‘I thought she would live forever': A love story

At the urging of his grandson, the renowned photo-journalist and churumuri contributor and wellwisher T.S. Nagarajan has just put together a private book titled ‘A Pearl of Water on a Lotus Leaf and Other Memories‘ for his friends and family.

The piece de resistance in the beautifully produced, brilliantly written 198-page book is his 50-year love affair with his wife Meenakshi that ended two Decembers ago.

churumuri.com is both honoured and privileged to be given the permission to reproduce a 22-carat love story, all 4,624 words of it.

***

By T.S. NAGARAJAN

I do not know where to begin but I do know where it ended.

So many years together, so many memories. Losing her has changed my life.

Going back now to an empty house in Bangalore is difficult. There is no one to greet you. The house with its silence seems to grieve with you.

Somehow, this place doesn’t seem to fit me since Meenakshi died; but I really have to live here.

I love this place. It is my home.

Our house in Bangalore meant everything to both of us. We spent 20 of the full 50 years of our married life in this home. The house grew with us and acquired all its colours and glory. We developed a beautiful garden. Meenakshi was its brain. I was only the brawn.

Instead of a compound, we preferred a line of crotons as a green wall in front. Today, as I water them every evening, the plants remind me of the green fingers that nurtured them as they grew from little saplings to tall, robust and colourful sentinels. Meenakshi was a great gardener. She had magic in her hands. Whatever she touched flourished.

Life rolled on at an enjoyable pace for ten years. As all good things come to an end, we found it difficult to manage the garden. After much deliberation, we came to the painful decision to close the garden and pave the space around the house with grey granite.

I put in an ad in the paper announcing the sale of the garden. A few days later, an old gentleman arrived with a carrier van to buy the garden. After the deal, Meenakshi urged me to take some photographs of the garden and vanished from the scene.

She found it too difficult to witness the departure of her loved ones. The garden vanished in a jiffy.

As one grows older, passing through the realities of life, dreams die. But I still keep intact my memories of sharing an exciting life with someone special.

Meenakshi is dead.

How am I to tell you?

One does not fix appointments with fate.

There is a rigid lump in my throat. I am learning to hold on and come to terms with the reality that she is no more.  Old age demands dignity. I manage a stoic face with a deliberate smile. Cross-sections of my life with her spring involuntarily from my memory. I have enough of them to ruminate upon.

***

Madurai to Delhi was a huge change for Menakshi. A few weeks after our wedding in the temple-town, she travelled by air for the first time and landed in the capital to a noisy welcome from my friends.

They were stunned by her beauty.

She looked like one of those chiselled figurines in the Madurai temple, her skin shining like ebony in the midday sun and eyes those of angels. She appeared as though she had descended from heaven just to taunt the blue-blooded beauties of Delhi.

Delhi’s weather was an entirely new experience for her. In summer, she loved the cooling rain that followed the dust storms, and wondered why in Delhi no one carried umbrellas while walking in the summer sun. She loved the exhilarating aroma from the wet khus curtains.

Phatphatis”, Delhi’s famous motorcycle rickshaws, thrilled her. She had never seen a Sikh. She was puzzled most by the sight of a Sardarji drying his hair in the winter sun.  Khushwant Singh was the first Sikh she saw and spoke with. He was also the first to plant a soft kiss on her cheek.

In course of time, she fell in love with Delhi, its people and their manners and customs. It was in Delhi that our two daughters, Kalyani and Vasanti, grew up and were married.  We spent 30 long years in the Capital. They were indeed the sunshine years of our life.

***

Moving from Delhi to Bangalore was like going back home. A welcome change. We loved the city’s salubrious weather and the slow pace of life.

Riding on a Vespa scooter, we discovered Bangalore together.

Not knowing Kannada was a big handicap for Meenakshi.  But she learnt the language by persisting to speak, despite the initial imperfections. In a few years, she was able to speak well,  and relate easily with the women in the neighbourhood.

One day, I heard her speak in Kannada to a gathering of women in the temple behind our home. It was a meeting to form a women’s committee. She was elected its first secretary.

Our scootering adventures became less frequent after sometime. We then turned to walking. Most friends in the area got used to seeing us always together. If, for some reason, Meenakshi stayed back, I had to explain her absence to the friends I met on the way. To avoid this, I made it a point  to cancel my walks on the days she didn’t go.

One evening, barely a few minutes after we had left home for a walk, I found Meenakshi   lagging behind, unable to keep pace with me. This was unusual. I asked her what was the matter. She said that she was feeling exhausted and wanted to return home.

As we turned back, I found her collapsing on the road, a small by-lane in the area, and sweating profusely. I was shocked to see her lying on the road, unable to talk. I sensed something serious. A passer-by helped me lift her and take her home in an auto-rickshaw.

I managed to put her on the bed. Her pulse was terribly low. I gave her a glass of sugared water, thinking she might have had low blood sugar. She was diabetic.  It might also be a heart attack, I thought. I put in a tablet of Sorbitrate (nitroglycerine, very helpful in such situations) under her tongue.

I had saved a strip of this drug for an emergency. Soon after the first aid, I phoned my grandson Duglu and told him that his grandma was sinking and urged him to rush home with his parents.  They arrived quickly accompanied by a hospital ambulance.

She was given emergency treatment in the intensive care unit of the hospital. Her condition stabilised by late in the night. She was declared out of danger the next day. A coronary angioplasty  was done. The doctors found an advanced block in one of the arteries.  She was given a stent.  She remained in the hospital for a few days and returned home, bright and beautiful.

The entire family heaved a sigh of relief. After a few weeks of rest and recuperation, Meenakshi resumed her normal routine.  She got up well before sunrise, helped herself to a cup of coffee, got the breakfast ready (invariably an oatmeal), finished the  day’s cooking and sat down in the favourite rattan chair in her room with the prayer book in hand. This was her meditation time. I made it a point not to disturb her.

It was also the time when some women, who swept the road every morning, her best friends, would drop in for their daily bible-babble. She wouldn’t mind their intrusion. She would make coffee for them. (A whole group of them came home to see me and condole her death. This was her speciality. She would relate with everyone on equal terms.)

***

Within months after she arrived in Delhi after the wedding, we attended a reception to the President of Ghana at Hyderabad House. It was hosted by Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Meenakshi saw Jawaharlal Nehru escorting his guest into the hall and whispered to me that she wanted to meet Nehru.

I told her that I didn’t know the Prime Minister personally. Barely I had finished saying this, she rushed through the gathering towards where Nehru was talking with some people. The next moment, I saw her talking with the Prime Minister.

Cameras clicked.

The picture became a hit in the family back home in Madurai.

Another  interesting incident involving Nirad C. Chaudhuri, the famous Indian writer,  comes to my mind. We had met him a few times at Khushwant Singh’s place. When Khushwant Singh became editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India, he wanted me to do some interesting pictures of Nirad Babu to illustrate a series of articles by him for the magazine.

Accompanied by Meenakshi, I went to the writer’s home. Nirad Babu had become a familiar figure walking the lanes and quadrangles of the Mori Gate area of old Delhi; a thin, short, spry man in dhoti and kurta. He would usually don Bengali clothes at home. His suits and the hats were reserved for his walks. He was proud of everything British.  He loved showing off his collection of a variety of items, especially those made in England, to his visitors.

As he talked with us, he opened the shoe rack and pulled out a pair of shining Oxford shoes and began explaining its special features. When he brought the shoes somewhat close to Meenakshi, urging her to see them, she boxed her nose and politely pushed the shoes back telling him “Nirad Babu, thus far and no further, please.”

Nirad didn’t mind her comment. He had a hearty laugh with us, and continued singing in praise of the English shoes. Fame or position of people just didn’t bother her. She was frank. She was candid. She was brave. She had nothing to conceal. She was true to herself.

***

I found a big change in her in the years after her heart attack. She became very spiritual and often talked about God. She joined a group of women, all her friends, and started attending prayer meetings every Saturday morning. She stopped going out for walks because of pain in the knees.

She spent minimum time in the kitchen and would retire to her room when once the morning chores were over. Her interest in TV serials waned.

In the evenings, when I was busy with my computer in my room, she preferred to lie down on the couch in the drawing room waiting for me to come and sit next to her.  This is the time we listened to classical music.  Half past eight was dinner time. Thereafter, we would retire for the day.

Meenakshi was deeply interested in music and loved listening to her favourite singers. She was close to the diva M.S. Subbulakshmi. They became good friends when we spent three days in MS’ home in Madras documenting her life in pictures.

MS made it a point to meet Meenakshi whenever she came to Delhi or Bangalore. They would discuss not music but cooking.

We generally stayed at home and talked a good deal on various subjects. We listened to each other with steadfast attention. Often we discussed serious subjects like life, death and even God. We also indulged in a bit of gossip about the goings-on in the neighbourhood.

We derived a vicarious delight in giving nicknames to people. For example, we named a vegetable seller, who came every morning announcing his wares at a high musical pitch, “Bhimsen”, after the music maestro Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. Meenakshi felt that Bhimsen was indeed blessed with a great voice; if he had only taken to music, he would have been a celebrity.

The woman, who swept the road,  Lakshmi was called “R.L.”, Road Lakshmi. After she left, she was replaced by another Lakshmi. The new Lakshmi was called “N.R.L.”, New Road Lakshmi.

We found delight even in seemingly simple things in life. This is what perhaps made our life an enjoyable journey.

***

Each remembrance brings heartache in the darkness of my grief at this hour. All the high adventures of our life together come back to my mind.

Our biggest adventure was a visit to the Durga temple (also called monkey temple) in Banaras. I was shooting the monkeys, accepted denizens of the temple, in interesting situations.

As I was peeping into my camera, I heard some grunting sounds from behind. I turned back, and to my utter horror, I found a bunch of monkeys attacking Meenakshi. One was pulling her saree, another was scratching her feet and a third was on her head and monkeying with her plait of hair.

She was in agony.

I didn’t know what to do except clicking the camera. Fortunately, one of the priests saw what was happening and deliberately dropped a large metal container on the floor. The loud sound unnerved the monkeys and they bolted away from the scene leaving her unharmed, but in total disarray. We breathed again.

She was with me always as I travelled in the country and abroad with my camera. She had learnt a good deal of photography and even picture appreciation. I never finalised a single photographic print I made in the darkroom without her examining it in daylight and approving it. She had an excellent picture sense. She was also an expert in displaying pictures on the wall for an exhibition.

Meenakshi was, in fact, the real photographer behind my camera.

Had it not been for her enthusiastic participation with me on my decade-long project of photographing century-old homes of India, I don’t think I would have achieved even a part of what I did. We travelled all over the country by air, train, bus and even bullock carts looking for old homes.

Most homes welcomed us and gave us all the freedom. The invariable presence of Meenakshi with me made my job simpler.

I never did anything without her approval.

I always read out to her whatever I wrote.

She would come up with comments which often helped improve what I had written. We had an intellectual side to our relationship. It had its convergences as well as its differences but differences did not imply either disagreement or confrontation.

She was very house proud; always doing things here and there till everything looked spic and span. She was a great cook too. Within months after our wedding, she made an earnest effort to learn the well-known Mysore dishes, especially “Bisibelebath” in preparing which she became an expert.

She had a zest for life and loved people coming home. Even though she was just a matriculate from a convent in Madurai, she spoke impeccable English and could carry on a conversation with anybody without any inhibition. She was a voracious reader.

Once the writer R.K. Narayan, a close friend of ours, came to our Delhi home. He was very fond of Meenakshi.

Dinner over, we sat for a chat. At one stage, Meenakshi asked him about his experiments with talking to the spirits, especially that of his wife. Narayan, normally very quiet about the subject, didn’t mind the straight question and asked her “Meenakshi, do you really want to know? I have never talked about it to anyone.”

Then he explained to us briefly all that had happened to him after his wife died, barely a few years after the marriage. “I have done it. Talking to  spirits. But, there is no need for you to know about it now.” he said closing the subject, and asked for the khas-khas payasam, a delicious dessert, which Meenakshi had made for the dinner.

“This is my crème de minthe. I want a second helping” he said. The name crème de minthe rang a bell in Meenakshi’s mind. “In any case, Hercule Poirot wouldn’t have liked my payasam,” she said referring to one of Agatha Christie‘s most famous and long-lived characters, whose favourite drink was the popular mint-flavoured liqueur. She loved reading detective fiction. Agatha Christe was her favourite author.

***

On 20 August 2008, we completed fifty years of married life in great style. Kalyani and Pramod came to Bangalore to celebrate the event with Vasanti and Ravi. The grandchildren missed the event.  Duglu was away in the US and Manasvinee was busy with her examination.

Both of us were showered with innumerable gifts. Meenakshi wanted only polycot saris, her favourites. By now she had outlived her fascination for Kancheepuram silks.

We spent a full day in the city enjoying an unusual lunch sitting in what looked like a railway coach in one of the big malls in Bangalore. We went to a Punjabi restaurant for dinner. The lift was not working and Meenakshi found it almost impossible to climb up the stairs.

For the first time, I sensed that all was not well with her.

Suddenly things began to change. She started taking my arm to cross a road, grabbing my hand like a child, and eventually, when sitting close, letting me hold hers in my own. Her fingers had become thin, lean and skinny. They would have been elegant if they hadn’t served years of domestic drudgery. She did housework until it became impossible.

She became weak and found it very tiresome to work in the kitchen. I arranged with a caterer for meals to be delivered at home. She spoke less and preferred lying on the bed for most part of the day. She stopped reading the newspaper.

Most of my queries got a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for an answer. She became totally disinterested in everything and kept saying repeatedly “I feel exhausted. I want to retire.” Initially, I found all this very strange. I did not realise that something inside her was changing.

It was Diwali night.

There was no celebration at home.

Meenakshi was in her room.

It was dinner time.

I laid the table and called her. There was no response.

I went in and found her asleep, very unusual at that time.

She got up, walked with difficulty towards the kitchen, felt exhausted, came out and sat in front of me at the table. She mumbled something to me which did not make sense. She had mild fever and appeared very ill. I helped her back to her room, gave her a glass of milk to drink and made her lie down. She went back to sleep.

I could not foresee what was happening, so suddenly. She was fine in the morning and answered all the telephone calls from friends wishing us well for Diwali. I felt I may have to shift her to a hospital in case of an emergency in the night. I called Ravi, my son-in-law, and wanted him to be with me in the night. He arrived. We spent an anxious Diwali night amidst the sound of crackers.

Next morning at the hospital, the x-ray of the chest showed a patch in her lung. The doctors felt that it was pneumonia. She responded well to antibiotics. The fever subsided and she recovered well within a week and discharged.

We returned home. All was well for a few days.

But later the fever returned and refused to respond to a further dose of antibiotics. What was more worrying was that she developed some neurological disorders. Her memory started failing. She was confused at times, and to my utter horror, one morning she mistook the day for night and asked the maid who had arrived why she had come for work in the night.

I found it impossible to manage her alone and called Kalyani to come from Chennai. She arrived the following day and found that all was not well with her mother. We decided to shift her to Chennai for proper diagnosis and specialised treatment.

At Malar Hospital, cardiologist Dr V.K. Menon examined her, and said that her heart was fine.  But after he looked at her chest x-ray done at Bangalore, he felt that it may not be pneumonia. He wanted us to meet the pulmonologist, Dr. Lakshmi Varadarajulu with a CT scan of the chest.

Next morning, we met Dr. Lakshmi with the scan. She looked at it and said that it was  lung cancer, in an advanced stage. Our hearts broke. She wanted us to meet Dr Sankar Srinivasan, medical oncologist, at the Apollo Specialities, for a confirmation of her diagnosis.

December 2, 2008. We were with the oncologist.  Meenakshi was not with us. She was at home eagerly waiting to know the final diagnosis of her condition.

Dr. Sankar Srinivasan appeared a very unassuming person. He put the scanned picture on the light box, looked at it briefly, and asked me “Has anyone explained this to you?” I said “no”. He then pointed towards what looked like a lump at the top of the right lung and said that it was a cancerous tumour in an advanced stage.

In his opinion, not much could be achieved by resorting to any aggressive treatment like chemotherapy. He gave us a prognosis of only a few weeks.

We were also against any aggressive intervention but wanted to know, if done, whether it would help at all. “May prolong life by a week or two but that would be hard on the patient.” the doctor said. What was his advice? He wouldn’t recommend any aggressive treatment. Even a biopsy was not required since we did not opt for chemotherapy.

He wanted us to keep her at home amidst the family and look after well. “I can’t save her but I can see she goes without much pain and suffering” he said.

My daughter Vasanti asked him how many weeks he would give her mother. “Two or three weeks. I’m not God”, answered the doctor.

As I listened to the doctor, tears rolled down my cheeks.

Dr. Srinivasan looked at me and handed over a paper napkin to me. None of us said anything more and got up to leave. The doctor wrote down his personal cell phone number on his card and gave it to us adding that we could call him for consultation whatever be the time, day or night. He appeared a very special person.

***

As we drove back home, I kept thinking whether or not to tell Meenakshi that she had lung cancer and that she had barely a few weeks to live. It would be utterly wrong to lie and keep the diagnosis a secret. I was sure she had the ability to cope with the information.  She was brave.

We were used to facing life and its problems boldly;  but now it was different, we had to face death, not life.

Returning home, I went straight to her room. She asked me anxiously “What did the doctor say? I hope it is not TB”. I replied that it was not and would tell her everything soon after finishing lunch. I saw a ray of hope in her eyes. At the lunch table, it was an ominous silence. No one spoke.

Kalyani gave her mother something to eat  and came out of her room. I went in and closed the door after me.

This was perhaps the saddest moment in my life—to tell my wife that she is going to die in a few weeks.

I sat next to her on the bed, held her hand, and tried to find the right words. We looked deeply into each other’s eyes. She appeared as though she was going through moments of exceptional intensity. She knew something terrible was coming.

I told her that our wondrous life together would end soon for ever and quickly reported exactly what the doctor had said.

I couldn’t hold back my tears.

She did, and received the news with an innocent smile.

She said “Do you remember that I used say I would go first?”

I nodded my head and broke down.

She remained unruffled and appeared to be in full control of herself and her emotions.

Meenakshi then told me that she wanted to mention to me a few things as her last wish. What she told me, among other things, that no religious rituals to be performed after her death and her eyes should be donated to an eye bank, didn’t surprise me at all. I promised her that I would do everything as per her wishes.

Then, after a moment’s pause, she asked for a notebook and a pen. I gave her both wondering what was it that she wanted to put in writing. I helped her sit up and lean against a pile of pillows. She wrote, with some difficulty, all that she had told me, one by one, and signed at the bottom.

“Why do you have to write this? You don’t trust me?” I asked her.

“I trust you fully but others won’t”, she replied.

She then wanted me to call the family into the room. Everyone sat around her. She then gave the note to her grandson Duglu and asked him to read it aloud. He did it with tear-filled eyes. The contents of the note and her equanimity at a time she was facing death took everyone by surprise.

She joined us in the evening in the verandah for a chat. She didn’t talk much but managed to keep a faint smile on her face, perhaps just to assure us that she was not devastated by the news. Manasvinee, the granddaughter, asked her if she wanted some ice cream.

She nodded her head and said “I’m being looked after like a queen”.

In the following week, we got two medical nurses to look after her day and night. She found it difficult to get out of bed and often complained of pain which disturbed her sleep. The doctor put her on a course of steroids which helped only for a day or two.

Again the nights became very uncomfortable. The doctor then put her on morphine tablets which gave her some comfort. She slept for long hours and, when awake, she talked with relatives and friends who came in to see  her. She spoke very little and just listened to them with that smile on her lips.

Later, as days passed, her condition worsened. She ate very little and opted for fluids. Her memory began to fail. She found it difficult to identify people. Later she found it impossible to take any kind of food. Her breathing became hard and loud. She was given oxygen for brief periods.

A few days later even the oxygen didn’t help and she started moaning in pain. It became impossible to even swallow fluids and the morphine tablets. The doctor advised us to resort to morphine patches which comforted her and perhaps made her go into a semi-conscious condition.

***

December 21, 2008. Sunday.  Manasvinee and I were with her. The nursing sister had just given Meenakshi a sponge wash. She was resting with pillows at her back.

Suddenly, I found her breathing become slower and louder.

The nurse alerted me, and gestured to me to give her Ganga water.

I gave her a spoonful which she swallowed.  Then she opened her eyes wide, looked at me.  Suddenly the breathing stopped. She was gone.

Her passing was peaceful. I shall never forget that noble head lying on the pillow: the face showed no suffering; she looked, as ever, gorgeous and beautiful. She was cremated on the following day.

I felt that I should return Meenakshi to her home town Madurai.  We got married there. Her home stood on the bank of the river Vaigai. I therefore went to Madurai, accompanied by the entire family, and immersed her ashes in the Vaigai.

Life without her is a mirage. I feel like being pushed off  a cliff. Her sudden death has stunned me. I know “leaves have their time to fall and stars to set”, but she made me believe that she would live for ever. I realise that there is no sun without a shadow and all of us are, in fact, terminal cases.

I am now experiencing an emotional territory I had never explored – a landscape of grief, loss and longing.

***

Photograph: “The very first picture I took of Meenakshi after our wedding. It was done on the lawns of Rajghat in Delhi. She was trying to give me the good news that she was carrying a baby!” (courtesy T.S. Nagarajan)

***

Also by T.S. Nagarajan: The maharaja’s elephant made me a lensman

One for the album: A picture that’s worth 7,000 words

The H.Y. Sharada Prasad only I knew

The R.K. Narayan only I knew

‘The camera, like the brush, is only a tool of art’

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73 Responses to “‘I thought she would live forever': A love story”

  1. mysore peshva Says:

    what a sensitive piece!

    it is 2 o’clock at night as i type this. my mind swims with a potpourri of images from this week at my university. there are various colors, shapes, patterns, gestures… also jokes, giggles, secrets. my thoughts are all about this fleeting, beautiful, life. the thoughts are busy, but the feeling is strangely peaceful. it is like fast-paced cinema but in slow motion, and with no background score. in the glow of this laptop and the silence of the night, i feel blissfully outside of myself. i wonder if this is a form of samadhi?

    may i thank mr. nagarajan for the feelings?

  2. rajachandra Says:

    A very moving epithet. Moves the reader to tears ! May her soul rest in peace.

  3. Anush Shetty Says:

    Enjoyed reading it on a sunday afternoon. Thank you for this.

  4. Merlin Flower Says:

    I have a lump in my throat after reading this. And, I thought I’d never be moved by romantic stories-anymore.

  5. ashwini prasad Says:

    I am writing this from sharjah. really heart touching. real love story. this is an inspiring one! and a lesson to the young generation who do all bakwas in the name of love. let everyone follow this salute to you, sir! your wife is lucky to have a husband like you.

  6. Naveen Says:

    To be frank, these are the kind of stories which can save the present day younger generation from our “broken mirrors” of marital life. These are the stories which should be counselled for the bride (groom) of the present time before they get married. Personally I have decided to forward this story to my wife…..
    Dear, Nagarajan sir…..I salute you for knitting your life so wonderfully. This is a piece to be cherished for long..Thank you.

  7. Karthik Says:

    This showed the essence of true love.

    Reading it is an eye opener to folks in today’s generation who believe in leading life in the fast line both when it comes to selecting a partner and dumping them.

  8. Bala Says:

    .. I am not a reader.. But I started reading this on my mobile an couldn’t stop till I finished it… Simple…Touching… Sensitive.. .real…. Life… No-Story…Love.. Respect…!
    Thanks for sharing…

  9. Kesari Says:

    After a long time I have cherished a real love story with so heavy feelings.
    I felt numb going through the write up. Could sense the pictures moving in front of my eyes go through the article.
    A cheat sheet for successful life is what I would like to call this.
    Thanks a lot Nagarajan, Meenakshamma and Churumuri for this.

  10. Pulikeshi the Last Says:

    What if Shrimathi Meenaakshamma did not have a man who believed in women’s right to think for themselves for her husband? Hers would be an untold story among half a billion lives or so.

  11. Not A Witty Nick Says:

    :( :) (If reactions could be really expressed throuh smileys!)

    Churumuri,

    Read this post and ask yourself whether you require those lousy fillers to keep the blog updated.

    Who clicked TS Satyan’s photo that’s on his books and everywhere?
    TS Nagarajan?

    Guess, you could have obtained a more pleasant photo of TS Nagarajan for this post. :-)

  12. alljay Says:

    When I saw the picture of Meenakshi, I connected her to MS
    When I read this beautiful real-life M&B, I wanted a life like this
    When Nagarajan accepted a tissue from the doctor, I reached for one myself.
    Utterly moving and unforgettable.
    Thank you.

  13. Kumar RC Says:

    Wonderful story, heart breaking, God Bless and let the ‘Soul’ Of Smt. Meenakshi rest in peace. Also hats-off to Sri. Nagarajan for narrating a true story of Love and life’s soul mate.

  14. Chethana Says:

    I have loved reading anything that makes my heart miss a beat or brings a smile tio my lips or simply takes me to theage wher I believe true love existed This was the most beautiful read that perfectly made my Sunday
    Love has no boundar, or is it respect or plainly the fact that you were both so into each other that every moment in life seemed like a melody I bow my head to you SIR for pennng this in ode to yor wife
    She must have been more special han words could descrivbe from what I copuld gather fro this write-up….
    Thankyou for sharing this loved every word written here.

  15. bb Says:

    Indeed very touching …Fabulous piece of writing… Moves readers to tears…May her rest in peace…

  16. Ajatashatru Says:

    Wonderful..I cant find words.

  17. Vaidya Says:

    I saw 4000 odd words and being a blogger myself I knew it was huge and would be time consuming. Am thankful I decided to read it.

    Beautiful piece. And thankful to Churumuri for managing to post these excerpts. Such a wonderful life. And like many have posted in the comments a lesson to the current generation.

  18. ramamurthy janakiraman Says:

    such a moving experience. words from the depth of your heart.A great tribute to your beloved wife.

  19. Shiva Says:

    A beautiful post. Thanks to Churumuri and Mr. Nagarajan!

  20. usha Says:

    Very touching. Thank you Mr. Nagarajan for sharing with us fond moments and private memories. May Meenakshi’s soul rest in peace.

    A beautiful person and a life well lived. Brought alive in your words.

    If it is not out of place, may I venture a suggestion, Please consider publishing the book beyond friends and extended family. You are sensitive and gifted writer. And we look forward to reading your book.

    Thanks once again for sharing with us.

  21. NS Rao Says:

    A refreshing change at last – something really worthwhile on this blog site… younger generation need to read this to understand the word called mutual admiration and love.

  22. Sandesh Says:

    @NS
    ‘younger generation need to read this to understand the word called mutual admiration and love”

    The “younger generation” do certainly understand the word and meaning of mutual admiration and love. Thank you for patronizing the young gen.

  23. Vijay Says:

    Wow..what a touching piece..thanks for sharing…

  24. Sridhar Says:

    Respected Sir,

    It is the spirits of the much experienced and well learnt like yourself that give us the inspiration and hope in an otherwise monotonous and dry life. Its the ever green and ever flowing rivers of love and faith and hope like this very article we find our originality and the love to lead our lives in a simple and well mannered way. Thanks a lot for sharing such a wonderful emotion with us all. My deepest condolenses and warm wishes are with you and your beloved “Ardhangini”.

    With lots of Respect, love and warm regards,
    Sridhar

  25. Rastrakoota Says:

    Just too Gud! Thank You!

  26. ganesh Says:

    Mr. Nagarajan,
    Please live with memories of your dear wife.
    Yes, life has an expirartion date.

  27. Gaurav R Says:

    Thanks for sharing these special memories Naga thatha.

    I still picture you coming home with Meenakshi paati on the scooter. She will always be with us!

    Love,
    Gaurav (on behalf of everyone at Skanda)

  28. haririya raghavan Says:

    sir,
    my condolences to you and your family. am not able to stop crying, first of pain and now it is of joy, meenakshi maami lived her life and you have been a wonderful husband. many of us waste moments of our lives as married couple fighting over trivial issues and miss an opportunity to make the moment a special one. it is important for a husband and wife to meet on an intellectual plane too, all this while still guarding our identity, the one that we are born with and brought up with. i would love to see her pictures…her images truly passes in front of my eyes as i read it.

  29. Dr. M.K. Sridhar Says:

    Dear Sir,

    First of all, my heartfelt condolences to you and your family. Your feelings could not have been expressed in any better way. The feelings relate to everyone and I was moved to tears. People like dear Meenakshi make our life worth living and I remembered many Meenakshis who have left indelible mark in my life.

    Thanks for sharing with us,

    With Respect and Regards,
    Sridhar

  30. Manasvinee Says:

    As a grand daughter, reading such beautiful words about a love that i wished for everyone, and knowing that this love was shared between my own grandparents brings tears to my eyes.

    I am very gratefull to have a grand father who has the diction to pen down his thoughts and memories and paint pictures for all of us to cherish.

    To share this, i personally put up this article as a link to my own profile on the popular social networking site, Facebook, and got a large number of responses from people of my generation. This shows that even the younger generation respect feelings of love and togetherness, and wish that they could find such a love in for themselves.

    I also thank all of you for sharing your thoughts with all of us.

    Manasvinee

  31. Karthik Says:

    I have only one sentence sir,
    “You have shown us the meaning of Love”.

  32. naveen Says:

    May her soul rest in peace… i am speech less sir.. i am not finding any word…

    it takes a lot of courage to write like this… i can feel the lump in my throat…

  33. Sumit Bagotia Says:

    I would never call it a story…. it is love… pure and unconditional love. They both complete each other. Such humbleness and simplicity in love and care, I couldnt help crying all through. The girl (Meenakshi) was just full of life.. to her life meant celebrating each and every moment. She told us how to live…. not money or fame makes life big. Its about how you live every moment.

    Every word out here says how much she cherished being loved and adored and how much he loved watching her. I could relate to each and every word written out here.

    Manasvinee, I have a small request. If u could please send me a copy signed in person your grandfather, I would be grateful to you. I am ready to pay any amount you say.

    Sumit Bagotia

  34. Koki Says:

    Sri Nagarajan sir, my heartfelt condolences to you.

    Such a beautiful love story penned to perfection. Meenakshi ji is truely an inspiration …
    No wonder you loved her so much and she loved you equally.
    This is definitely a must read for the younger generation who are being misled by various medias about what true love is..

  35. Chinakurali Says:

    Thanks churmuri And TSN sir for this great write up. One could imagine from this how really could they have lived together great love and understanding.

    I Remember that picture of monkeys and meenakshi aunty in churmuri had a great laugh and supported uncle saying he has done nothing wrong in clicking the photo

    Now after reading this uncle we r with u in ur time of grief i know no words can soothe u but as u said ur wife is always with u. She will definetly guide and support u in ur every walk of life

    I wish i too can live a great life like this. Thank u once again for a ” daree deepa” for a younger generation like this.

    I urge churmuri to put that photograph of aunty with monkeys so that we the readers can also share the moment of happiness with TSN sir

    mana thumbi bandaga aa photo kanditha sahaya maduthe

    Thank u once again

  36. Lakshmi Says:

    beautiful peice sir!!!!
    Your wife seems like a phenomenal woman, and I’m sure that many others will miss her equally!!! This was so touching, it’s a true love story! It has stirred me!
    but maybe, she isn’t really gone…..she lives within you, lives through your words, the pictures…something makes me believe she’s still alive somewhere. And if she could be listening, she would hav been proud today…to listen to your words. You truly love her!!!
    Thank you for writing this down. Thanks for sharin with the world.
    Your story is truly exceptional……may she rest in peace!
    Warmest regards!
    Lakshmi

  37. Adithya Says:

    I was speech less after having read this unarguably emotion filled story. Reminds me of my grandfather.

    Love has been described by Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda as “Love is all expansion”. And your life is a witness to this.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Adithya

  38. Riyas Says:

    Wonderful love story…. really touching… hats-off to your unending saga of love…..

  39. Anshuman Patel Says:

    A truly heart-warming story. What a gem! Salutes to dear T S Nagarajan and dear departed Meenakshamma.

    But what’s with some comments ‘Younger generation ought to learn true love’ thingie? What’s the deal here? That most of the older folks led lives full of true love while the current dolt generation can’t figure it out even if it were to hit in their face? Isn’t that a tad too simplistic and overbearing?

    For every blessed Meenakshamma there possibly were many Subbamma, Lakshmamma or a Fatima who just ground their lives down under the unsympathetic gaze of their spouses. Isn’t that possible?

  40. Madhu Says:

    Simply brilliant and very touching indeed! Unfailingly leaves a lump in the throat. yedethumbide! Intha oLLeya jeevana katheyanna prakatisidhakkaagi TSN avarigu haagu Churumuri gu thumbu hrudayada dhanyavaadgaLu.

  41. Dr. Sree Reddy Says:

    please publish full front -face of the lady.

  42. Chinakurali Says:

    I agree with anshuman that there is no point in telling that ‘younger ‘generation has to learn or it is a lesson for younger generation and all. In my view it is a lesson for every married couple it is an example how two people shud live together.

    I have seen many old couple fighting for every possible reason.( vyassu aada melu kooda). This is purely a story (of course real)
    of understanding not of any generations

  43. Saurav Verma Says:

    Lost for words..
    As I close my eyes I can only see the memories playing itself over and over. When remembrals just pour in we try to grab all of them at once still trying to capture every detail and wishing to live each moment again. Even if we know they are just ripples of the past, they are far more beautiful than today and we just want to embrace and wish to turn time back, to re-live the moments again. The place still has her fragrance, its still as beautiful and fresh as she.

    Tribute to the most simplest and deepest feeling of all…

  44. Ranjani Says:

    If my husband and I face even half the happiness of married life that you and Meenakshi faced, I’d consider us very lucky…
    May God bless her soul and I am sure she’s looking over you with a smile…

  45. Kumu Says:

    I am moved completely. May her soul be happy wherever she is!
    Thanks for sharing this life story!

  46. Reshmi Says:

    Thank you Nagarajan sir for sharing such a wonderful life story with us.. It is a real pleasure to hear that you and your wife shared wonderful moments with each other, at the same time I feel low (and I am sure whoever reads it would feel the same) to hear that your life-partner is no more..

    In today’s world where most of the couple try to find only mistakes in each other’s life, let this story be an eye-opener conveying the message that we should find the plus points not the negative..!!

    Thank you Mr.Nagarajan once again..!!

  47. Kamal K Soan Says:

    Such a wonderful journey of life..come to an end for such a beautiful couple after 50 years of marriage…this link was sent to me by my fiancee, she has been my best friend too past so many years…reading this story moves me so much that….Life is too short to fight n feel sad about the lost time..rather than being happy for what we have n what we can do :)….Hope it’s a great learning lesson for all of us…

  48. niks Says:

    I am very much moved by this post. May her soul rest in peace

  49. DR.prabhanrao.S.B. Says:

    Sir
    It was quite a moving life’s incident.In my case my wife’s passing away was less painfull as she never recovered and it never occured to me that she will leave me for ever.But every one destined to exit one day or the other.What I pray now is SUNAYA SA MARANAM so that people who are near and dear do not feel the pain.
    Prabhanjan Rao

  50. Raj V. Kadolkar Says:

    Sir, this touches right to the core of the heart… Wat a wonderfull lively realtionship… I think “SHE DOES LIVE FOREVER’ with you.. Your words, Your memories and Your LOVE shall keep her ALWAYS with you… N i feel, now I’ll be carrying the sweet little touching scenes that emerged out of your words….

  51. Petra Says:

    this is so lovely – & a good reminder to cherish my husband very much & enjoy each day to the fullest – life is just too short……………….& should never be taken for granted

    thank you for sharing.

    may our good Lord give you His strength to continue this journey with the many awesome memories of your wife.

    god bless

  52. Ranjitha Says:

    Tears in my eyes…

  53. Hema Sivaramakrishnan Says:

    Hello Sir,

    My heartfelt condolenses for the unfathomable loss in your life. it is very rare that you come across such wonderful human beings so selfless, and unassuming. reading this i am reminded of my mother in law who was very similar to meenakshi aunty, always smiling and ready to help, great culinary skills, above all great human being. Unfortunatley we also lost her to the dreaded C.

    I am sure that Meenakshy aunty would be a source of inspiration for many younger generations including me who lack qualities like adjusting and being selfless.

    Please take care of your self uncle and regards to Kalyani and Vasanthi akka.

  54. madhanaraj Says:

    No words to say! i am not have reading habit. came across this masterpiece during a google search for something else about madurai.
    I would thank google for making my time valuable..

    Love is all about understanding and giving…yes it is all in your life sir.

  55. Suma Says:

    Thanks Sir, for sharing with us your grief and your inspiring story.

    Very touching.

    Best,
    Suma.

  56. ks krishnan Says:

    i am reminded of the words ‘to live in the hearts that we leave behind is not to die at all’. i chanced to go through this post through a buzz from my son. i could not avoid thinking about how i felt when my mother passed away on my lap. a person is really fortunate when he gets a mother and wife who are akin in their outlook and simple life style. similar feelings only i got when my mother passed away and i am sure similar feelings only i will be getting when my wife will die if it is ordained by God that my wife’s wishes ‘that i will only go first as a sumangali’ become true. sir, i can visualize how badly you are affected because of the demise of your beloved wife. may her soul rest in peace.

  57. Anand Bhavankar Says:

    It reminds me of my Parents who wre married for 45 years. They lived a simple life and enjoyed each others company and found happiness in simple things. One good lesson or take away from this article is life is short, don’t miss out on the simple things in life to enjoy.

  58. Deepesh Says:

    I bow to the lady. It just reminds me how great Indian women are. What a fulfilled life!

  59. S K Muthanna Says:

    Reality never brought tears in my eyes; much more than Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s “Anand” my handkerchief was all damp wiping away tears while going through your narration, which ought to be true. You’r lucky – both of your lives were buoyed with so much love! Natarajan, don’t fall, stay up and beam!!

  60. Madhu Medappa Says:

    Blessed to have such a wonderful life! valuing one’s partner & such mutual admiration is rare. One goes through critical phases of life, how we carry on & the magnanimity which you brought was touching. Thanks for penning it.

  61. One more Person Says:

    Mr. Nagarajan,
    I am also going through this ordeal, I can feel your pain. My wife is a breast cancer patient and is being treated by Dr. Sankar Srinivasan, a wonderful human being. But my wife is much younger and we have not lived many years together due to late marriage. I have two small girl children, who at the time of diagnosis were just 5 and 7. But I am keeping faith in God and the Dr. who is giving me courage and the ordeal is still going on into the sixth year. But I do not have many people to give me courage. I manage all by myself, taking care of the kids, and of course I work too.

    God has different plans for different people. Hope I have the courage to face.

  62. Shemej Says:

    I am an atheist. But why I wish, if you could unite with your wife in the other world. Today, (19th Feb 2014) read in Churumuri the sad news. And today, only today, I read your write up about your love life. That you informed your wife about her illness throws light on your personality. You were very truthful to your wife. What made tears come to my eyes? I never knew you….

  63. Samyuktha S Raman Says:

    Dear Sir,

    It is an honor for her to have lived a life with you, and for you to have lived a life with her. Its beautiful how a few people touch our lives in the most precious ways.

    For Peace.

  64. Kumar Gautam Says:

    No piece of writing is best then the leaf from one’s life. Beautiful as their 50 years of love & companionship.

  65. Paula Says:

    I too am moved to tears by this beautiful gift of words that paint a story of hope for all of us. For those of us injured by betrayal this story demands we don’t give up the search for true love.

  66. Dr. Aparna Bagwe Says:

    a beautiful relating, so matter of factly, of Mr. TS Nagarajan’s love… and life with his beloved Meenakshi… moving… so lovely.. yet heart breaking… thanks so much for sharing this with us, Sir!

  67. Rama Says:

    A true love story!!!

  68. midnighthues Says:

    Dear Sir,

    Poignantly written. I am glad you are able to cherish these wonderful memories of your lovely wife. She is vibrant and alive in your memories. Thank you for sharing this story with us.
    Regards,
    Aparna

  69. Betty Says:

    Truly touching sharing… its rare to hear about marriage being lived with such delicate consideration for one another…. and to have such intellectual sharing between the husband and wife… truly there’s lot to learn from this sharing…. And i wish Mr. Nagarajan my heart felt condolence but also a prayer that each day u may be able to experience ur wife close to you and each day of ur may begin with her everlasting smile…

  70. Kannan Says:

    Beautiful story! I grieve with you for your loss of so many years ago.

  71. Col(Retd) Thomas Says:

    Very touching. Thank you for sharing with us
    A life well lived by both of you .May her soul rest in peace& may you both be together in next life too. .

  72. Lt col .N .John Jacob Says:

    Dear friend I was struggling to hold my tears when I red the frightful experience you have gone through.Words can not express our grief because I too lost my wife on 1 feb 2014. She was a good English teacher in a local college. Acute diabetes completely destroyed her mental faculty. , she was in hospital, the hospital authorities insisted to keep her in ventilator, I refused, she could not speak her radiant eyes always communicated to me that SHE did not wanted to be isolated during her last moments, when the time approached for her to leave this world, I held her in my arms and told her”Sally it is time fore you to leave this world, I am holding you closely , don’t be scared , she looked at me ,smiled and closed her eyes for ever, she could even retain that smile on her dead body, and she looked like an angel. I laid her to rest in our family tomb and I wrote on her tomb ,SHE RECEIVED HEAVEN THROUGH THE ORIEL WINDOW OF HER HEART LONG BEFORE HEAVEN OPENED ITS PEARLY GATES FOR HER.

  73. Joy m mendonce Says:

    True soulmates……..

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