DATED DECEMBER 12, 2008
Till yesterday, we were seven.
Today we are only six.
Today my brother Ambi (Mama) is no more. He was my older brother, but was called Ambi (younger brother) by our parents and everyone in the family. He was the second among us, but was the oldest son.
He was my friend – yes, my friend - when I was about fourteen or so. My older sisters had got married and left home. He used to tell me so many things that were happening in the world and our neighbourhood. He used to tell me things that would interest a girl of my own age, like new cinemas being produced with new stars. I heard about M. S.'s 'Savithri' first from him. He even discussed the famous Lakshmi Kantham murder case. Lakshmi Kantham was the publisher and editor of a yellow journal bearing his name.
Some memories remain vivid. I remember the evening I went with him and Vijaya Manni (my sister-in-law) to the famous 'Ayyappa' drama by TKS Brothers. Our car gave us trouble and would not start on our return trip. There were no taxis in those days, and he brought us back home in a bullock cart.
He was a jolly person, and along with the husband of my oldest sister, used to tease me a lot when I was a very small child. When I grew up he once told me that ear drops did not suit me. I removed them at that very moment and never wore them again. When I got married he told me, "You took off your earrings when this Ambi told you to, now you wear them when your Ambi (my husband was known as Ambi in his family) wants you to." I respected those words so much.
He was a father figure to me. Thatha (our father) was always busy with his judgements and court work, and in the evenings with his tennis and Masonic Lodge. So I always approached Ambi to get permission to go to excursions with my classmates, or to go to a picture, or whatever else I needed.
He was eleven years older than me, and was my friend, philosopher and guide. When I got married he advised me not to say anything negative about life at my in-laws to anyone. I took him in earnest and never breathed a word to anyone about what happened within the four walls of my home.
Whenever we met at Lakshmi Nivas (the name of my parents’ house) afterwards, he used to talk to me about many things that troubled him. I was proud to be his confidante.
He was very proud of his job as a judge. He had told me that he never encouraged divorce and advised couples who approached the court for divorces not to go through it and give themselves another chance.
I was very close to him and I always had respected him and the advice he had given me time and again. I can never digest the thought that he is no more. As long as I remember him, this memory of mine will keep him alive for me.
The photo above was taken when he was about 35 or so.