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I, Seetha Ramanathan, age 72, retired high school teacher. I am proud to say that I am a self-made woman. I got married right after finishing high school at the age of 17. I resumed my studies through correspondence education. I did BA, B ed, and MA. I worked as a high school teacher for more than 15 years. My passions include reading, writing, and cooking. I have authored 3 Tamil books, including 1 cookery book. I have also won many prizes in cooking competitions conducted by Podhigai(Tamil DD channel) and Sun TV. I am currently writing blogs on various controversial topics.
I Seetha Ramanathan, aged 72wish to share my experience when I took a flight from Delhi to B'lore on 1st June 2020. I left B'lore on the 16th February to stay with my son's family for some time &also undergo cataract surgery. My return ticket for Chennai on the 22nd of March was also booked simultaneously since there were 3 important family functions in Chennai to attend in the last week of March. My return ticket for B'lore from Chennai for 31st March also booked. Unexpectedly due to the rapid spreading of CoviD-19 all the 3 functions I was to attend were canceled. Immediately after knowing this my daughter-in-law called the concerned airline people and asked them whether on the same ticket instead of Chennai, would I be allowed to go to B'lore. She also told them whatever the difference in flight ticket cost she would readily pay. They declined this request upon cancellation we got only Rs.600 as a refund. After that 3 times, my ticket to B'lore was booked. Since the lockdown was extended every time after the deadline, the cost for the ticket was deposited in the credit shell. All the 3 times When a fresh ticket was booked to the same destination there was a hike of a minimum of Rs.1K in the ticket cost. Finally, after the 4th lockdown was lifted on 1st June evening I reached IGI airport to reach Bangalore. Heeding the advice of my son and daughter-in-law I opted for a wheelchair service since I had to walk a distance of 2kms that two carrying the cabin baggage in the IGI airport to reach boarding gate no 50. Comfortably I reached the boarding gate after finishing all the formalities. Since there was sufficient time left to board the flight I was talking to my friend over mobile in Tamil. Then heard an announcement which asked the passengers who were waiting in gate no 50 to reach gate no 42 a. I understood that to reach gate 42 and I had to take 2 escalators. When none of my family members were around me I didn't want to take this risk that too with the cabin baggage in hand. 2 years back I underwent a total hip replacement surgery after a great fall. Hence I preferred to go down by the lift. When I reached the place from where the lift was operating unfortunately the lift was out of service. Finding no other way to go down I again came to the escalator. But didn't have the courage to take the 1st step despite trying many times. Suddenly I heard a kind voice in Tamil from behind “Amma, Do you need help to go down?” Would I refuse? A boy of 22 yrs took my cabin baggage also asked me to hold his other hand firmly. With the help of that helping hand not only I reached gate no 42 a but he was there to help me until I reached my seat. That boy's name was Kadappa who was also taking the same flight. I asked Kadappa that how did he know I am a Tamilian. He said that he heard me talking to my friend in Tamil. I also came to know that he was a Jawan in the Indian army. After a very comfortable travel time of roughly 3 hrs, finally, I reached Kempegowda airport at 10.30 pm. In the airport, there was a very long queue & my place was last. It would take a minimum of 1 hr by the time my turn would come since again there were too many formalities to compete before one exited the airport. I was worried since it was already 11 pm &My son in law was waiting outside to receive me. Here again, most unexpectedly a man of about 30 yrs appeared With a “May I Help you ” smile on his face before me. He Didn't take my permission to lift my cabin baggage, holding my hand lovingly broke the queue &With in a few minutes in front of a table where I had to show the E pass given by the Karnataka government to exit the airport. The Karnataka government made it compulsory for all the passengers to enter Bangalore even if they were residents of Bangalore to obtain an E pass. Next stop Table no 2 Where after the thermal screening, in both the hands I was stamped. The stamp showed that I was home quarantined for 14 days. 3rd &Final stop to collect the checked-in baggage. The volunteer helped me there too. He was there with me until I spotted my son-in-law. He was wearing a jacket in which it was printed “Civil Defence Volunteer “. On our way to the exit gate, I was curious to know more about him, I asked his name &where he was from? HE said that his name was Chidananda &was working for Toyota Kirloskar Motors Private Lt. He also said that he would be in the airport until dawn to help elderly people like me who travel alone. This is not the 1st time I got help from unknown people. Many times I got help from people who were totally unknown to me. There may be some Devils&Evils. But they are very few in numbers. But there are many Kadappas&Chidanandas to extend unfailing service in times of need. I consider them as Gods in Disguise of Men. This country can face any negative situation bravely when such kind-hearted people are there.
I, Seetha was born 72 years ago, in an orthodox Brahmin family. A very Very strict upbringing My father was working as a Security Superindent in Mettur Chemicals (Salem District, Tamil Nadu in Mettur. My parents had eight children (four boys and four girls), and I was the seventh. I have a younger brother. Typical of the mindset of parents of those days, my mother wanted me to get married before my father's retirement. I was just 17 then. After quite a long search for the bridegroom, they found a suitable match for me. My prospective husband the late T.R. Ramanathan was working in Associated Cement Companies Ltd. (ACC), Shahabad (Karnataka State). As per my parent's wish, I became Mrs. Seetha Ramanathan. After the marriage, I stayed in my in-law's place for a fortnight and left for Shahabad with my husband. When I was with my parents, going to the movies was seldom allowed. That too I, my sisters were not allowed to go to films with my brothers. My parents generally don't like going to the movies. After pleading for 2-3 days if the aunty, who was a neighbor, was going then we were allowed to go with their family. That too only if the movie was exceptionally good. But my husband took me to a movie soon after the wedding. I was in seventh heaven. I felt that I got the much-wanted freedom for which I was longing for. Those days B. Saroja Devi (a famous cine actress of South India) was the dream girl to millions of men in the South. Though she was a Kannadiga by birth the Tamil film industry welcomed her with folded hands. Soon she became one of the top heroines of Tamil movies. Quite natural for people of that age, I was a great fan of Saroja Devi. More than her acting skills, l liked her dressing sense. Especially, the designs of her blouse which she wore in movies like 'Anbe Va' (remake of 'Come September') and 'Pudhiya Paravai' etc. Blouses were named--boat neck and back button. When my marriage was confirmed, I wanted to stitch at least one blouse in that model. But my mother used her veto power to go against my wish. The desire to stitch a boat neck and back button blouse was lying dormant in my heart. One fine Sunday morning I expressed my desire to my husband. He immediately said a 'yes'. He also told me to be ready to go to Shahabad town around 5 pm. After going to the tailor shop, we could have dinner in a restaurant, he told me. When I heard that I jumped with joy. We were residing in ACC Colony, Shahabad, a town about 3 km from our Colony. Those days, our mode of transport was a bicycle. I would go doubles with my husband, much like the Dev Anand-Mumtaj reel pair of yore. I had some blouse pieces with me, which I got along with sarees as gifts during my wedding. Overexcited, I packed all the blouse pieces & a blouse for measurement in a bag (don't forget that I was not even 18 then). Before leaving, my husband told me to take 1 extra bag to buy vegetables. Before going to the tailor shop, he stopped the cycle and asked me to get down. He said while returning it would be dark, and hence would be wise to buy vegetables. The bag with the blouse pieces was hanging on the handlebar. Readers could easily make a guess as to what would have happened. Yes, your guess is right! The bag that had those blouse pieces was gone when we returned to the parking place. My husband chided me, and immediately tears rolled down from my eyes like a kid. He asked: "Why should you carry all the blouse pieces?." I was 10 years younger than him. I replied, "why didn't you see the bag that was hanging in the handlebar?" His ego was hurt and both of us returned home without talking a word. After reaching home both of us had a glass of water. That was our dinner. The next day (Monday) morning before leaving for office. he told me kindly. "Today evening be ready by 5.30 pm. I will buy one blouse piece and you can give it for stitching. If the tailor stitches well, then in the future you can stitch more." As promised he bought a blouse piece in green color & took me to the tailor shop. To my great surprise, I saw a calendar hanging in the shop in which B. Saroja Devi was giving a smiling pose wearing the same boat and back button blouse, which I wanted to stitch. Readers, please remember, B. Saroja Devi was from Bangalore, Karnataka & Shahabad is also in Karnataka. Explaining to the tailor about the model of the blouse was easy for me. I gave the measurement blouse & the green blouse piece and told the tailor to stitch the blouse in the same model, which Saroja Devi was wearing. After a week the blouse was ready. The next day, I wore that blouse and went to a photo studio with my husband. I took three-four photos in different poses to send them to my mother. I sent her the photos, just to irritate her! The next week, I got a postcard from her in which it was written: "Eppadiyo Poi Tholai" which translated means "Go to Hell!".
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