Caste System, Facts and Fiction, Issues in India, Ooty, P U Krishnan, Short Stories, Tellicherry

The good old days…

“From the day one I saw you…” An apt and timely film song was on the air… some of us were deeply immersed in that song. There were those who took it as a disturbance to their conversations… Or shall we call it “the scandal session”? Most of them were in their sixties and seventies and their conversations revolved around love marriages, or the more problematic inter-caste marriages.

The occasion was, of course, a Wedding reception. It was not an arranged marriage as such, but absolutely free from any problems from both sides. Most of the elders who had gathered there at the invitation of the bride or groom were critical of the present generation and their habit of falling in love with girls or boys who were not of the same casts. “In the good old days, the youngsters strictly abided by certain social codes. There were no love marriages” one of the elders would say. “Yes, Yes… Look at their dresses… horrible…”

They talked as if there were no love marriages or inter-caste marriages. I was almost tempted to say, “Just look back, oldies…”

By a remarkable coincidence, I happened to read a short story, a couple of days after this marriage. The author, a Malayalam novelist, was born in 1904 and the story I read was written in 1930s, it was about a love affair between two college students. From the description of the behavior of the students of that college, it was clear that the students of yore were no better (or worse) than the ones we see these days. Then why this Fuss?

Author: P U Krishnan

First things first. I am one of those retired chaps who are young at heart. I watch cricket matches and jump for joy when Tendulkar scores yet another century. I read newspapers and books too, though I am not crazy about them. I think I have a mind free from hatred and I owe it to the wonders of nature and music. I scribble something now and then and call myself a writer! Though I have settled in Ooty, a lovely hill station in Tamil Nadu—I must emphasize the fact that I was born and brought up in Tellicherry in North Kerala and studied in the good old Government Brennen College. Of and on, my mind goes back to my ancestral house at Tiruvangad in Tellicherry in front of an ancient Sri Ram temple. I am indebted to this wonderful place which inculcated in me a love for cricket and literature. But all said and done, I am an Indian first.

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