In a real-life Veer-Zaara reunion of sorts, an Indian couple, torn apart by socio-political circumstances in a pre-independent India, finally met each other recently after 72 long years.
Their love story, might not be ridden with sweet clichés but is indeed one that defies time and space.
As mentioned in reports across several publications, the wedding of 90-year-old EK Narayanan Nambiar and his first wife, 86-year-old Sarada, took place in 1946. Sarada was only 14 years old at the time, while Narayanan was 18.
Only eight months into the marriage, in December 1946, Narayanan and his father Thaliyan Raman Nambiar decided to be a part of the Kavumbai Farmers Rebellion, which was a farmers’ uprising against the feudal lords, to claim back their lands.
In Kuvambai, this uprising was directed against the feudalist, Karakattidam Nayanar, who exercised control over the lands in Kannur.
As per the plan, Narayanan, along with his father and hundreds of others, gathered on December 30, 1946, to attack the house of the landlord. To their surprise, the operation failed when the Malabar Special Police (MSP), deployed by the British rulers, reached the spot and cornered them. While many were killed, and several were injured, Narayanan and his father, managed to escape unhurt and went underground.
Two months later, they were found and imprisoned for being a part of the rebellion. In retaliation, the MSP plundered their home, expecting the two to return.
“His mother took care of me as if I were her daughter. One night, a shooting occurred atop Kavumbayi hills. I have never met him afterwards. [The] police came to attack me, [but] his mother protected me from them. They also set the house on fire. His mother sent me back to my house later. [The] police used to come there also,” Sarada told Mathrubhumi.
Left alone and with no sign of his return, Narayanan’s mother did not want to risk her daughter-in-law to further assault by the Britishers and the landlords, so she married her off to another man. After eight long years, when Narayanan was released from jail in Salem, he too remarried.
After having lived separately for so many years, it was fate that brought them back together.
It was purely by chance that Bhargavan, Sarada’s son, happened to come across Santha Kavumbayi, Narayanan’s niece, and TV Madhukumar, Narayanan’s nephew. Interestingly, Santha is the author of 30 December, a novel based on the events of her uncle’s life.
The encounter revealed that after so many years, the two were still alive and it was then decided that a meeting would be set up. The couple eventually met at Bhargavan’s house in Parassinikkadavu in the Kannur district, where Sarada’s family prepared a meal of kappa (tapioca), kanji (rice gruel) and puzhukku (a root vegetable dish) for Narayanan.
After a brief interaction with their separate families, they once again went their separate ways, although this time the farewell was a sweeter one!
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)