Express News Service

Had to keep son away from my joint family

Even during regular days, childbirth is a stressful time and you can imagine what it would have been when the lockdown extension was announced and my wife Chanchal Jain’s expected date of delivery was April 4.

Her gynecologist Dr Anitha of Anitha Nursing Home in Malakpet advised her to go for a Caesarian section on April 1 when all the speciality doctors were available and we did not want to take a risk. So we decided to follow her instructions.

Only Chanchal’s mom was allowed to stay with her. Except for the emergency ward, nothing in the hospital or around it was open. So providing meals, that too a vegetarian no-onion, no-garlic meal made fresh was getting difficult as we were not allowed to ply on the roads after 5 pm. Although I live in a joint family with many experienced and wise senior citizens, we could take anyone to the hospital to oversee the new mom and baby due to the lockdown rules.

Our elder son Yuvan Jain, who is three-and-half years old, had to wait until his younger sibling came home after a week. The 21st day rasm, a big ritual for Jains, had to be a Zoom meeting and virtual asheervad.

Being a large family, nobody could control the excitement of meeting the newborn and take him into their arms. This was a huge challenge for us in the current pandemic. I filmed my doctor’s advise (do’s and don’ts) and broadcast it in our family WhatsApp group and made the elderly in the house heed to it. They say one must always see the silver lining.

As the founder and CEO of a wedding and event planning firm, May and June are the most hectic months with weddings lined up. But this time, I had all the time in the world to take care of my baby. I don’t see any big events happening until October. So I am prepared to spend over six months at home, to see my little one grow, one day at a time. That’s not bad, right?

— Vardhaman Jain, Founder & CEO- Shooting Starz Events

Managed to arrange everything on time, from taambaalam to rokali

I Believe in time, in muhurta balam and therefore, I never had second thoughts about going ahead with my sister Alladi Sharanya’s wedding with Rajesh. They got engaged on March 13, a few days before the lockdown and though most of our folks expressed their apprehension about her wedding on April 6, the peak of Covid-19, my brother and I decided to go ahead.

We lost our parents and seeing our sister get married was important for us. Originally, we had booked Krishna Reddy Function Hall near Sriramana Theatre in Amberpet and had expected to invite over 1,000 guests. Eventually, we had to perform her wedding at a local temple at Ashok Nagar in Golnaka.

We chose the temple as it had big premises and our 18 guests we had including the bride and groom and the pandit would have space for social distancing. We believe in traditions and rituals. So although we knew things would not be extravagant and will have to be conducted without many of our loved ones, we did not want to compromise on the rituals.

We did inform the local police station and followed all the norms set down. As planned, the wedding commenced with a few select family members and friends at 8 am. A close friend who is a florist arranged a small pandiri for us at the entrance of the temple. We used sannayimelam from YouTube for the music. The lunch, a feast nevertheless, had all that you would expect at a Telugu wedding – from pulihora to laddu to bakshyam.

Again, a friend who runs a catering unit and his mom prepared the feast and sent it across just around noon. Luckily, my sister had picked an extra saree for her engagement ceremony and she could use it for the wedding. Our neighbour runs a bangles and fancy store at Ramantapur. So we went there during the mandated hours to buy bangles, pearls and thermocol balls, the typical paraphernalia for a wedding, from his shop.

This friend connected us to a steel shop owner who provided us with traditional cauldrons such as taambaalam etc. While we are brainstorming about how to get a rokali for the pasupu kumkuma ceremony, we remembered that one of our family friends had recently got their daughter married and they had the set. So we went to their place and picked it up.

We have a provision store and we could pick up the navadhyanalu etc from our own storeroom. At 12 noon, we finished the rituals, photographs (removed masks for a few seconds for the click) and lunch. The u-shaped courtyard came in handy. We arranged for 10 chairs on each side of the U while the bride and groom sat in the middle.

Our budget was around Rs 6 lakh and we spent about Rs 60,000. While we feel sad that we could not invite our loved ones for the only girl’s wedding in the family, we are happy that we could give her a couple of lakhs that we saved on the wedding expenses. The caterers and the wedding hall manager told us they would refund our money in three months after their business picks up. We hope to direct that to our dear sister. It was a simple, yet sweet marriage. Nothing over the top. It was an intimate and memorable wedding. It’s all about how we make the best of things we have.

— Alladi Ravi, Executive Auditor, Chroma Electronics

Potato chips was all that I had on my way to funeral

My 64-year-old aunt, who was suffering from cancer, passed away on April 28 and as the only youngster in the family, I had to travel all the way to Adilabad, driving overnight from Hyderabad in my car for about eight hours while she was laid down in the ambulance.

I had to rush at short notice and did not even find lunch anywhere. I bought 10 packets of processed chips, a few soft drinks, a bottle of water and started off. There were about 10 checkpoints and it meant, downing the car windows, displaying the permission letter, and explaining the situation over and over again.

Finally, when I did make it to my destination, the usual problems such as waiting time to get space in an electric crematorium, having to find cash at the last moment as they wouldn’t accept Google Pay etc. Finally, when we went back home, we had to wash the premises ourselves and a friendly neighbour arranged a hot, fresh meal.

Then I had to rush back to the city and head to work the next day. There was no time to mourn and nobody to share the grief except the immediate family. During such testing times, it’s not just life, but death too, looks weird. Ah well, things happens when they have to happen and life goes on.

—Pariskhit Reddy, Owner of Ridhima Boutique

But the show must go on

Just staying at home seemed like a big hassle for many of us when the lockdown was announced. Eventually, we all learnt to accommodate the new normal called ‘social distancing’ and ‘home
isolation’ in our lives. While we cribbed and complained, three citizens handled three important miles of their lives with grace and dignity. We bring you those heart-touching tales here

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