Sangalph - Its for togetherness, a Short Story
John looks back at the incidents in his last 44 years of married life. Being a book store owner, is not giving him enough to make a splashy living, but life chugs along.
He was the one who introduced the 'read as you like' concept in the nicely lit store, closer to M.G.Road the heart of Bangalore.
Now his darling wife Aruna lies in Coma at Nimhans, recovering from the Spinal Injury, that happened due to the negligent driving of a rich youngster.
He looked at the small transistor radio, what keeps him busy, listening to the latest noisy FM, myriad of channels.
"How wonderful were those times....." he thought, tapping on that radio.
Aruna was one of the daughters of a leading Kannada moviemaker, Rajanna, who had produced the first colour movie with spectacular effects with Dr.Rajkumar those days. She was a regular reader and a book buyer.
John always tried to strike a chord, with his shop visitors, mostly free readers and some buyers. Aruna was good lucking, and she always caught his attention.
Books were shared, then the walk to the India Coffee House happened, and moments were shared. Pleasantries were exchanged day to day and the relation grew strong.
He had the habit of opening the store, "Sangalph", named it for bringing the togetherness between the books and people, only in the afternoon on a busy Sunday.
That particular day, Aruna walked in a hurry, looking for a particular book on American Life & Culture, as on the previous day, John F Kennedy was assassinated on, Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, USA. The Vietnam War was about to begin, and USA army was stationed to get in soon, and the hippie culture and the booming American life had put thoughts into minds of Indians, to look at America as the destination. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was encouraging the Nuclear Research at BARC, for cleaner energy under the abled leadership of Homi Bhabha. USA was never seen with closer ties, unlike USSR.
He took her address, and said " I will get it to you!".
That is how, he met her father Rajanna, while her mother had passed away due to brain fever - dengue.
"Wonderful daughter Sir. I like you movies too! You are lucky!" said John, to the smiling face of Rajanna.
Sitting at the Cubbon Park, and watching the stray dogs, beggars pass by one day, Aruna asked John, "Why don't we get married?".
He was dumbfound.
They were married at the Registrars office, near Hudson Circle, on the morning of May 27th, 1964, the day when Nehru passed away.
No kids, only Jimmy the Labrador dog and later Rocky, named after the Sylvester Stallone movie character, a cross German Shepherd & Rajapalayam breed.
Aruna went into charity, and spent time with kids, in a friends Montessori No fights, and they cared well for each other. The "Sangalph" shop was improved, and more readers started coming in. Business was busy, and as usual, with new authors from India starting to write.
Many languages were read there. Aruna, who had studied at Kotagiri St.Marys Homes, School, had picked up Tamil, and liked the literature and brought in upcoming writers to read at the shop, a new concept that was catching up then. Sujatha Rangarajan was the first to read his book, "Nylon Kayiru". That novel had come in the form of a series during 1968 in Kumudam. An engineer writing novels, people were amazed.
Occasionally, cinema guys and family came to the house in the upcoming Cox Town area.
They celebrated all the religious festivals with pomp and flavour. From Sankranthi to Christmas.
A month ago from today, Bangalore pub culture, and the nightly walk, costed the lively Aruna, her health state into Coma. The guy was so drunk, and in front of John, he had rammed the car on the footpath.
He sat by her side, holding her hands gently, and softly kisses her on the forehead. He thought, "you might be in coma, in a state of wanderlust, but, your memories, would always be with me Aruna. The Sangalph, our togetherness stays on. I wish to see you wake up and smile at me one day....". Today is May 27th, 2008.