreams. They were to be married in London and would locate to New York where her intended husband was a successful investment banker. Would they both be able to attend her wedding? Of course, they would! Maloti also reported Chaltanya or Charles as he now preferred to be called was in a serious relationship with an English girl. There had been an argument with his father about this but eventually Uncle Kish had agreed to the marriage. They were expecting to get married a year later. Kishore Reddy had not recovered from the loss of his beloved wife Laxmi and was considering taking an early retirement and moving to India. Maloti would keep them informed when it was clear what his plans were.
Hameer had been on final extended assignment around the border regions but in his new position he was now located permanently in Delhi where overall army decisions were made. He began to busy himself with his son Maan’s future. This time he would not attempt to force his will on this young man and would allow him to make his own choice of a partner for life. Labanya still had a few years before he had to consider what was best for her future.
News from Mumbai had gladdened his heart. Aadi had sent him a letter this morning informing him Chandra was with child. He’d immediately reported this to Dakshana who wanted to pack up and go to Mumbai to help her daughter in law, but Hameer laughingly restrained her. Perhaps she should wait to be invited, after all their daughter in law was still working and there was nothing she could do to help.
But eventually a baby girl arrived and there was an instant contest between Chandra’s mother and mother-in-law as to who should be there to guide Chandra in the care of this first child which they called Maloti. Chandra could see this could cause a rift in the family so hired an experienced maid along with their current cook, driver, and gardener. She’d visit her mother and mother-in-law in turn to let them share their love with their new grandchild. Perhaps this was not traditional, but it would keep the family peace.
Over time Aadi happily added two sons to his marriage with Chandra and Chandra decided to devote her life to looking after her children rather than working. Perhaps after the children had grown, she could return to teaching? But she never did.
On seeing his second son born Aadi reflected on his good fortune meeting his beautiful wife during bachelor study years. He’d have been willing to be banished from his family contact to have her but was glad for the bonding that had taken place between families eventually when Hameer had given his blessing after years of opposition.
Chandra’s hair had traces of white now which she skilfully covered up, but she was still beautiful in his eyes, and he was extremely happy in his marriage. He’d advanced in the banking industry to top management and several approaches had been made for him to locate to England or America for his bank. He was perfectly happy to stay in India. He glanced at the alcove where the family gods were installed. Somehow, he was not convinced they had any power or control over his life, but it was a cultural thing he was happy to go along with as his wife was dedicated to those idols and he was happy to give her anything she wanted.
He wondered why his father had named him Aadi, in Sanskrit it meant first, beginning, initial. Was it because he was the first son in the family? He’d had many beginnings in his life setting him in new directions. His birth, his first meeting with the woman who was now his wife, his first achievement in education, his first job and his first child. He wanted no more beginnings. He was content with his life and wanted it to continue just the way it was.
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