Monday, February 14, 2011

Chapter I - The Miracle

Shihka Kottayil, nee Shikha Michael Kuttiparambil. From frying pan into the fire, thought Shika as she closed the file that contained all her important documents, and put it away in the locker. True, she thought, Syrian Catholics, as a rule, were conservative. But her father, Michael Kuttiparambil would win a competition in conservatism hands down. And it’s not as though he were an underexposed man. Appachan, whom she referred to in jest as Grandpa Kuttiparambil, was reeking rich and had sent his elder son Michael to a famous school in the Nilgiris, from where he was the Nilgiris topper in the Board exams. Michael had never looked back since. He topped St.Stephen’s College, Delhi, from where he graduated, and then went on to the Delhi School of Economics for his Masters and Ph. D programme. The story goes that he fell in love with his junior from Bengal whom he dated for three years but finally decided against marrying her when he got a proposal from the CEO of Asian Development Bank for his stunningly beautiful daughter whose dowry was a whopping 15 lakhs, a Mercedes, a three storeyed apartment in Kochin in addition to 500 sovereigns of gold (of which 300 were in biscuits), and a complete diomond set which was a rare thing in those days in the late seventies.

It’s the strangest of coincidences that caused Shikha’s and Rahkee’s paths to cross – in London School of Economics as soon as they joined the institution for the Masters programme in 2003.
‘I thought you’re a Bong’, grinned Shikha introducing herself. “But that Kuttiparambil told me you’re a Mallu. I’m Rakhee. Rakhee Chatterjee”
Rakhee and Shikha took to each other like duck to Kuttanaad waters.

That evening, when Shikha spoke to her father, she told him that she’d found a friend. “And papa, her mother’s name is Shikha. She thought I was a Bong till she heard my surname. You might know her mother. She was in the DSE around the time you were doing your PhD there”
“I don’t know, Shika. There were several Shiksas there.” Shikha thought her father sounded not his usual self.
“Her mother is an environment activist now, locally famous.”
“Hello. You there, papa?”
“Yes, yes. Shall call you later. Have an official call coming in”.

Within twelve hours after this conversation came that phone call which shattered Shika’s world. “You father has a condition which he had been keeping from us till now. It is a degenerative disease called motor neurone. He is not expected to survive beyond two years. His doctor spoke to me today. I thought I should tell you this.”

Shikha came back to Chennai and pursued her Masters in Residency College. Michael wanted his ailment to be kept a classified secret. Said he wanted to work till the signs of the disease showed - which never did. Eight months later, Shikha got the joyful news that the diagnosis was not quite right. It was actually a drug induced SLE, a reversible and manageable condition.

Shikha had been going to the Wednesday novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour ever since she returned from London, and she believed that this was nothing short of a miracle.


  1. i guess it is quite abridged for knowing something. .

  2. I am eager to read the next chapter? when will you upload it ma'm?

  3. my comments disappeared?

    was saying..I'm mallu, nazrani-middleclass..

    interesting start..please keep it coming

  4. amai :) i'm glad u started this..shikha is about my age!
    any character study u want to do i can help :)



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