Letter from Home -8 (Slice of Life)

slice-of-life_individual

[I remember those long ago days when we used to write letters to our near and dear ones regularly. Over the years there have been lot of changes in life. These are the days of the internet and we have stopped writing letters. Last year I started writing to my mother and my Doddamma (my father’s elder brother’s wife) She lives with her son and family. My cousin’s wife shows her my mails. My mother lives with my brother and my sister-in-law shows her my mails. My Doddamma is 86 and is not able to go out. My Amma and Doddamma enjoy the mails and the photos. The internet has really changed our lives, it helps us to keep some contact with our friends and relatives, if we want to😊. I am editing a few lines before posting in Slice of Life because it would be difficult to understand without knowing the details. I am also adding links to certain topics of interest.]
12-3-18
Dear Doddamma and Amma,
We went to Maikuri (where my father-in-law lives) yesterday morning. My father-in-law and my husband’s younger brother live in the village. A couple live with them to do all the cooking. They have been there for more than three years now. They are looking after mava (my father-in-law, this is not his name but how I call him) well. He is fine and does some light work to keep himself occupied.

Maikuri 11th (12).jpg

This year there are many wild mangoes. They are still raw, we have got some to make pickles. We left at 2.30 after lunch.

In Mangalore we decided to visit doddamma’s younger brother and his wife. He is 84, they lived in their village and have shifted to this town. His wife had told us the directions earlier and we found the house easily. Both are fine and are adjusting to their new life. We were there for nearly an hour and we enjoyed talking to each other.

With Ishwara mava 11th (2).jpg

Their home is not too much out of our way. We reached home by 6.30.

Aravinda wants to learn cooking. Yesterday he made rice and dal. He has retinitis pigmentosa and cannot see properly from birth. He completed his PhD in English Literature in 2016 and is an Assistant professor in our University. I was telling him that my father’s mother and her sister were blind but very good cooks. So cooking is not impossible. He will just have to be a little more careful.

Doddamma, when we bought the land where we have built our house there were ten coconut trees, three jackfruit trees and two mango trees. The owner’s father had planted them sometime in the early seventies. We are eating the fruits of his labour. About ten days ago we got the coconuts plucked. Coconuts are plucked about four times a year. Nagesh who plucks them works in the engineering college in Manipal. He does this work in many houses to earn extra money. He has been coming to our house from the beginning, in 2005 when we shifted here. He charges Rs 70 per tree. And he also keeps the coconuts inside and the fronds to one side in a heap. Climbing coconut tree or areca nut trees are so specialised, everyone cannot do it.

coconut plucking

coconuts 27-2-18

Today we are getting the husk of the coconuts removed removed. We will later sell them. Praveen who is doing the dehusking lives nearby. The charge is one rupee per coconut. For us it is okay because we do not depend on this for our daily life but for farmers all this becomes very expensive. There is hardly any profit. It is very sad.  Praveen is a good worker but unfortunately, he is an alcoholic. Whatever he earns is spent on arrack. We often see him rushing by to a nearby arrack shop. It is very sad, fortunately he is not married. Life would have been hell for his wife.

Praveen dehusking 12th (1)

On Saturday morning we had been to book releasing programme by the Manipal Universal press, in the nearby MGM college. The author, Dr Prabhakar Acharya had been my husband’s patient for many years. He is now in his eighties. He was an English professor in Bombay University. After retirement he came back to Udupi, his hometown. He also started writing then. I have read two of his books. On Friday night he rang to tell about his book release. He said he would not be there as he finds it difficult to go out of his home. The book is Dhwani and Epiphany, essays on criticism. I don’t think I will understand it. It sounds very technical. Aravind says it is a very good book.

I am now stitching some frocks for Kavya. Kuvara (my husband) will be in Bangalore on 1st April to attend his friend’s daughter’s wedding. Vinay’s parents are going to Germany on the 10th. I will send some dresses and other things with them.
We are all fine here. The weather is getting hotter and people have started wondering when the rains will begin this year. There is a lot of time till June.
With lots of love,
Lakshmi
(My husband is a dental surgeon and was teaching in Dental college in our place. He retired last January.)

Letter from Home -8 (Slice of Life)

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10 Replies to “Letter from Home -8 (Slice of Life)”

  1. Very interesting. One day you should put these letters together and publish them in a book. The details are fascinating, and you write such simple and concise prose.

  2. I love all the details because I am learning so much about your life and the ways it is similar(religious, love of grandchildren) to mine and the ways it is very different(climate, food, greenery.)

  3. Reading your post about writing letters reminds me of the cultural importance letters once provided families and communities. A couple years ago I had a student who gave a speech on her love of letter writing. I, too, love the details of your letters and sense your pain in describing Praveen’s alcoholism. And I think I’d like the book you mention. It sounds like the kind of academic theory I enjoy occasionally.

  4. I can’t imagine what it is like to have fresh fruit growing in my yard. In a way I feel sad when I read your letters because I think of how many children do not and have no idea how to go about writing a letter. It is becoming a lost art.

  5. I know from my own life that alcoholics will finish up by killing themselves. In many cases they may prefer to do so rather than give up the demon drink. More positive is my admiration for somebody who cannot see properly from birth, who then completes a PhD and becomes an Assistant professor in a University. He is worth 20 politicians and he is the real hero.

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