Sridhar Venkatasubramanian

Romance Others


Sridhar Venkatasubramanian

Romance Others

An Enchanting Tale Of Our Tour Of South India-Part 18 Of 20

An Enchanting Tale Of Our Tour Of South India-Part 18 Of 20

4 mins

OUR SOUTH INDIA TOUR IN 1975 (Episode 18 of 20)

Meeting a wonderful family and five divinely beautiful girls.


So, accepting the invitation, we shifted our luggage from the priest’s house to the neighbour’s house. Here, the gentleman’s wife too welcomed us warmly and showed us our room. We came to know she was a teacher at a high school in Sivagiri. I was amazed at experiencing the warmth and hospitable nature of these people who readily come forward to welcome strangers into their houses. I was not sure whether we would have been so welcoming. Maybe our city-bred attitude has led us to be cool and distant when interacting with strangers. 


The gentleman then called his daughters, who were studying in the other room. He said he had five daughters; two of them were studying in college and the rest in high school. 


I looked at them when they came inside the room and immediately felt like I was hit by a bolt of lightning. I have never seen such divinely beautiful girls till then. Such beauty I have seen only in Raja Ravi Verma’s paintings, and now it looked as if the paintings had come alive. As their father introduced them to us, they smiled in greeting. Now, the radiance in their faces was simply out of the world. It was as if God took some extra time in creating them. I am at a loss to describe them, but if you have had the opportunity to see Ravi Verma’s paintings, you will understand how I felt. 


By then, the lady of the house had prepared hot upma and tomato gotsu (chutney) and made us eat. She said that one should not sleep on an empty stomach. 


Afterwards, the girls took my sister and me to their room for a chat. Two of the girls were wearing thavani (half-sari), and the rest three were wearing pavadai and chattai (pavadai is a long flowing skirt up to the ankles and chattai a top worn above pavadai). They were very keen to know about Calcutta and our life there. I immediately jumped at the opportunity and started hogging the conversation. You see, whenever we went to Madras or Madurai, I was always a bit eager to show off that I come from a great Metropolis. I used to do this, especially when we met cousins of my age, who had then never been out of Tamil Nadu. Even during this trip, I purposely talked in Bengali with my parents and sister, just to attract the attention of fellow travellers.


So, there was no stopping me when the girls gave me such an opportunity. I immediately started spinning tales about the rides on tram cars, double-decker buses, picnics at Botanical Gardens, visits to Victoria Memorial Hall and other palatial buildings of the British Era, mouthwatering food items like puchka (pani puri), Jaal Muri (chaat made with puffed rice), varieties of Bengali sweets, etc. They were listening to me with awe, which was my sole intention. My sister wanted to chip in something, but I simply steam rolled her and continued to monopolize the conversation. I wanted the full attention of the girls on me only. 


I was quite cross when my father came into the room and said that we better get to bed as we had an early morning bus to catch. Reluctantly, I bade goodnight to the girls even though in the heart of my heart I wanted to stay up all night talking to them. 


The next day, we completed our morning ablutions pretty quickly. We then went to the priest’s house to take his leave. We said goodbye to the nice gentleman and his wife too and then left to catch the bus. My last impression of my ancestral village is the image of the five beautiful girls waving goodbye. I never met them after that. Sometimes, I wonder where they are now and whether they remember us, too. Even to this day, whenever we talk about our ancestral village, the topic always comes back to the five divinely beautiful girls.


In the next episode, I will share the episode of a pitiful incident that made me cry my heart out and other stories.

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