This is a story of my parents, not in the vein of Romeo & Juliet, Pretty Woman or Notebook. But definitely a BAE-Love.
K was a friend of R's uncle. Uncle brings K home as friends do. Seventeen-year-old R and sister had to stay in the room, as proper, decent young girls. Uncle wanted some entertainment. Sing he said and the sisters sang with curtains drawn. K was hooked and kept coming back for more and love blossomed.
R was very proper, no hanky-panky whatsoever. Not even holding hands. K called her a very strict lady. He would invite her out on beach dates, and she'd come with all her siblings - there were 7 of them. They exchanged photographs with love notes scribbled on the back.
4 years later, K converted to Catholicism because R was insistent on a church wedding. K had been saving for a couple of years now to be able to buy R a gold chain to tie around her neck. They bought 6 yards of material that passed off as the wedding saree and wed.
The First-born (me)
Married in January, popped baby in October. K&R lived in a small town about 450 km away from R's mum, and though she had no one in this new town to help with the baby, she was too embarrassed to tell her Mum about it - you know, to have had a baby, they would have had to...
It took R almost 6 months to come clean and get on the train to go visit her mother. She travelled with Baby S on May 14th, 1969, when racial tensions and riots were at an all-time high. History of that time on Wiki
Raising A Family
K&R didn't have much money and as a team, they packed food to sell at the school canteen. They took on small contracts to cut trees by the roadside. While K worked hard with the government which did not pay much, R learnt to sew, worked on a plantation and did other menial stuff to make ends meet. They did Amway, Tupperware, Kutu for Indian pots and pans. Pretty sure there were more things they tried their hand at.
Finally, with 4 kids and years of struggle, K&R decided to live separately for a bit. R went to Singapore to work and it took K about 6 years to get a transfer to the same state as R.
With the kids independent and finances looking better, K&R travelled at least once a year. They argued a heck of a lot but they would not go anywhere without the other. K&R didn't really have friends since they spent all their time between working and raising kids. But they had each other and that was enough.
Once both K&R had retired, they packed up and moved to live closer to their grandkids. They continued to travel and visit their kids who lived in different parts of the country and world.
R got very sick with a swollen pituitary gland. The cyberknife treatment that was recommended made her weak which lead to Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma which caused a growth in her head.
R's last year was a tough one. K did all he could to take care of her. The mass was also causing dementia and hallucinations as it pressed on her nerves. R would forget K sometimes, accuse him of theft, hallucinate people in the house, think he was a stranger. It was a challenging time.
Through the arguments, when R remembered, she would keep repeating how much she loved K. She wondered if he still loved her now that she wasn't attractive and weak. She wondered if he had been happy with her and if they could do it all again, would he choose her and he said "yes" every single time. When she was bedridden, she would beg him to sit by her side and hold her hand. K did all he could within his capacity for he too wasn't young anymore.
A few weeks before she became unconscious and passed on, she had a heart to heart talk with her not so Baby S.
"Please, when I am gone, you must take care of your father. He has no friends, no one. It has been just the two of us. Promise me, you will keep him company and take care of him."
These days K lives alone in the house they spent their last years together in. He goes through pictures of her and reminisces of the good times and the not so good ones. He dreams of her and talks about her with anyone who will listen.
If there's anything I have learnt being raised by these two, they did not have it easy but they stuck it out. It wasn't always a bed of roses, and there were things that rocked the marriage but they worked through it and stuck on. They held on for better for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, they loved and cherished till the end.
This is one of the last pics in the good times just before the 3+ years of her being sick started, very, very slowly at first
Thank you for reading,