This story is from nearly a century ago. At a little place called Vakkom somewhere in south Kerala. One rainy afternoon, a little past 3, a man in his early twenties –a teacher –came out of the local school. He took one look at the rain and opened his big grandfather umbrella. Walking home, he saw a young girl standing drenched in the rain. Those were days when a 7th grade graduation qualified you to be a teacher. She was one such seventh grader, newly joined the school as a teacher. A girl barely in her early teens. The man had noticed her before. She was a disciplined little girl. Now, he took pity on her and invited her to his umbrella. She walked in gratefully. No words were exchanged, no meaningful glances passed.
But unknown to the two, there were prying eyes, blinking through the rain, watching. Stories were made in seconds. And in a small town, they travelled fast, these stories. It threatened to be what was called a ‘cheetha peru’ (bad reputation) for the girl. The man wouldn’t let this be. He presented the matter at home. He was going to marry her. It was not love but principle that drove him to it. But yes, he had liked the young girl. Those were also days when young men and women were not expected to choose their partners. Hell broke lose. But they got married, and had one of those fairytale love stories. Much subtler of course. The story of my great-grandfather and great-grandmother 🙂