The Life-Partner Arrives!
It was the year 1965. The Tholpadi family received a matrimonial proposal for Murari. It was from Shri K Sarvottham Hebbar of Kundapura. He was a rich landlord and also owned a printing press in Kundapura. His first daughter Snehaprabha had completed her B.Sc. In fact she was working as a Demonstrator in the Bhandarkar’s itself. Sneha was also a student of MGM College when Murari was working there temporarily. The proposal was perfect - with a minor hitch though! While Murari was a six-footer, Sneha was short in height. Both the families gave their consent. It was left to Murari to take the final decision.
Murari was agreeable for the proposal. But he had his own conditions. He told Sneha almost bluntly that he had a commitment to his family. It was to support the education of his younger brothers and sisters. It included the support for the marriage of the sisters also. It was not only the question of extending financial support. Murari told Sneha that the younger lot would stay with them for completion of their High School and College education. According to Murari, the commitment could be almost for a period of 15 years!
It was indeed a challenge for Sneha. Her father was a quite well-off man and she had a comfortable upbringing in her family. While she relished the proposal from one of the most eligible bachelors in Kundapura at that time, the responsibility and the sacrifice post-marriage was just awesome. Which girl of today would like to lose her privacy with her hubby - that too immediately after marriage? How many of them would agree for cooking at the kitchen daily for her husband’s family members on a long-term basis? How many of them would not mind their husband’s major portion of monthly salary go towards his family maintenance!
The challenge was accepted by Sneha. The marriage of Murari and Sneha was held in Udupi on the 13th of December 1965. The initial days were really tough for Sneha. But she found in Murari the qualities of a most understanding and lovable husband. After some time she found it difficult to hold on to her job and perform her household duties simultaneously. Murari left the decision to her. He knew the available funds for the family would come down. But he did not want her to bear the burden just for money’s sake. Sneha tendered her resignation to the job after about one and a half year.
The size of Murari’s family at Kundapura kept growing. His sisters Kshama and Sudha and the youngest brother Ravi joined the family over a period of time. Murari’s maternal uncle’s son Raghu also stayed with the family for three years. Many years later, Sudhir, son of Murari’s elder brother, also stayed with the family. He stayed there for eight years to complete his graduation. All of them joined Murari at the High School 1St Year stage. Meanwhile the first daughter of the couple – Kavitha – had arrived. The second sister Veena also stayed with the family for some time. The idea was to find a suitable match for her.
The marriage of Veena was held in the year 1971 with Mr. Ramamurthy of Koteshwara, a hotelier by profession. The marriage of Uma was held in the year 1972 with Mr. M H Rao, who was working with a German multinational company in Mumbai. Murari had to share the financial burden on both the occasions. But the couple definitely had a sense of satisfaction for having contributed to the family’s welfare.
Murari’s burden started reducing after his immediate younger brother Venkatarama completed his M.Sc. and joined Karnataka Bank as an Officer. Meanwhile, another younger brother Rajgopal also completed his B.Sc. and joined the services in Canara Bank. Both of them left Kundapura and started sharing the financial burden. The marriage of Kshama was held in 1977 (with the writer of this article). By the time the marriage of the youngest daughter Sudha came up, the youngest brother Dr. Ravi contributed the lion’s share. All in all, Murari’s goal of educating his younger brothers and sisters and conducting the marriages of younger sisters was achieved within the timeframe he had envisaged and told his wife Sneha.
By this time the couple’s son – Ganesha – had arrived. The couple could now focus on their daughter Kavitha and the newly born son. Murari could also now think of building a house of his own in Kundapura. He started looking for a site. He could build his dream house in Kundapura in the year 1981 – nearly 20 years after he took up his first employment.
The writer of this article was on deputation to inspect certain branches of Canara Bank in South Kanara while working at the Inspection Department in Mumbai. The year was 1978. He fell ill while on duty at a Mangalore branch. Luckily for him, he had also been entrusted with the job of inspecting the Brahmavara and Tekkatte branches near the Kundapura town. He stayed with the couple for more than a month and could recoup his health and energy! He remembers how Sneha took all the trouble to ensure that his health could improve at the earliest. That was more like an elder sister!
The occasion was also an opportunity for him to observe what a disciplined life the couple led. He could see the respect Murari commanded in the small town. Murari is a stickler to time and the family’s daily schedule was more like a school timetable. The concept of ‘healthy food’ had been a norm with this family even in those days. Of course it has become a fashionable statement for the present generation!
Murari was offered the post of Principal of the Bhandarkar’s repeatedly. However, he somehow did not like to take up an administration job. He was quite happy with his job of teaching. Eventually he retired as Professor of Economics and Head of the Department from the Bhandarkar’s in April 1994. He was offered the post of Principal of BB Hegde College of Commerce & Business Management in Kundapura. He worked there for six months; but found the working environment not to his liking and resigned. He is enjoying his retired life peacefully in Kundapura since then.
Many of his students from all over India and across the world remember Murari as their best teacher. He also remembers many of his students who rose to eminent positions in their sphere of life. Among them he cites the names of Shri Annappayya (a rank student) who retired as the General Manager of Canara Bank and Shri K R Kamath – the present Chairman and Managing Director of Punjab National Bank. In fact, Mr. Kamath honoured Murari by making a special mention of him as his best teacher during his visit to Bhandarkar’s two years ago.
The couple’s daughter Kavitha was a brilliant student who completed her MBBS from the Mysore Medical College. Married to an IPS Officer Mr. Mardi immediately thereafter, she completed her House Surgeonship in Simla, Himachal Pradesh. She later completed her MD and DNB at the Indira Gandhi Medical College in Simla. Presently she is working as Professor of Pathology at the same college. Her husband Mr. Mardi is working as the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) of the Government of Himachal Pradesh in Simla.
In addition to her culinary skills, Sneha has been an expert in stitching and artwork. She also makes various paper articles. She regularly engages herself in teaching her art to interested women. The purpose is to engage herself in creative work and guide the younger generation. She doesn’t charge any fee for her teaching work.
Ganesha, the only son of the couple, is into business in Kundapura. Over a period of time he has turned out to be a very successful businessman. What is more – he has not shirked from the responsibility to look after his parents by moving away from Kundapura. For the Murari couple it has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Ganesha is married to Suma. The couple’s daughter is Neeta. The young couple is taking full care of Murari and Sneha in the evening of their life. Murari keeps himself updated on current affairs through newspapers and TV media. He has maintained his health in perfect condition through disciplined life and controlled food habits. The couple is leading a peaceful retired life in the coastal town. This writer wishes a long healthy and happy life to the couple.--------Concluded--------