Monday, June 11, 2007
For sometime now, we had been planning to move to a smaller city/smaller place, just to get out of this maddening crowd in Bangalore. The roads have become very crowded, the vehicular traffic has increased to such an extent that walking on the roads is next to impossible. The haphazard parking of cars and motor cycles makes it difficult to get out of the houses or even enter people’s houses when you go visiting. The problem worsens if it rains.
We had always wanted to go back to a quiet and leisurely village in Kerala surrounded by greeneries and flowing water. Running water has been a weakness for me for so long. I would give anything to be able to take a swim in clear and unpolluted water. It has remained an unfulfilled dream so far. Somehow, moving to Kerala was not happening due to various factors. So when my brother suggested about an apartment a little away from the crowd, our handsome and charming son decided to buy it so that we could move in there and have a quieter life. The added incentive was that all my brothers were also buying an apartment each there, although none of them had plans to move in there at the moment.
The apartment house was ready for occupation from the builder’s point and people had already occupied. We wanted to make some minor modifications/additions here and there and also get the interiors done. We were promised everything would be done in 2 weeks time and we could occupy it by 1st week of March. We gave a month’s extra time and decided to conduct the grihapravesham after Vishu, so that our son could also get some vacation.We made trips to the new apartment almost everyday and though the interiors were ready by end of March, the additional masonry work had not even started. With lots of coaxing and cajoling we got some of the work done and decided to conduct the grihapravesham on the 23rd of April.
In the meantime, we started packing our things and also preparing for the grihapravesham. We had arranged to conduct a Ganapathi Homam, Vasthu Homam and Navagraha Homam and host lunch for a few of the near and dear.
We had to buy a whole lot of things and transport them to the new place, 6 kms away. The weather was scorching and humid..To reach this new place either we had to take an autorikshaw who would oblige at his will and ask for that extra 10 bucks or we had to walk upto 1½ kms if we decided to travel by bus. At times we walked almost 1 km to get a rikshaw. My memories went back 19 years when we had moved to our present house and did the grihapravesham in a much more elaborate manner. Things weren’t so difficult then, I remembered. We both were working full time and children were in school. When I said this to our handsome and charming younger son over phone, he said, “Patti was there amma.” True. My astute and blessed mother-in-law was around and she was a great manager and co-ordidnator. She was not at an age where she could get out and manage things but I could give her a list of things to be done by the various people and leave home in the morning for work and reach back late in the evening after visiting the construction site and every thing would be ready at home. Most importantly, all the four of us were mobile (on our own). We could finish many chores on our way up and down and didn’t have to depend on each other. Things were different now. Patti is no more with us and nor is any one mobile.
Couple of days to go for the function, my husband borrowed his friend’s car so that we could commute much more comfortably. Our son brought the car from the friend’s place. We all went to the apartment and stayed back longer to get the pending electrical work finished without any worry about reaching back home as we had a car. We came down at 7.30pm and found the car with a flat tyre. With great difficulty we got a mechanic to repair the flat tyre and we left the place around 8.30 pm. Hardly had we moved a kilometer and suddenly the car jerked and was going towards the electric post by the side of the road. We did not know what was happening and only our son’s presence of mind saved us from a major accident. He could somehow bring the car to the side of the narrow road and that was it. The car wouldn’t move, the steering wheel was not controlling the wheels as it had had come loose from its couplings. We were in the midst of a very busy road, hardly enough room for single lane traffic. We just couldn’t move the car. My husband phoned his friend, who just gave his mechanic’s phone number and said we could get in touch with the mechanic. It was futile even to imagine that the mechanic would be available at the garage at 9.30pm. My husband tried his luck with one of the workmen we had engaged to get some grill work done and it clicked. The nice man came with two of his boys and still we couldn’t move the care. Cars and buses were honking on all the four sides and I was sitting inside a hot and humid car. With nothing else to do, I just sat there and started reciting my Lalitha Sahasranamam per my daily schedule. Just then two boys came as if from nowhere and asked us what the problem was. They were car mechanics, they said and with great difficulty with the combined effort of all of us, we could push the car away from the road. The boys said, they would get their tools and see if something could be done. Meanwhile, our son insisted that we go home. With difficulty, we hired an auto and reached home at 10.00 pm. Later our son also reached home after having deposited the car under the care of the grill maker.
So the next day getting the car repaired was also on our shoulders. With luck, we could get the job done by evening after spending a handsome amount.
We had just 30 hours to go for the function.