Saturday, May 2, 2015

Move Over Saroja Devi, Sarala Murthi is here!

In our childhood, we never thought of Anna as a romantic. In the 70s and 80s, one tended to assume that romance was reserved for the young and not people of my parents’ age.
This thought changed after watching the weekly telecast of a movie one Sunday night. On our black and white TV, of course. I don’t recall what movie we had just finished watching, but, it must have been some soppy Bollywood movie, for one of the four-of-us-children commented on how romantic the film was.

In response, this is the story our mother, Amma, told us.

When Amma and Anna got married in Bangalore in 1958, Anna was posted in Kashmir. After the wedding, and the mandatory visits to in-laws home town etc., Amma and Anna, went to Srinagar.

Saroja Devi
On reaching their new home, Anna caught Amma’s hand and led her to the bedroom.  He then opened his cupboard.  On the inside of the cupboard door, was a newspaper-clipped photograph of B Saroja Devi, the heartthrob of many a young South Indian man. 

Anna, looked at Amma, and told her, “I don’t need the photograph of any actress.  Not even that of Saroja Devi!  Sarala Murthi is by far the most beautiful. And she is here with me.” He then removed the photograph from the cupboard, tore it to small pieces and threw it into the dustbin.

I remember we all let out a long wolf “oooooooooohhhhhhh”, accompanied with raised eyebrows, and slightly closed eyes.

From this story onward, we never thought of Anna as unromantic, but just as someone who did not show his romantic side in public.

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