Of Marriageable Age 7 (Chapters 27 – 51 )

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SPOILERS!!!

I never expected Savitri to die, and it was such a sad occurrence. She was never appreciated by her family, and even though her husband and children showed grief at her death, it felt more an expression of their own despondency. Yet, none of them wondered about the woman that Savitri had been. She even lost her own name, and became someone else’s property when she married. Someone without identity but for her relationship with other as a wife and mother. Even when Saroj reached the conclusion that Deodat wasn’t her father, she never wondered about her mother or her life. It is as she thinks that her mother didn’t exist if it wasn’t in terms of a mother or wife.

As for Nat, he becomes such a selfish, spoilt man who squanders his father’s money on partying and women. Yet, he doesn’t even bother to write to him even to tell him that he has dropped out of university. So Nat makes his life in London, working first as a waiter in restaurants and then in a catering company. It is Henry Baldwin who arrives in his flat to remind him that he has a duty towards his father. Nat reacts so selfishly, refusing to return to India even for a short spell. Yet, then he reconsiders his decision and finally decides to humour Henry. Yet, even as he is on his way to India, he tells Henry that first he will visit his friend and then tour around the country, so he will just pay a brief visit to his father on the last days of his holiday. Henry doesn’t approve, but Nat seems to have made up his mind. Yet, when they land in Colombo, it is the monsoon season and there are terrible floods, so Nat has to change his plan to spend two weeks sunbathing on the beach as that is out of the question. So they travel to the village in Madras. The situation is terrible, and his father has gathered the poor people in his house and Henry’s school. When David tells Nat that he and the others need him, he doesn’t question what he has to do. So for days he works alongside his father and Henry, and he realises that what he had in London was ephemeral, but in Madras he feels happy.

Then he gets a letter from his friend, telling him  that since he is leaving in a few days for London, he could do him a favour and escort a relative of his to England. Nat tells Henry and his father, and he also explains that he wants to be here and help people like he has been doing during these weeks. David, though, tells him that to help he needs to qualify as a doctor. So Nat decides to return to London and finish his studies. It is on his way to London that he sees Saroj on the train, and his image stays with him.

In London Saroj gets a letter from Gopal, who tells him that he is her uncle, her mother’s brother, and apparently, Savitri wrote to him, explaining that she planned to go to India with her daughter Saroj, and it was her wish to get her married to Gopal’s son. The man writes to her several times, but Saroj ignores the letters. Then eight months later he appears with the same story, but Saroj, who is now more determined and self-confident, tells him that she has no intention to marry. Gopal also visits Nat, and he tells him that he knows about his parents. He first tells him that Nat is the father of his brother and wife, but then when Nat guesses that he is lying, Gopal says that he (Gopal) is his father, and Fiona, his late wife, his mother. According to Gospal, Fiona died in some kind of riot during the partition, and when he was left alone, he took him to the orphanage. Yet, David decided to take him out of there without telling Gopal and adopt him. Nat is in shock, but I think that Gospal is lying. What he also mentions is that he knows a woman he should marry, and Nat even meets Ganesh, Saroj’s brother but he and Saroj never meet. I am at a loss. If Gospal intends for Nat and Saroj to marry, that means they are not siblings.  I am pretty sure that Gospal is lying. He is definitely not Nat’s father, and I always thought that Nat was Saroj and David’s son, but then why has David never told him? Maybe because then Nat would want to know about his mother, and David wouldn’t want to disturb Savitri’s new life. But what about Saroj? Who is she? Is it true that she is not Deodat’s daughter? Is she even Savitri’s child? Who is she really? There is something mysterious about Saroj and her origins, but I have to admit I don’t know.

Savitri’s story in the past continues. After her husband and son die, she moves back to Madras. Gospal doesn’t want her to live with Mani because their brother is wicked and hates her and Gospal. Apparently, Mani blames Savitri and the English because they took his mother from him. When Savitri was born, shortly afterwards David was also born, and as his mother was unable to nurse him, Savitri’s mother was hired as a wet nurse, so both Savitri and her mother moved to the big house, which for Mani was a if his mother had abandoned him. So Gospal, who needs to return to Bombay, takes Savitri to the Baldwins, who receive her with open arms.

Some weeks later Savitri finally asks after David, and June tells her that he is in Singapore. Savitri expresses her wishes to see him, but June says that it is not possible. Savitri still loves him, and now that she is a widow and without a father to thwart her plans, she says that she and David can be married. Yet, June tells her that David is married. That, though, doesn’t discourage her, so Savitri travels to Singapore and goes to see him. David is overjoyed but sad that he can’t marry her. However, his wife is in England, and from that moment, Savitri and David enjoy a spiritual union of their love, even though it is not physical. David works in the hospital whereas Savitri is employed as nurse in another clinic. This is 1941, and David fears that things are not secure in Singapore as the Japanese pose a threat, and we know that the Japanese started the war against the United States when they attacked their base on Pearl Harbor. I wonder what will happen now. If my calculations are correct, Nat was born in 1942, so we are close to his birth. I am sure that Nat is David and Savitri’s son, and somehow when she got pregnant, she and David were forced apart, the boy sent to the orphanage, and eventually she was sent to Guiana to marry Deodet.

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