Grandmother's Desires



(English translation by Dr. Ahana Lakshmi)
The original Tamil version by Kumudini was included in a volume titled "Sillarai Sangathigal Limited" (Trifling Matters Limited) under the section "Antahpura Tapal" (Zenana Mail) and published in 1948.

Letter written by Hidimba's grandmother Sammarjanakesi to Srimati Pisachavadani:

May all propitious things happen to my dear friend Pisachavadani. Are you keeping well? A groom is yet to be found for my granddaughter. She has grown like a tree. I am always thinking about this. I have rolled out appalams for this. She does not even know how to use the upper cloth to cover herself. She is always running around with that Hidumban. Because of this cold weather I have pain in my feet. Nothing is getting digested. I ate only one goat the other day. All through the night I had so much discomfort in my stomach. She wants only a swayamvara. All because of education these days. Who listens to what we say? If you have, send me a couple of barrels of chukku-thippili medicine. Kumbakarna's great grand son Vakranasi is a gem of a boy. Just a little dark in complexion. You know his mother. Our Tataka's own aunt's daughter. I saw her the other day on the riverbank. "I want an alliance with you. My granddaughter must be married into your family", I told her. She accepted the idea. I have rolled out 5000 appalams. Who listens to us? I showed the horoscopes to the astrologer. 'It will happen, but the right time has to come', he said. I have made arrangements for prayers to be said to Lord Brahma. Hint to her that plentiful gifts will be given at the time of the wedding. Both my legs have become useless. Who is to tell and what is to be done? Do the boys of today listen to us? Always this Hidumban takes her away to roam with him. Do you think that a decoction of rose buds will help with the gas problem? Or will it bring in some new devilish trouble? Hidumban growls that the marriage will take place when it will. It is constantly preying in my mind. Appalam..

Sammarjanakesi writes to Saubhagyavati Hidimba Devi:

First Letter

Many blessings to Saubhagyavati Hidimba.

What for did you marry Bhima? I will henceforth not look at your face. I had chosen a groom like Manmatha for you! Does one marry a human? Without a squeak, you have done this in the middle of the night! You have become the one to bring ruin to the family! From now on, do not come the way of my house. Kunti has five sons. She will be prejudiced. I brought you up giving you an oil bath every other day. She will make your stomach go empty. Why did you marry Bhima? What do I care what happens to you! I was hoping to see a child born from your womb. Does one marry out of caste like this? I have rolled appalams, made vadams and gone through so much inconvenience! What for did you marry Bhima! Everything is wasted! From now on do not call me grandmother. I will not come near your house.

Second Letter

Blessings to Saubhagyavati Hidimba.

I saw Pisachavadani yesterday. Your granddaughter is very well-behaved. She is obedient to her mother-in-law, she said. "After all, my granddaughter will be only like me! I have taught her whatever expertise I possess", I told her. Be good. Make sure to pull tightly the upper cloth and cover yourself. If they snigger that you are like this or like that, I will be very ashamed. It seems Dharmaputra praised you. Kunti is a very good person. Large family, poor thing! Be helpful to her. Bhima and Hidimbi are made for each other said someone, I heard it. What am I asking for! If I hear that you are doing well, that is enough, no stigma should come to your grandfather's name. That's all - be good.

Third Letter

All manner of auspicious things should happen to Saubhagyavati Hidimba. Pisachavadani gave me the news. 'Off her food, has morning sickness', she said. Here, I am leaving right away and coming over.

Your dear grandmother.