It has become almost inevitable that I meet somebody interesting on the train….and almost always, they avail of the senior citizen concession. Not that they never existed before; but I probably never looked or I was travelling in AC coaches.
Two weeks ago, on the way to Madurai, it was an affable old lady, going alone to see her ailing sister. Frequently distracted by a voluble, returning-from-Abudhabi woman, boldly travelling alone to Tirunelveli with a toddler and tonnes of luggage, she told me, her mom-in-law had a principle of not marrying off her sons to anybody from Tirunelveli or Salem (they were roguish – ராங்கிகள் ). Teachers were also ineligible. They never live with their in-laws. She was neither. She said she wasn’t biased and gets along well with her daughter-in-law working in a software firm. Except that she retires to her lonely room at 4pm and stays there chanting and sleeping. For being being a stoic listener, she shared with me a few of the famed Manapparai murukkus and gave me a ride in her hired auto to my destination.
He said, the village that just passed by, has a rare Sanskrit name(Virinchipuram…Google threw this up for Virinchihttp://kduvvuri.blogspot.in/ and Tamil lexicon has this from Kamban’s Ramayana : வேதங்கண்ணிய பொருளெல்லாம் விரிஞ்சனே யீந்தான்). The villagers wouldn’t know the significance, ofcourse. Even nowadays, all baby names are in Sanskrit. He had chosen a beautiful Sanskrit name for his daughter, from Lalitha Sahasranamam.
I couldn’t suppress my reply, with my hand caressing our daughter’s head: We have kept a pure Tamil name for her. Mahirl Malar.
There was a nice breeze blowing through the window. The vast stretches of greenery, outside the window, were lovely. He decided to notice their loveliness and started watching them give way to a long range of mountains.
He turned inside when Mahirl offered him a cake. Then, when we talked, it was about the bus route to Perur, where he had to go to.