Monday, February 27, 2012

MD Narayana Iyer: Chapter 4

Ankichi gave birth to a stillborn baby boy (born with hydrocephalus). This was a blow to the whole household. Apparently, Dharmu used to visit the spot where the infant was buried, every morning and evening, out of a faint hope to see if the baby had come back to life. Such was the grief. But in due course, life starting coming back to normal. Ankichi and her husband were young, and they could have many more children. Appa consulted the best gynaecologist of the day to make sure there was nothing physically wrong with either of them.

In the meantime Manikutty, who left for England a few days after the birth of Ankichi's stillborn child, had started his preparations for the ICS in right earnest. He was attending classes at Cambridge and other places for his subjects.

Manikutty appeared for the ICS exams, and despite getting top marks for some of the written subjects, could not make it in the viva voce. Manikutty, who did not know what it was like to come second, had failed the ICS examination. Appa was visibly upset at the turn of events, but took it in his stride, thinking Manikutty would have another chance at the ICS examinations.

What nobody knew at that time was that politics had entered Manikutty's thoughts, and this came through in the ICS interview, resulting in his failure.

MD Narayana Iyer: Chapter 3

Things were going smoothly in Appa's life. He was advancing in his own career in the Cochin government service. He was well-respected for his integrity as well as for his ability. Manikutty continued to be an extraordinarily brilliant student. He stood first in the Presidency in his intermediate examination, and went on to do his Mathematics honours at Presidency College in Madras. "Second to none", "One who does not know what it is to be second", were some of the phrases used to describe him. When Manikutty completed his honours degree, arrangements were made for his departure to England, as the preparatory step for appearing for the ICS.

Ankichi, after a couple of years of marriage, was expecting her first child - a much-awaited grandchild! Appa's cup was full - things were going very well, when the first tragedy struck.

MD Narayana Iyer: Chapter 2

Appa's younger brother-in-law, T.A. Sesha Iyer of Kozhikode, brought a marriage proposal for Ankichi, the bridegroom being his own son, Anantanarayanan, or Ambi as he was called at home. Sesha Iyer was a legal luminary and a well-respected figure in Kozhikode. An alliance with Sesha Iyer was considered an honour. Ambi was an up-and-coming lawyer, and heir to his father's formidable legal practice. Hmmm, good enough, Appa thought. The added attraction was that Ankichi would not have to adjust to a new household because the bridegroom was his own nephew.

Ankichi's marriage was celebrated with great pomp. There was a Harikatha performance by Ennapadam Venkataraman Iyer, and Musiri Subramania Iyer gave a music concert.